Paper Airplanes Metal Sculpture by Ed Wilson: Houston Heights Exhibit

Updated on February 22, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

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Playing with Paper Airplanes

Viewing this stainless steel sculpture created by artist Ed Wilson by the title of "Folded Plane" took me back to my childhood and paper airplanes. My parents and grandparents first taught my brothers and me how to crimp paper and make them into flying machines.

Paper Airplane Source: By ABF (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Common
Paper Airplane Source: By ABF (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Common

Folded Plane

What Ed Wilson calls “Folded Plane” looks like a giant-sized paper airplane that took a steep nosedive headfirst into the ground. Many of my paper airplanes had the same fate! Of course, his is giant-sized in comparison and made out of shiny stainless steel that glistened in the sunshine along Heights Boulevard during the “True North” sculpture exhibit.

Paper Airplanes

Folding pieces of paper and making airplanes out of it is a serious business, not just a child’s play. Were you aware that it dates back centuries? The Wright Brothers studied the aerodynamics of paper airplanes before perfecting the first powered flight of an aircraft. Likewise, people are still considering it today as it relates to space.

Wright Brothers and early airplane Source: By Attributed to Wilbur Wright (1867–1912) and/or Orville Wright (1871–1948). Orville Wright preset the camera and had John T. Daniels squeeze the rub
Wright Brothers and early airplane Source: By Attributed to Wilbur Wright (1867–1912) and/or Orville Wright (1871–1948). Orville Wright preset the camera and had John T. Daniels squeeze the rub

"The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through."

— Orville Wright

Wright Brothers

Orville and Wilbur Wright made history on December 17, 1903, when their first experiment with a heavier than air airplane built by them traveled 120 feet and was airborne for a total of 12 seconds. This history took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. For this historic flight, Orville was the pilot while Wilbur watched from the ground.

I still remember watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon back in 1969 while watching television. For those who did not get to witness it in person during the latter part of the 1960s, here is a video below showing that exciting event.

Just think how times have changed since those early dates regarding flight, and they continually improve as humanity tries to explore the outer reaches of space. Incredibly, paper airplanes inspired much of this!

Artist Ed Wilson

Ed Wilson, who created the “Folded Plane” sculpture is from the baby boomer generation being born in 1953 after World War II.

He grew up in Louisiana and got his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University. Ed Wilson received his Masters of Fine Arts degree at the University of Houston and currently lives and works in Houston.

It is quite possible that he also liked playing with paper airplanes at some point during his life, which inspired this eye-catching sculpture.

Note the blue spike that indicates the post-WWII baby boom, those born between 1946 to 1964. Source: By Nwbeeson (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Note the blue spike that indicates the post-WWII baby boom, those born between 1946 to 1964. Source: By Nwbeeson (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Exhibitions of Ed Wilson’s Art

He has had numerous solo art exhibitions in Houston, and one each in Dallas and McAllen, Texas. Also, he has had two at different locations in Germany, where some of his work came about after visiting World War II concentration camps.

Ed Wilson has a long resume of being included in group shows in these Texas cities in addition to Houston: San Antonio, Beaumont, Clear Lake, Beeville, Lubbock, Goliad, and Austin. Out of state exhibits include those in New York, Idaho, New Jersey, Oregon, and California. His work was also involved in a group show in Leipzig, Germany.

Ed Wilson’s art exhibit resume will continue to grow as well as articles written about him and the catalogs published showing some of his artistic creations.

Edited photo by Peggy Woods of the "Folded Plane" by Ed Wilson.
Edited photo by Peggy Woods of the "Folded Plane" by Ed Wilson.

Art Supplies

Some of Ed Wilson’s works contain scraps of metal salvaged from old cars. Mr. Wilson keeps the environment in mind as he forges new works of art in his Houston studio.

His “Folded Plane” created in 2007 is no longer on view as a part of a sculpture project titled “True North” on the esplanade of Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas. That installation ended in early November of 2014.

The sculpture “Folded Plane” had a price tag of $12,000. Hopefully, it has found a great home. It is being appreciated by whoever is getting to display it in a new location. It was a great addition to the public art display called “True North,” and those of us who live in Houston or those who may have traveled here got to enjoy it for nine months while it was on display.

Old rusted car, the likes of which Ed Wilson likes to incorporate into his art.
Old rusted car, the likes of which Ed Wilson likes to incorporate into his art. | Source

“True North” Sculptures and Artists

In case you missed it, this is a listing of the other sculptures that were on Heights Boulevard during the “True North” exhibit.

“Cypress Flower” by Lee Littlefield

“Wildlife Sanctuary” by Dan Havel

“Pointing North” (dog sculpture) by Carter Ernst

“From the Hood to the Heights” by Patrick Medrano

“Ourglass” by Dean Ruck

“Lawn Chairs” by Paul Kittelson

“There are things you can’t get from books” by Steve Murphy

Did you ever play with paper airplanes when you were a child?

