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Ornaments & Origami

5 Dec 2018

Assembling our window displays for the holidays is an early sign that the season for making merry is just around the corner. Gaze into the glass this year and be greeted by extraordinary oversized ornaments that dangle and dance on glistening golden string. Especially eye-catching are the glittering copper globes whose shapes and metallic shine remind us of the vintage glass ornaments that trimmed the Christmas trees of times past. In creating these reflective retro orbs for our windows, we wanted to showcase the incredible art of origami and the exceptional talent of Montreal paper artist, Miss Cloudy.

Miss Cloudy’s real name is Pauline Loctin. Her artist name, Miss Cloudy, comes from the translation of “Nuagette,” a childhood nickname she was given while attending secondary school in her native France. Pauline originally moved to Montreal to begin her Masters in Musicology at Université de Montréal and credits her music studies with giving her a deep appreciation for art and teaching her skills like discipline, focus, and precision. She puts these skills to good use every day creating her awe-inspiring paper artwork.

Photo credit: J.S Dénommé

Pauline fell in love with origami while visiting her family in France one summer. Looking for a hobby to pass the time, she discovered a book on the art form and spent an entire month studying and practicing its folding techniques. Once she'd started, she couldn't stop. With paper being available everywhere she went, there was always an opportunity for her to fold and create a phenomenal work of art. She was completely captivated by origami's accessibility. 

Origami is the art of folding paper into shapes, figures, and sculptures. The term “origami” comes from the Japanese words ori (“to fold”) and kami (“paper”). While origami's origins remain a mystery due to a lack of documentation, this art form is most closely associated with Japan. Interestingly enough, the accessibility that so attracted Miss Cloudy to origami was the reason the art form gained such popularity in Japan and became so deeply rooted in its culture.

After paper was invented in China in 105 CE, Buddhist monks spread papermaking to Japan around the 6th century. As paper was a rare and expensive commodity at the time, origami was considered a luxury and used only for religious rites and formal ceremonies. Once papermaking methods improved however, paper grew more readily available and origami transformed into a popular activity for leisure and entertainment. Today, it has developed into a universal art form that anyone can practice and enjoy.

Described as a hardworking origami warrior, Miss Cloudy is now one of the few paper artists who specializes in producing oversized origami installations. However, creating the custom copper ornaments for our windows has been the biggest large-scale production of Miss Cloudy’s career thus far. In order to produce the 1,420 ornaments required to fill the 83 windows of our 15 Simons stores across the country, Miss Cloudy and her team of sixteen worked full time on the project, spending an estimated 1,500 hours folding each exquisite ornament by hand. This is an absolutely incredible feat when you consider the amount of focus and precision required to produce even a single piece of origami.

To achieve the spectacular metallic sheen on the ornaments, Miss Cloudy constructed the orbs using 6,000 sheets of a top-quality mirrored copper cardstock that Simons specially ordered from London. To avoid putting fingerprints on these spectacular pieces as they were being installed, our visual presentation teams had to carefully handle and hang them while wearing gloves. The end result? A dazzling display of gorgeous globes that glisten and gleam when they catch the light just right.

At Simons, we believe it's important that art be a part of our everyday. Not only does it make the world a more beautiful place, but it also sparks new ideas and powers people's imaginations. Spotlighting the exceptional skill of local artists from all different artistic disciplines is one of our favourite ways of bringing beauty to our spaces and cultivating creativity. This year, we're excited that Miss Cloudy's breathtaking origami ornaments have helped us bring this core value of our company to our holiday display.

So, whether you're gazing into our windows to get some great gift ideas or are simply sneaking a quick peek as you stroll past one of our stores, we hope that these extraordinary works of art will inspire you as much as they've inspired us this season.