999: COVID-19

The story of the moment is COVID-19, and the unprecedented effects the global pandemic is having on “business as normal” across the world.

Xander Perrott's "Space Virus"

In out little corner of the planet, things continue to be weird. As a teacher, I am still at work, with 1700 boys in a fairly confined space. The current government position is that it is “business as usual” for schools, as we gear up to deliver online learning as part of our “continuity of learning” plan. I want to say I feel good about things, but we all deal with uncertainty our own way.

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998: Losing Our Shiz

Australia is many things to many people. Currently, in the media, it seems like Australians are being portrayed as panic buying essential items in huge quantities, in preparation of an on-coming pandemic that is waaay less lethal than normal Flu:

Toilet Paper Origami

The first such item was Toilet paper, with viral (or bacterial) footage of people fighting in the aisles of supermarkets for the last bulk pack.

All I am saying, is give peace (and common sense) a chance, people.

This is Jo Nakashima’s Toilet Paper Crane, a fitting symbol of restraint. I only wasted 3 “poo tickets” (“Kenny” reference) in making it, so do not panic, unless that is something you do to increase likes on Instagram or Tik Tok.. … imagine going down in social media history as a toilet paper “influencer” – bahahahahahaha.

You should consider making this – sit somewhere, calm down, unclench and fold some bog roll for something other than wiping your bum.

994: Mushu

Riccardo Foschi frequently shares crease patterns for his new designs on social media. When I saw “Mushu” I knew I had to try and fold it:

Foschi CP

It is rare to find a “happy” dragon, but this one beams a positive energy that makes you smile. There is lots of detail to take in – the head has branched horns, smiling eyes, lovely colour-changed curly whiskers, nostrils, teeth, a lovely wiggly tongue, lower jaw and a beard. A lovely set of back spikes, each leg has 3 toes and the beautiful fan tail caps off the beastie.

Mushu

Made over a period of a week, from 5x 2:1 rectangles of odd spotty black Ikea Kraft. Sections form variously tail, legs, body and head modules, all of which ingeniously interlock without the need for glue. Riccardo also states that it can be made with a single 10:1 rectangle, but I thought that would be too wasteful when cut from a paper roll, so decided on the modular approach.

My problem with crease patterns is that, although they show the major creases, they do not really hint on the shaping or fold order. The head, in particular, took me a while to sort out. I decided, contrary to the designers photo, to fold the legs differently – I think they look more natural this way (but I folded forward, backward, forward and back many times before deciding on this configuration).

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991: 2019-nCoV

Human Corona Virus is in the news, the news is alarming:

nCoV macquette

It is difficult to know the extent of the emergency, the effectiveness of treatment, the vector of infection, the spread and infection rate, the facts.

Social media and websites masquerading as “news” agencies love a good headline, and this mixed with Survivor in the jungle, celebrity red carpets, sham impeachment, Corona Virus “influencers” on instagram and fad diets makes navigating the facts difficult.

Public warnings and travel bans aside, what constitutes a pandemic? What is the appropriate response?

I took a 3×1 rectangle of white/natural Ikea Kraft and … well … doodled and came up with an all too familiar image – a face-masked regular person. In an odd bout of synchronicity, Sebastian Limet (@sebl) had the same idea. His fold, as usual has lots of character.

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Caption Competition #1

Caption this, win the brave knight.

I need a caption

“Knight” designed by Neal Elias, “RyuJin 2.1” designed by Satoshi Kamiya, “Sword” and “Tin Opener” designed by me.

Chinese Dragon in Repose

My usual line “if you find interesting paper, get it and I will make you something out of it” has been the start of many fascinating journeys:

Mikiller觅晨’s modular dragon

Peter and Majella travelled to Japan, and found some lovely paper – one, a sheet of hand-made natural Kozo with botanical inclusions screamed out for something delicate and textured. I had intended to return to Mikiller觅晨’s modular dragon, having already folded it large, I thought it might be interesting to fold it tiny and trap it in a shadowbox frame.

