Those who know me realise I am just back from nearly 7 weeks in Europe. When asked how my jetlag is going, it is difficult to put the answer into words:
Spending so long in a different time zone, and getting good at waking early, being on the go to many and varied locations, then being subjected to 29ish hours transit to return to the other side of the planet is always a struggle, but this time it seems to have been worse. Bouts of fatigue followed by being wide awake at 3:30am are exhausting, as is my numb and seemingly empty brain.
This is my test fold of a new Boice Wong design. Boice is a crazy talented origami designer who released 2 versions of this model while I was overseas. He graciously released the CPs (crease patterns) and … they did not look too hard … but have taken nearly a week to decipher with my head in it’s current state.
Entitled “Empty Head 32×32 grid”, this is the first of 2 models in this series I intend to try, and feel a little guilty using up a blog number on the test fold, but I am so happy with how this little guy turned out I thought why not. When I have both figures, I will post again using a new blog number.
I was approached by the publishers of the book “MODULAR ORIGAMI – 18 Colorful and Customizable Folded Paper Sculptures” by Tung Ken Lam, and asked for my impressions:
I received it just before going on an overseas holiday, so have only just begun exploring this soft cover edition.
I decided to start with some pure geometry – the result of 4 planes intersection each other – a wxyz.
The instructions are well laid out and easy to follow, I chose 12 sheets of paper, 4 colours, 3 of each. The module reminds me of the XYZ that I have folded previously, but the cunning use of 60/30 degrees in the construction lets all 4 planes nestle accurately together in a rather pleasing way.
So a fairly well known fact in Origami circles is that there are Origami Museums, few compare in size to the Spanish one in Zaragoza. When Jo and I had decided to spend time in Barcelona, we discovered Zaragoza was doable day trip from Barcelona Sants regional train station, so a plan was hatched.
Barcelona Sants is a regional rail hub, different to the metro. We will from depart here in a few days for Province, but this station also provides access to many other places in Catalunya and beyond. After locating our platform ( via a very helpful man at the Information counter), we had our bags (and everything else) xrayed before arriving on the platform to find the train already boarding.
We boarded AVE-S112 High Speed train, allocated seats a lot like an airplane, and took off. The train sped underground until it cleared the central city and burst out into the light as farmland flew by. For a lot of the journey the train was topping 295 km/h as it hurtled stop to stop.
After a little over an hour, we arrived at Zaragoza train station, and de-trained, got some refreshments then headed over to the Bus Station, to catch a C1 circle line bus, and rode it the remaining half way around to the terminus. After a brief bit of nav we were picking through the back streets to EMOZ, located on the 2nd Floor of Centro de Historias, Plaza San Agustín 2.
I had been in contact with the museum ever since there seemed a chance for me to visit, and it was lovely to finally meet an online friend named Jesús Artigas. We nerded out a bit, talked about the current exhibition and about Yoshizawa’s works, and particularly the work of Eric Joisel.
The museum has, on display a number of Joisel’s original works, including one of his gnome orchestras, his large-scale Rhinoceros and his large scale Pegasus.
Jesús let us sneak peak in the store room at Joisel’s large Hippopotamus also, all master works from a genius artist much missed.
We talked folding, design, and it turns out he is working on an interesting origami publication of endangered Spanish animals, and asked if I was interested in test folding closer to publication date. What an honor indeed, naturally I said yes. That should be fabulous and something else to be involved in when I finally return home.
We parted company with the promise of future collaboration, then Jo and I took our time appreciating the many rooms of exhibits. It was good to see so many original works from legends in the field, including Victor Coeurjoly, Robert Lang, Junior Fritz Jaquett, Kashiwamura, Jozsef Zsebe, a host of different Vietnamese designers, and even a tiny work from Yoshizawa himself. We are not worthy.
The museum also offers informative information about the paper/folding traditions of many countries. It is interesting that many different schools of folding crafts emerged independently with the introduction of paper and paper-like materials. We also saw some very early traditional folds pioneering skills from historical giants that modern day origami designers stand on the shoulders of.
The feature artist at the moment is Vivian Berty, with a number of rooms devoted to her colourful, figurative and representational varied art practice. Such a riot of colour and range of simple to elegant models, compositions and modular works.
It felt like home for me, to be surrounded by an art form I have spent a lot of my life exploring. Nerd-feasts come in every flavour, and this was one of mine.
After leaving EMOZ, we reversed our journey to Zaragoza Delicias rail station, grabbed a late lunch and then our train back to Barcelona. I am sure I gushed, Jo was very tolerant of a very happy nerd. If I get the opportunity I would like to visit again, as well as explore the other origami museums of the world.
Having just treated my first 2 bits of Wenzhou paper, I was itching to fold something (and running out of time to do so). I decided on a Praying Mantis, designed by Jo Nakashima model that I have not yet folded:
Based on a 40 grid, using fairly standard box-pleating tricks, this model is a lot of fun to fold. Jo helpfully provides diagrams that detail how to efficiently and accurately lay in the crease pattern (check it out here) and in doing so I learned a LOT about treated wenzhou: It is deliciously thin, crisp and really strong (it allowed me to bugger up a collapse 2 times before getting it right, without paper fatigue). One thing I did not expect was it’s relatively poor reversibility – ie. you fold in one direction and then turn it accurately inside out. I was expecting it to be easier to reverse.
Instead of “parachuting” (apparently a CP solve no no), I used the central axis and formed the head, thorax and as a consequence formed the front 2 pairs of legs. The abdomen collapse is fascinating and bends back under the wings making it really tidy all round.
One of many habits I have developed, when travelling, is to “art bomb” the places we stay:
I take origami paper on holiday (like, who doesn’t, right?) and like to hide a finished cute model somewhere in our accommodation, restaurant, ferry, funicular or whatever for either the owner or a subsequent guest to discover – meant as a nice little surprise.
As an Australian, I try to include aussie flora or fauna, and memorize the fold.
If I am to be completely honest, I am astonished I have never folded Jo Nakashima’s “Kangaroo” before. It is a little charmer. I have a pack of indigo Tuttle paper that will be perfect for this, so it is sorted (apart from the practice needed to fold it from fading memory).