Cabinet of Curiosity are textile/costume artist Caroline Collinge & architect Edmond Salter.
They work with paper materials & techniques to make exhibitions, installations & participatory arts activities for commissions with heritage sites, arts organisations, museums & the community.


Friday, 30 October 2015


We've just commenced on an initial research and development as Artists in Residence at Guildford Cathedral supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Guildford Cathedral was designed in the 1930's as an Art Deco re-interpretation of the English Gothic Cathedral by the architect Edward Maufe. The Cathedral was built between 1936-1961. Edward Maufe worked in close partnership with his wife, Prudence Maufe, to realise the Cathedral's interior design elements. Prudence was a director of Heal's London department store. She worked with a team of exemplary craftspeople comprised of professional designer/makers and members of the public to realise the textiles and other elements of the Cathedral.
As a starting point on our residency we have been visiting the archive at Guildford Cathedral, photographing the building and making artwork in a studio space within the Cathedral space.
It's proving to be a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our specialisms in architecture, research and paper crafts within a unique and inspiring environment.
We are mainly using paper crafts, especially origami, as our medium for re-interpreting the architecture and interior design of the Cathedral to make some initial work. We've also been experimenting with incorporating the digital through creating a short test for stop motion of the paper work of our paper cut sculptures of a dove that is a motif incorporated within the interior and exterior of the Cathedral.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


Images: Luton Arches postcard designed by Cabinet of Curiosity CIC for the ‘Neighbourhood Postcard Project’ (Top) with examples of American greetings cards from the mid 20th century.

We have been carrying out research into our local neighbourhood of Chatham for a Community Development Fund programme we are involved in called First Steps. The programme is for people who wish to initiate changes within their neighbourhood through community involvement. We are interested in using our design skills and experience in running participatory art projects and workshops to improve the built environment with the community. Through discussions with other participants and community groups, a significant challenge with running projects with community involvement is overcoming apathy. Whether this is due to time constraints, lack of confidence or disinterest, lack of community support with projects of this nature can seriously impact upon successful outcome and completion.

As part of our community engagement element of the First Steps programme, We have been researching successful community arts projects that we can adapt into the First Steps programme that are easily accessable for participants as a starting point for community engagement.

The ‘Neighbourhood Postcard Project’ is a global participatory art project, initiated in the USA, that fosters community connection through storytelling exchange. Residents share personal positive stories about their neighbourhood on a postcard. The postcards are then delivered to random people in different neighbourhoods within the same geographical area to break down negative stereotypes and foster a greater sense of community. The Neighbourhood Postcard Project for the Luton district will be the first UK version of this exciting engagement project as it expands across the world.

We have designed a postcard unique to the Luton area of Chatham that asks local residents to share what they love about their neighbourhood. The postcard features the architecture of the railway arches that marks the gateway to the Luton district and Chatham; mapgpies that connect to the geographical location through street names, pub signs and the birds themselves that are a common sight in this town; and a design that draws upon vintage postcards.

The postcards will be made available to residents within Luton through a combination of face-to-face meetings and by locating distribution and delivery points, taking the form of post boxes, in local libraries and community centres. Through this initial first step we hope to find out what makes Luton special to its inhabitants and build upon these positive stories to initiate improvements within the area. We aim to use the programme to initiate funding towards larger projects within their community that will have a direct impact on raising the quality of our local environment.

Monday, 10 August 2015


Through the Looking Glass shadow puppets
Alice and White Knight on horse
Lion and Unicorn shadow show
Theatre Box made using card and maps with tracing paper screen
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Alice in a train carriage with a man dressed in white paper

We've just carried out a paper workshop for the Eden project Big Lunch Extras that involved demonstrating to participants how paper can be transformed into a magical theatre shadow show. Since the workshop was only a short session, we designed a series of paper shadow puppets, based upon the original illustrations from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, that participants could cut out and provided boxes with tracing paper for the screen that could be customised to make a theatre.

In revisiting the illustrations from the book, it was fascinating to see origami being worn by some of the characters within the scenes from the book. A book about Pollocks toy theatres explains that the Carpenter character is wearing a paper origami hat specific to his craft:

The carpenter's hat [is]a form of paper hat whose construction is still explained in origami manuals, and whose most famous depiction is in Tenniel's illustration of "The Walrus and the Carpenter", in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (1872). During the nineteenth century, the hat was worn by stage-hands, known in those days as "stage carpenters", and by a variety of (usually indoors) craftsmen, including printers. Its practical purpose seems to have been to keep bits of paint, ink or glue out of the hair, but it was also something of a badge of office, and West wore his when he sat for his portrait.

Reading about Victorian street performers, paper and origami demonstrations were used as a form of entertainment and amusement:

As with the singers, many performers were street entertainers because they had no other way of earning a living [...] Sala remembered a man who stood outside St Martin's-le-Grand with a piece of paper, shaping and reshaping it, calling out, 'It forms...now it forms a jockey-cap, now a church-door, a fan, a mat, the paddle-boxes of a steamer', hoping for a few coins. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


We've been busy running art and design workshops for the Thames Festival Trust's educational  project 'Rivers of the World'. The majority of our workshops have involved theming our workshops on Taiwanese culture and the Tamsui River in the city of Taipei. Our workshop briefs have involved pupils making paper craft artwork that has looked at the Dragon Boat Festival, shadow puppets, kites and architecture. Pupils make individual artwork within the workshop sessions which we then photograph before combining the artwork to make a banner illustration to represent each of the schools involved in the programme.
Above is some of the individual artwork from workshop sessions all made using paper and exploring a variety of techniques including collage, paper cuts, quilling, folding and origami.
Below is a very short video that was made in one of the workshop sessions, demonstrating to pupils how their paper shadow puppet could be manipulated to create a stop motion film.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Cover from a 1928 tourist guide to Severndroog Castle.

