1118: Riccardo Foschi’s “Human Bust”

I virtually attended OWM4 (Origami World Marathon 4) recently – one of the classes I attended in the wee hours of the morning was a workshop run by Riccardo Foschi:

Riccardo has a recognisable style and his models are a delight to fold (you will find lots of them in this blog). This stylised human bust has such a serene expression on their face, I knew I wanted to try it.

My fold live in the workshop was ok, but re-visiting it when I had some more time (and better understood the fold) resulted in a nicer overall model.

I had recently purchased some “Shadow Thai” paper from Origami-shop.com and thought it would be a good fit for this model.

I chose a grey/smoke blue sheet (black on the reverse, it is a duo paper) and figured because it is a little thicker that it would help with the statuesque quality of the design.

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1117: Mod on a Moped

When you talk of “box pleating”, the young kids in the origami design sphere seem to think they invented it. I was fishing around on the web, for origami-related things as you do, and stumbled across an astonishing scanned page from Neal Elias’ notebook from 1968 that features box pleating:

This is Neal’s “Boy on a motor scooter” – an amazing proto-design from 1968!!!!! (this is all there is, you have to fill in the gaps – it was his personal notebook, the diagrams were all HE needed to fold the model) but what an historical gem of a design. It is doubly interesting because it was designed 3 years before I began my journey in origami as a wide-eyed, clueless 11 year old.

Further research suggests this page was “ripped” from a BOS Publication Booklet 35 (still in print?) called “Neal Elias Miscellaneous Folds – II “, edited by Dave Venables. I have purchased the previous Neal Elias volume but was unaware this treasure exists – it has prototypes of some very famous and completely revolutionary designs indeed (like “The Last Waltz”).

Back in the “early” days of western origami, Elias was a pioneer, realising that by gridding a sheet of paper, then using gridlines and 45 degree connectors you could pleat astonishingly complex structures that could then be shaped into complex figurative models. As a kid, the few models I had access to from him were like crack to me. I mastered the “Elias stretch” (these days I think they call it a ‘pythagorean stretch’) and “Elias base”, making skiers and knights in armor, all from squares.

Many of his designs use odd shaped paper – this model uses an 8×22 grid, and the colour change base is particularly wonderful, leaving all the bits of a person in one colour and a lovely long pleat bundle of alternate colour emerging from him. I can see so much potential of all sorts of things here.

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1108: Poco Poco

Browsing the current Tanteidan magazine, as you do (if you are a paid up member of JOAS), I saw a curious design for a “yummy” rounded unit, designed by Miyuki Kawamura, and decided to fold one:

The fold sequence is simple, the collapse creates a volumetric, rounded, colour-changed “eye-ball” like unit that holds itself together using paper tension. Like most unit designs, it has flaps and pockets, so I had to fold another 2 to see how they connect.

Again, by the miracle of paper tension 3 units unite into a lovely cube corner, so I had to fold another 3 units to make the smallest solid kusudama, again positively locked and, boy, the geometry is fascinating.

Nestled in among the eyeballs is a perfect cube. I may fold more of these (however I will fold using a smaller paper (I used 15cm square, but can easily fold smaller) as I think the 30 module is the pinnacle of weird but interesting kusudama.

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1086: Happy New Year (Year of the Rabbit)

Proofing manuscripts that are soon to become Origami books is an interesting (and sometimes intense) business. While looking at a recent draft, I happened upon Nguyễn Tiến Kha’s lovely new “Lapin (Rabbit)” design and new I needed to test-fold it:

Phạm Hoàng Hải's rabbit

This is an intense fold – it eats up so much paper (I folded this little lovely from a 45cm square), but in the end we get a lovely bi-colour rabbit with all its bits in the right place, good proportions (although a little “top heavy”) and (with a little bum surgery) self-standing.

There are lots of origami rabbits, I have folded most of them, and this one is a charmer for a bunch of reasons. The fold sequence is ingenious, intense and really reliant of accuracy early – lots of pre-creasing provides good landmarks later on, and some lovely emergent geometry as you turn things inside out, round and about.

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1085: Eric Joisel’s “Birth 3”

Eric Joisel was rare in the Origami community – he was a sculptor first, paper folder second. To him, concept was king, technique secondary – saying that however, few breathed more life into paper than him. The “Birth” sculpture series is particularly interesting as the subject is META – arising from the flat sheet , a figure fights to be born – pure genius in his hands.

Joisel's "Birth 3"

“Birth 1” was an abstract humanoid scrambling from the middle of a rectangular sheet, “Birth 1” was a prototype Gnome, and “Birth 3” was one of his signature Dwarves emerging from the edge of a rectangle. I have found no clues as to how Birth 1 or 2 were achieved, but, with some assistance (and a possible CP shared by @fishfolder I was able to have a stab at “Birth 3”.

The journey for this particular fold started in 2019 – our last International travel prior to the pandemic. We travelled to Hanoi in Vietnam. One of the pilgrimages on that trip was to a small outlet store for a village collective who were revitalising the art or making traditional Dó paper by hand. I bought a sheaf of sheets, all natural dyes from Zó Project and carefully shepherded them home in a postal tube safely tucked into our suitcase. I now had a perfect sheet for this model: Natural Dó with leaf inclusions, an almost fabric-like sheet 60x40cm. I needed the shave the deckle edge off one long side to give me a “square” reference, as the sheet was deliciously wonky – this left me with a sheet close to 1.8×1 in proportions.


Next, the protracted and painful process of laying in the creases to allow the base collapse. The first cut and the first fold are the hardest, as there is no room for error. I was determined not to lay in any unnecessary folds, to allow the otherwise untampered paper to shine. I used the 28 grid version of Joisel’s Gnome, because I like the proportion of arm:body:legs you get at this grid, but accurately laying in 28th-based creases was an exercise in measured mister really.

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