1102: The Offering

Tucked away in an inconspicuous corner of the deserted clearing, nestled almost invisibly among the leaf litter, the first signs of civilization were found in the form of a rough-hewn but definitely hominid-worked paper offering. For whom, to what, why … we shall never know:

Followers of the blog will notice occasional references to paper making pursuits. This post looks at the most recent results of a paper making workshop I attended in early July 2023. I had previously (back in 2019) been a member of PAQ (Paper makers and Artists, Queensland) but found full time work made attending events difficult. Now I am retired I have more freedom, so reapplied for membership.

The group’s interests in paper are diverse – from botanical paper making, monoprinting, encaustics, stitching, collage, pulp sculpture and more – my interests are (fairly narrowly?) folding, but it is important to have ones interests informed by a wider palette so I am very much the learner in that group.

Previous workshops I made sheets with finely beaten banana stem and cotton display board, day lily and lemongrass pulp, and still have some of the paper from that session. This session we pulped banana stem (coarsely this time) and mixed it with lemon grass, Philodendron, and South African Pigeon Grass stem, in various combinations. The pulp was added to water, then a suspension-aid made from water soaked chopped okra, which generates a mucilage that makes the vat water more goopy, helping the pulp to stay in suspension longer before settling out. The results were much coarser paper, but it presented an interesting challenge to see what I could fold from it.

I first pressed then dried my sheets, brought home still dripping. I carefully separated them from their couching sheets (old torn up bed linen) and selected sheets to process further. Using a fairly stiff batch of Methyl Cellulose, I stuck sheets to my glass and let them dry, reasoning (correctly it turns out) that the MC would make the sheets more pliable and bind the fibres more closely together (given some of them were very loosely bound, this seemed like a good plan).

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1084: Square Spaceness

I have a huge pile of “must get around to folding this” models and “Square Spaceness” designed by Alessandra Lamio is one of this legion:

1084: Square Spaceness - plan view

Take a square, divide it into a 16×16 grid, lay in strategic mountain and valleys and you get this almost Escher-like tessellation molecule (meaning you _could_ put multiples of these if you had a more expansive grid with some tweaks and a bit of smush).

Charged with the confidence Advent of Tess gave me, I knew it was time to give this a whirl. There are many long slight diagonal valleys that make up the bulk of the geometry for the inward sloping spirals, and the corner widget is ingenious as a lock, and adjusting the outside pleats lets it sit flat – love it.

1084: Square Spaceness - diamond view
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1082: Advent of Tessellations

It was late in the semester, I was looking for a folding project (to add to the other 4 already on my board – procrastigami strikes again) and noticed in my feeds a 25-day program by Madonna Yoder called “Advent of Tess”. I guess I am supposed to know about Advent, having worked in a Catholic boys school for 33 years, but… apparently it is the 25 days in December leading up to Xmas (learn something every day)

The idea was that Madonna released a CP and a video tutorial each day for 25 days, victims start with hexagons of paper pre-creased into 16-grid triangles, and collapse increasingly difficult combinations of tessellation techniques on the page.

1-5 (front/back/backlit): Cluster 6, cluster 4, cluster 6 alternating, cluster 4 alternating, HT6 closed alternating

The first few were easy, and collapsed simply, but then I decided I did not need the tutorials and proceeded to mark up the paper with the day’s CP and collapse from that. This approach came awry pretty quickly as the elements began to argue for the same real estate on the sheet and I learned that sequential development was way more sustainable.

The folds started with closed triangle twists (something I had done a lot of previously, so found accurate placement of these fairly easy. We later progressed to “open” triangle twists, which are much harder, and require a “setup” that uses paper tension to define the lines off-grid that were the sides of the triangle.

6-10 (front/back/backlit): Triangle double-bar wells, shrinking violet, studded wheels, radiant, dancing ribbons

We then progressed to closed hexagon twists (again, something I had done lots of beforehand) and refined them into “open” hexagon twists – a fascinating variation of a “star puff” of which I had passing familiarity.

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1068: Russian Lilac Module

I stumbled across the instructions for a glorious checkerboard kusudama designed by Andrey Ermakov, an insanely talented designer from Russia:

Russian Lilac unit designed by Andrey Ermakov
Russian Lilac unit

I decided to try and make ONE module – an exhausting process that starts with a HEXAGON initially divided into a 16 grid, then you dance through moves that flash and hide the reverse colour of the paper until you get this lovely pattern. This took me in excess of 2 hours!!! For ONE unit!!!!! You then crenelate and interweave them to make a spikey ball, tucking in tips to complete the tessellated surfaces.

Russian Lilac shaped to allow others to interlock.

Had I no life, and a LOT of paper, I would consider making all 30(!?!?!?!) of these things necessary to make the most complex spikey ball there is – a beauty that is not within my reach (for now) due to time pressures.

It is a timely reminder that astonishing and beautiful things come from Russia; ugly political and military action does not diminish this fact.

1058: Twister A

Clocking on for another round of procrastigami, I decided to give the first of the “twister” series a go:

Twister A by Ilan Garibi - 2x2 molecules
Twister A – 2×2 molecules

This is “Twister A”, designed by Ilan Garibi, a lovely dimensional fold with a final twist to finish it off.

I have folded a few square twists, this one perches a twist on top of the intersection of opposing ridges, contains remarkably few folds on top of the base square grid.

Twister A by Ilan Garibi - molecule
Twister A Single Molecule

The basic molecule tiles awkwardly – because of the directionality (it forms in a clockwise direction) of the molecule, you have to reverse adjacent molecules if you want them to line up.

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