Ramsden theodolite used to map England using triangulation.

William Roy: Military Engineer and Surveyor 1726 – 1790.
The scaffolding used to hoist the theodolite to the correct height.
Ordnance surveyors 1879.
We are currently researching a commission to create an installation for performance using our favourite material - paper. The commission for Corelli College in Greenwich will involve working with 100 pupils aged 12-16 years over two days. Pop-up books and paper engineering have become signature techniques for our work with schools but this time we are hoping to create work on a larger scale by creating a pop-up architectural paper scene within an outdoor space.

Having worked with children in numerous schools over a number of years, we devise and deliver workshops that aim to capture childrens' imagination and inspire creativity as this energy can be harnessed to produce outstanding work. Having a strong story or narrative as a starting point has become an important part of this process we have found it usually produces the best outcomes. Working site specifically has been another rich layer to our work that seeks out local narratives with a global significance.

The story of Sevendroog Castle in Shooters Hill is the inspiration for our activities with the school pupils that has multiple strands that include world trade, piracy, lost love, Indian architecture and the Ordnance Survey.

The prominent position of the castle on Shooters Hill provided unrivalled views across London,

Surrey and Kent. The castle has been significant in the creation of the Ordnance Survey with William Roy harnessing the height of the castle to triangulate measurements using a theodolite mounted on scaffold. The castle served as a prominent look-out post for spotting planes during World War Two and more recently the castle hosted a pirate radio station.

Saturday, 2 May 2015


01:00 PM - 17.00 PM

Following our Makers in Residence at Derby silk Mill, we will be present at an open day event at the museum that will showcase the work made by all the participants in the commission. Workshops and activities include: a giant spirograph, paper engineering, mutli-sensory trails, electronic circuits and a DIY marble run.
The Silk Mill residency was part of ‘Institute of STEAM’ that focused on exploring the themes and concepts across the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths to develop ideas around how creativity is integral to innovation and making.
The residency explored the co-production of experiences of making for museum audiences, inspired by the culture of making past, present and future. Makers developed and tested their ideas; exploring spaces and collections; whilst also informing their own creative practices.

Thursday, 23 April 2015


 Here are a few images from the final PAPER HOUSE workshop and installation at the V & A Museum of Childhood. As you can see, our paper house eventually turned into a palace with a vast array of colourful characters. We were very impressed with the time and care made in crafting these miniature paper wonders by the visitors to the museum. Our aim is to use this public creation to make a short film so that the work can have a life beyond its' temporary installation within the Museum of Childhood.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


We've been enjoying our Easter holidays building a PAPER HOUSE with visitors at the V & A Museum of Childhood. This activity follows a Creativeworks London Entrepreneur in Residence commission that gave us the opportunity to research the Robert Freidus Collection of Paper Architectural Models, currently held at the V & A Museum of Childhood. We were also invited to propose an activity that would coincide with the Museum of Childhood's current exhibition 'Small Stories: At Home in a Doll's House'.
Visitors to the Museum are being invited to help us create the house of our dreams using architecture templates, scissors, glue and paper collage materials to make a small component of our house or a character to inhabit the house. After five days, the house is growing in scale and we hope to have turned our paper house into a paper palace by the last day of the event, this Friday.

Comments from some participants:

"It's was a great making skills activity thats helps kids develop their imagination and creativity. Our 6 yr old enjoyed the fun of making, our 3 yr old loved cutting and the under 2 yr old was happy making characters and sticking it together. There was something in it for everyone. Thank you."

"This activity was excellent because you can explore different techniques using pictures, stencils and colour collage is a fantastic way of being creative."

" We loved making the collages. Imaginative images to cut and good fun sitting with groups of people and chatting at the same time. Fun!"

More details can be found here:


Sunday, 22 March 2015


We are finalising a kit of parts to be used by visitors to Derby Silk Mill to encourage participation and engagement in a 'makers space', that forms a unique element of their museum. 
The brief set by Derby Museum required for the design process that underpinned the kit of parts to consider the three  principles of the Enlightenment:
The human end purpose of our acts;
3) Universality.

These three principes were combined with five ways to well-being:
1) Connect;
2) Be Active;
3) Take Notice;
4) Keep Learning;
5) Give.

We decided to draw upon our recent research residency for Creativeworks London, investigating an archive of paper models at the V & A Museum of Childhood, re-interpreting Victorian paper toys to communicate the science and art of mechanical movement. We specifically focused on the mechanics of movement connected with the Derby Silk Mill that was both physical and optical. From our research into Victorian paper toys, we had discovered that toys were used to educate children and adults about the industrial revolution, science and engineering through play and making. We have been designing our own series of paper toys within a customised box, that communicates our research into Derby Silk Mill using a combination of the physical and digital.