See results

Sources

https://www.edwilsonart.com

https://www.redbudgallery.com/true-north

https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/glidpaper.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers


Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Vick,

        So happy to know that you enjoyed this look at the sculpture shaped like a paper airplane.

      • Vick Juniors profile image

        Vick 

        3 months ago from Kenya

        Great work

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        I have no idea if today's children still play with paper airplanes. They are missing out of some simple but fun play if they do not.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        3 months ago from Southern Illinois

        I don't think there's anyone who hasn't flown paper airplanes. I wonder if children still does today? I really do not think my grandchildren would put their phones down to play. Interesting article Peggy!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Chitrangada,

        It is fun when a piece of art can inspire so many good memories of days in our past. I have a feeling that this sculpture by Ed Wilson did that for just about everyone who got to see it.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        3 months ago from New Delhi, India

        A very interesting and informative article.

        Loved the sculptures and the related details about them. Yes, I have also enjoyed making paper airplanes and paper boats in my childhood. Such sweet memories.

        Thank you for sharing, yet another interesting article.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Linda,

        Ed Wilson certainly did capture the idea of a paper airplane that took a nosedive into the ground with his sculpture. It was fun hearing about your father's paper airplane making days.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        The sculpture is interesting. It really does look like a huge paper airplane landing on the ground! Though I didn't make paper airplanes myself as a child, my father made some great ones that were very entertaining to watch when they were flying. Thanks for sharing the facts about the sculpture and the background information.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Robert,

        It would be fun to know where this sculpture ended up on display.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        3 months ago

        It's good that you captured the image. Maybe some reader can report its whereabouts.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Donna,

        It is nice to know that your reading this brought back happy childhood memories for you. I think that playing with paper airplanes does that for many people.

      • Donna-Rayne profile image

        Donna Rayne 

        3 months ago from Greenwood, In

        Peggy, your article brought back memories from my childhood making and playing with paper airplanes and my brother would be paper clips to make it do flips and stuff like that! Haha, good times!

        Thank you for sharing childhood memories,

        Donna Rayne

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Bushra,

        Thanks for the compliment. It is always fun for me to fill in some background information.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        Yes, those balsa wooden airplanes were also fun to play with and see how far they could fly. I think that simple play like this is often the best remembered.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        Sometimes the background information is of equal importance to the primary focus of the article. Thanks for your comment.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        I am all in favor of artists who use recycled items when they create new art.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Nithya,

        Each year for nine months, a new sculptural exhibit is on view. The people involved are now organizing the next one, which will start in March of this year. So far, I have been able to document each of them, and hope to continue long into the future.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi C E Clark,

        It is amazing what part paper airplanes had in teaching the principles of aerodynamics of real airplanes.

      • Bushra Iqbal profile image

        Aishatu Ali 

        3 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

        Thank you - you have the knack of making historical facts interesting!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        3 months ago from Olympia, WA

        That sure took me back to childhood. I spent hours flying paper airplanes...and those one made with balsa wood...is that how you spell it? Anyway, hours and hours. We would have flight contests to see whose plane would fly the furthest. Great fun!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 months ago from UK

        What an interesting sculpture. I really appreciate the variety and background detail that you have incorporated into this article.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 months ago from USA

        Whimsical! I especially like that he uses recycled metal in his art.

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        3 months ago from Dubai

        I enjoyed making paper airplanes during my childhood days. Thank you for the introduction to Ed Wilson. The “True North” exhibit must be a treat to view! I hope I get to visit someday.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        I think that many people have played with paper airplanes throughout the years without thinking of the aeronautical aspects of it and where it might lead.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi John,

        I also like the idea that Ed Wilson uses recycled items in his sculptures. From one baby boomer to another, I appreciate your comment.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Rebecca,

        As a former teacher, you must have used paper airplanes somehow in your classroom? I am pleased that you enjoyed learning about the artist.

      • Au fait profile image

        C E Clark 

        3 months ago from North Texas

        Who would have thought paper airplanes played a part in designing real airplanes? I thought the paper planes would have come after the real planes. Very interesting, and again, I have learned something from your excellent article.

        Posting this on AH & FB.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        3 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I played with paper airplanes as a child. I think the sculputure airplanes are really nice to see. This is one more unique thing in Houston and in this case other cities in Texas.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        3 months ago from Queensland Australia

        Peg thanks for introducing us to Ed Wilson and his wonderful sculpture. Yep, I am a baby boomer and still building paper planes for my grandkids. Glad to hear he uses recycled materials in his projects too.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 

        3 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        As a former teacher, I can surely relate to paper airplanes. What a cute sculpture! Interesting history about the sculptor as well. Great Hub! I enjoyed it.

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