Artists ~ Benjamin John Coleman ~ Pawtucket

Artist’s name: Benjamin John Coleman
Business name: The Origami Bonsai Company
Location: 595 Mineral Spring Ave, Suite 2, Pawtucket, RI 02860 Gallery open by appointment.
Twitter: origamibonsai

1.  Tell us about your work
I use origami and makigami techniques to make plants from paper. Origami is the ancient art of paper folding, developed largely in Japan. Makigami is a method of rolling paper that is first saturated with a solution. I developed the technique in 2009.

2.  How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter?
By necessity. I was laid off from my full-time job about three months before the recession of 2008. When everyone was losing their job I had already been looking for work for months. I realized it was unlikely that I’d find employment, so I wrote my first book. To my surprise two publishers wanted to print it, and that was the beginning of my professional art career. My first book, Origami Bonsai was published by Tuttle Publishing in April of 2010

3.  Where do you draw your inspiration? 
I like to take long walks with my dog Rameses in the woods. I enjoy listening to the birds and looking at the trees.

4.  What’s your favorite item to make?
I guess I like folding flowers best. That’s how it all began for me. There’s something special about turning a flat piece of paper into a three-dimensional flower that is special.

5.  What’s your best seller?
My best selling items are my chess sets. They’re unique and very popular among chess set collectors.

6.  How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I grew up in Providence but lived in Massachusetts for a few years after college. I returned to Rhode Island in 2006, so almost all my life.

7.  What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I mostly like being close to my parents who live in Providence. I also like the fact that Rhode Island is very small. Through my volunteer work I am able to make a difference in people’s lives that would be hard to duplicate in another, larger state.


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