I was approached by a mate mid 2018 with the idea of an original origami commission, but was given no real timeline (which for an OCD procrastinator like me is a recipe for a little crazy time.
The end result, finished near the end of February 2019, is vastly different from how I had initially envisaged it. It was actually really hard to part with this one – so much creative energy went into it’s genesis.
As part of my Pastoral Care Group “getting to know you” program, I teach my new year 5 and 7 students to fold a unit, then they teach others, spreading the skills and also helping to break down the social barriers.
We folded a nice modular, many hands make light work. In no time we had 32 modules, when locked together we have a rather lovely spheroid.
Over the last few years I have played with origami tessellations – the theory of a repeatable pattern that interacts with other repeats (molecules) is fascinating and a real testament to the accuracy of the pre-folding. As part of another project, I have been exploring triangle grids, and a devilishly tricky to collapse hex-cell tessellation by Robert Lang he calls “Honeycomb”.
After folding this a number of times, and then schematicizing the molecule, I noticed that “cells” were deep and, due to the nature of the collapsed layers inside I did not think they were very tidy nor kept their shape nicely. All to often, in origami design, paper thickness is disregarded in the theoretical collapse – in this case hiding away most of the paper in canyons between cells deforms them in ugly ways.
I started playing with the corner mechanism, and discovered I could halve the height of the cell wall, making the tuck much less bulky and doubling the size of the resultant folded field on the same bit of paper. Additionally it held itself together nicely with edges that are easy to stabilise. With a little practice (I am sure my work colleagues thought me obsessed, given the number of times I folded this tessellated field) I was ready to scale up … well, down in truth as I folded a “tiny” triangle grid on my target mustard leather-grain paper and then set the corner widgets before collapse only to then realise that folding this small was a real challenge with my nerve damaged, fat clumsy fingers.
For the last few months I have been working on parts of a project that will eventually be a framed collection or composition of some sort. Half of the fun is finding/developing models that suit but for this project I decided I would make paper for it also.
I started with Mark Kirschenbaum’s “Honey Bee”, primarily because it had the promise of a colour change to create contrast wings and a lovely stripey abdomen. Realising I had no suitable paper (going for a yellow/black vibe here) I laminated patterned black and yellow tissue to make a crisp double-tissue with little colour bleed. In retrospect the pattination on the black was distracting and, after going most of the way to folding a swarm I abandoned that line because the lovely detail of the bee was lost in heavy black paper patterns.
I have seen amazing geometric models based on Heinz Strobl’s strip-based modular technique called “Snapology”, and thought it about time I gave it a try:
Starting simple, I divided A4 sheets lengthwise into eighths, then gridded squares on those strips. I used grey for the core, 6×1 strips were cut for each triangular core. I used red for the connectors – 4×1 strips were cut for these.
The locking mechanism is simple, and in situations where the modules are tightly packed it just sort of holds itself together, but I can see how, with small extensions to the connectors you could easily and securely lock adjacent modules more securely. Continue reading →
At the risk of a family intervention, I present to you my first fold of Yoo Tae Yong’s “truck mixer” from the origami book “Origami Pro 3 – Machinery Origami” from a group of members of the Korean Origami Association:
From a square, via a very useful base, we arrive at what eventually looks mechanical but up until you begin squaring things up could also be an animal. This furthers my theory that heavy machinery is the living embodiment of once-thought extinct dinosaurs. More work to be done here. Continue reading →