Large-Scale 3D Quilling by Coleccion Serpentina

It's January and that means shades of gray and white are the order of the day here in Delaware. Ever since coming across Coleccion Serpentina, I knew the dead of winter would be the perfect time to feature the warmly colored paper sculpture art of Jesús Rentería Franco.

rolled paper sculpture vase

Bright, glossy and oh so appealing, each piece is made with a practical use in mind, many as home decor objects. Curious to learn more about his work, I wrote to Jesús; he was pleased to tell us about the business he and his wife Yolanda have built and continue to expand.

 colorful rolled paper chess set

"I am from southern Mexico, specifically from Acapulco, a proud Afro-descendant and admirer of our cultural diversity. I studied industrial design, graduated from university in 2000 and together with Yolanda started the search for a Mexican design that is true to our heritage. We wanted to include all of our cultural features that people identify with Mexican contemporary design.

rolled paper chandelier hanging from ornate ceiling

During the search that took some years, we developed different products and one day discovered quilling paper because our intention was to design jewelry. Our first design baptized our future, a necklace made with small rolls of bright colors. The quilling strips looked to us like a pack of serpentinas. In Mexico, if you do not know, traditionally when we have a party we decorate with serpentinas that are coils of colorful paper strips.
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pastel rolled paper necklace
 One of our early paper jewelry models.
 The rolls are very similar to serpentinas.

We participated in two contests and won both. As a prize in one we were given a stand in a gift expo that led me to develop bigger objects to fill the space. That's where there was an evolution in our work because the challenge was to make functional objects in addition to beautiful ones. We did many tests with different varnishes and resins until we achieved a fine result.

brown and white rolled paper sculptural vases

Ten years ago we were often featured in design magazines and newspapers because we were part of the design boom in Mexico. Our products became iconic because they represented the movement and hunger for change, especially in Mexico City. 

brightly colored paper clock

We participated in many exhibitions and national events such as Design Week Mexico and the first exhibition of industrial design in Mexico, as well as conferences and workshops to talk about the creative process, aesthetic proposal and community work that we developed. 

three rolled paper wine bottle holders in bright colors

The most important thing for us is that our work reached other countries through participation in the Orangerie Museum in France, the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington and the presidential tour of Mexico in various countries. It has been sold in museums shops, such as AGO in Toronto, Canada, Orangerie in Paris and MoMA Design Store in New York.

three enormous rolled paper art sculpturess on sand

From 2006 until now I have dedicated myself to developing products that are production challenges... to demonstrate that paper is a resistant and noble material with which incredible objects can be made.

red, orange, and white striped paper bowl

My designs range from a small piece of jewelry, decorative objects such as vases, furniture and even sculptural pieces that are the most appreciated because from them I learn and put my knowledge to the test.The piece below was a collaboration with designer Cristina Pineda of Pineda Covalin who was inspired by Xolotl, the Aztec god/xoloescuintle Mexican dog who accompanied the dead on their way to the underworld. It is made of fiberglass and I decorated it with paper.

brightly colored rolled paper Xolotl Mexican dog sculpture

Over the years Serpentina has become a brand and has been divided into three parts: crafts, design and art.

colorful rolled paper container with lid
 
Crafts: all of the products that we have in our catalog, online store and showroom, made by my team who are mostly women at home who see in this job the opportunity to develop artistic skills in addition to having extra money for their families.

 rolled paper and ribbon necklace

Design: Yolanda, the team, and I are dedicated to solving the needs of specific clients, especially companies that need to distinguish themselves with something like recognitions, corporate gifts and decorations of spaces or themes.

man creating large rolled paper art sculpture

Art: I oversee this part; it is more experimental and lately I am focused on developing pieces for exhibition from which new ideas for commercial products arise. It is also where I have more freedom to generate proposals not necessarily with the colorful and Mexican theme.

rolled paper wall mural
 
We are currently going through a stage of change, where we are adjusting to new ways of spreading our work. Five years ago we almost closed our workshop because we went through a complicated period that hit us very hard... our first child was born prematurely at 27 weeks, which made us focus almost 100% on him to achieve the most important goal, live. Now he is fine and one of my main goals is to recover the time we were absent.

little boy sitting in paper car

To clarify, we developed a technique with paper strips that we roll and mold by hand. And with the support of resins and varnish we achieve rigidity and durability. We choose the paper weight according to the function that the piece is going to have. The colors vary according to the project or the needs of the client."

red and metallic gold vase made of narrow paper strips

Visit Serpentina Shop. The site is in Spanish so if you prefer, email info@tsimani.com for more information and/or to place an order. Collecion Serpentina is on Instagram. This video gives a glimpse of the Mexico City store and its origin. Jesús Rentería is on Instagram as Paperking Works.


Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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Comments

  1. Beautiful work, beautiful story, beautiful people....thank you for sharing.

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    1. Agree all around. So glad you enjoyed the post.

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  2. This is an amazing discovery. Loved reading and encountering the story behind Serpentina. Each day I am struck by the versitality of paper and it fills me with inspiration. Thanks Ann!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Zahra. I feel the same way about paper!

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  3. It is so amazing !!! How can such huge coils of paper get shaped with such finish !!! I did not know how big the pieces were until I saw them in comparison to the people around it. Truly a great talent!!!

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    1. So true, Suganthi, it really helps to appreciate the size of the pieces by seeing Jesus and Yolanda in the photos.

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  4. Hi Ann,
    Wow, those pieces are amazing, I love the chandelier! x

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    1. Hi Rosie! I agree with you and think the wall art circles in the same pic are pretty great too... just now noticed them. :)

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