The handover
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Their Lives In Our Hands

Much has been made in the media about the current bush fire situation in Australia. Truth is the scale of devastation is impossible to grasp, in terms of sheer acreage of scorched earth, number of homes lost, lives lost and livelihoods ruined. When we add the effects on environment, habitat and wildlife (flora and fauna), the effects of the 2019/2020 summer will have long-reaching and potentially permanent ramifications:

their lives in our hands

I want to say that our leaders are on top of this, but have never had confidence in politicians, and am not convinced any can see past getting re-elected to make the hard decisions necessary for our continued existence. Indeed, when our PM chooses to go on holiday during the worst of it, when he and his colleagues continue to deny climate change, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence. They display a vandalistic attitude to environmental policy, and offer reckless abandon to fossil fuels and non-sustainability.

Their lives in our hands. “They” are our children, their children, the animals and plants that make up the biosphere in which we live. The “they” are US.

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986: Meta

I love meta – that examination of self-reference is great brain food, and this fold designed by Neelish Kumar fits nicely into that philosophical space:

Neelish Kumar's Origamist Nightmare

Nominally named “Origamist’s Worst Nightmare”, it is a place I have been – being so into a model at the expense of the materials, having it disintegrate in my hands as I work it.

The more observant of you will notice a despairing folder, paper ripped along a much-worked crease. Look closer, the crease pattern is Eric Joisel’s “Dwarf“, a particular favourite that I have ruined many a sheet mastering.

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Year of the Rat

Most cultures have myths and legends, developed over centuries, to explain how things work. The Chinese Zodiac and New Year is at odds with the western Julian calendar, but none the less interesting:

Joisel's Rat

2020 is the Year of the Rat – interestingly my socials are full of mouse diagrams, but for me there are few iconic origami rats, and this is my favourite – designed by Eric Joisel, I just love the character this chap presents.

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984: Ryu Jin 2.1 – Legs

Continuing the journey to explore the components of a Ryu Jin 2.1, I had a go at the legs:

Ryu Jin 2.1 Leg collapse

A relatively simple box pleat collapse and some shaping to make a powerful set of claws. I used a 28 grid and managed to tease 5 toes per foot (something I think the full model does). A little MC to stabilise and I think these can be considered a success.

I have no idea how difficult it will be to isolate these in the middle of a sheet with a whole lot of other crazy happening around it, but that seems to be the next step … we shall see.

Print-o-gami

As a Christmas present, my daughter signed me up for a Lino-cut and print-making workshop – something I was interested to try for the first time:

final print 5/5

Originally I had a much more ambitious plan, but it was deemed not achievable in the allocated time in the workshop so I sort of freestyled it.

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Priceless Artwork

Culling stored stuff, we came across things we had kept from my daughter’s pre-school years. Folios of precious artworks that, 25 years ago, adorned our fridge:

Spikey ball of love

Glorious and colourful explorations of paint, colour and form, painted, using bubbles, marbles, brushes and other techniques, using really strong colours that have remained so all this time.

I chose 10 of the most colourful paintings, cut 3 x 1:2 rectangles and set about folding a nice spiked ball with them.

I love the result, for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it is made from materials created by someone I love. So much better than sending it all to landfill.

Plan B (or “Home is where the hive is”)

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.

framed picture

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.

the new happy owner
A new home, Happy Birthday Paige (albeit belated, sorry)
Depth, scale, detail.
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The Whole is More than the Sum of it’s Parts

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.


941: New Year Squeaker (Boar Piglet)

2019 is the Year of the Pig – a fresh page that you are free to form anyway you choose:

blank canvas

There are a pair of pig models in Tanteidan 172 I mean to try, this is the first – a wild boar piglet. Little known fact: boar piglets have stripes (presumably for camouflage) while vulnerably young.

little pig
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Santa/Satan – Ho Ho bloody Ho!

Curious things parents, we present certain things as fact and then later we say that they were little white lies, but truth is a slippery thing indeed:

Easter bunny, collector of kiddies teeth, stranger in a red suit causing toddlers to scream in terror when they are perched on their knee in supermarkets – what an odd tradition.

Lovely “santa” re-fold, faux 3D, designed with some lovely colour changes by Steven Casey – ’tis the season.

941: Home is where the Hive is…

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”.

Robert Lang’s Honeycomb Tessellation

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.

Original Lang molecule (right) and my shallow modified one (left) – same size paper

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.

CP of molecule (red=Mountain, blue=Valley) Thick lines are visible edges, thin are hidden
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940: To Bee or not to Bee, that is a question …

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.

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935: Snapology Icosahedron

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

923: Concrete Mixer (aka. A Mixosaur)

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