Q. Will you be presenting your work or demonstrating your technique any time soon?
A. Here is a listing of upcoming and recent presentations:
I will post infornation on any upcoming exhibits or presentations as soon as the information is finalized.
Q. What's this about a special paper snowflake for the Sandy Hook/Newtown students?
A. Just before Christmas, 2012, three people that know of my work told me about a project sponsored by the Connecticut PTA. They were asking for people to send paper snowflakes to decorate the shool building where the Sandy Hook Elementary School students would be going after the holiday - to create a "Winter Wonderland." I started thinking about what I could do, and decided to create a snowflake that would honor the lives of the 26 victims of that tragedy. The story of this snowflake was picked up by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and was also posted to the Wheaton College (my employer) Facebook page.
Q. What is the Illinois Artisans Program?
A. For 25 years the IAP has been an initiative that focuses national attention on the rich heritage of the fine crafting that exists in Illinois. They market crafts through Illinois Artisans shops located in the James R. Thompson Center, Chicago; the Museum Store at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield; the Museum Shop at the Dickson Mounds Museum; and the Southern Illinois Artisans Shop at Rend Lake. My work is currently on display and for sale at the Thompson Center and Rend Lake locations. IAP website
A. Yes. Paper snowflakes.
Ever since my brother came home from kindergarten with a couple of them,
I have been fascinated with their symmetry, precision and beauty. I asked
him to show me how he had learned to fold the paper for a six-pointed
flake (To download an instruction sheet for how to fold a six-pointed
here and to download helps for
making the 30 degree folds, click
here.) Every Christmas since that time many years ago, I have
spent time making snowflakes to put up as decorations for the holidays.
My brother hasn't made
Q. What kind of paper do you use?
A. For years I used
plain paper and scissors to make my snowflakes. If you fold the paper
the way I do, you are cutting through 12 layers of paper. If you've ever
tried to cut that many layers of regular bond paper, you know how much
strength it takes and how the paper has a tendency to twist as you try
A. Mainly because that's the structure of a real snowflake. The more I make, though, the more I like the challenge of making the design work with six points, in the same way that a poet chooses a particular form (haiku, limerick or sonnet) that has a specific structure. Working within that framework (or limitation, depending on your perspective) is the creative challenge.
A. In 1885 Wilson Bentley was the first person to photograph a snowflake. His success was the result of a rare combination of observation, patience, dedication and creativity. He was a man with a passion to understand and enjoy the created world around him. He was also very generous, more than willing to share his beautiful discoveries with anyone who asked. February 9, 2005 was 140th anniversary of Mr. Bentley's birth, and I was interviewed by phone (at 6:00am... yawn) on Moody Radio to explain about this remarkable man and about the inspiration he is for me and many others. I also had the chance to talk a little about the work that I do with paper snowflakes. More information on Wilson Bentley.
A. I make them pretty
much year-round. Of course there is a bigger demand during the holiday
season, but I have made ones for Valentine's Day and other occasions throughout
the year. You can contact me at any time at 630-898-4017.
A. Depending on the complexity of the design it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to do the cutting. On some designs I have spent significant time researching ideas from books and illustrations. Others I create on the spur of the moment. If the design is intricate it can take 20-30 minutes just to unfold the paper and flatten it out.
Q. Do you sell your snowflakes?
A. Yes. I sell them
mostly privately, but occasionally I will display my work at an art or
craft show. To see an example of paper snowflake framed in a 16 x 20 inch
metal frame click here.
Q. Do you take special orders?
A. I consider it a
privilege when someone asks me to make a snowflake for a friend or family
member. If you contact me I will be glad to discuss this further with
What is the cost of your snowflakes?
Q. Do you know of any good websites regarding snowflakes... paper and otherwise?
A. Here is a brief list of some of the best resources I've come across:
A. I've spent a total of 18 years living and working in Japan. The Japanese word for their complicated writing system is "kanji" which is pronounced "kahnjee". These stunning graphic characters, which are actually imported from China, are not letters but actually symbols that represent ideas or concepts. All my life I have been inspired by these "word pictures" and I have chosen this word to summarize and symbolize the variety of creative services that I can provide.
All designs and images copyright 2002 Les Barker. Any unauthorized use of the designs and images is prohibited.