1141: Matthew Dunstan’s Dragon

Looking at my “must fold when time” pile, I remembered a diagram destoned for a Peter Buchan-Symons “Folding Fantasy” book:

This lovely duo colour dragon is designed by Matthew Dunstan, and is an interesting variation of a classic birdbase with some grafts for the head.

An intense little fold in places (the head in particular is really fiddly and thick), I really like this little western dragon with good proportions and a unique character.

I folded this from a 35cm square of Duo Kraft paper – a mistake in retrospect, it would have been easier (less finger bruising) with a larger thinner sheet. Originally I planned to fold it with my Shadow Thai, but I think it is too thick … now I know how the fold works I may still give that a go.


Folded with a 40cm square of origami-shop Duo Thai paper, with some extra detail and shaping, this little beauty is a treasure indeed

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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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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1083: Bodo’s Whale

Cruising the socials, I noticed origamist Bodo Haag gifted newly drawn diagrams for a rather splendid whale, and I knew I needed to fold it:

Utilising the back and front colours of the sheet, we have a nicely white tummy and a dark back and tail fluke.

I had a lovely bit of wrapping paper (thx Rachel) and knew it would be lovely folded as something, and as a decorative ocean-going mammal it is perfect.

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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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Bitter Sweet

As I approached the date of my retirement, I genuinely struggled with how I could sum up my work-life, and how was going to say thankyou, personally, to so many people I have loved working with.

Collapsed blooms get shaped

It occurred to me that Origami could be my savior, and something hand-made and precious was the order of the day, so set about making Naomiki Sato’s pentagonal “Hybrid Tea” roses – in my opinion the zenith of his glorious rose designs. From a pentagon, with some skill, you sculpt a spiraling bloom of some 25 petals – genius as it is folds only – no cuts, no glue. Originally I was going to present them stemmed, but re-worked the idea to have them sit on calyxes instead.

I gave myself 3 weeks, and it turned out that was not really enough time, as each bloom from go to woe takes just over an hour – even when batch folding. It was a labour of love, and I got it done, and resulted in an amazing coincidence. I listed the recipients, and it totaled 33 – this number corresponded to the number of years I have been working at this current school – it was clearly meant to be.

Exacting pre-creasing

Acquiring paper, cutting perfect pentagons, calculating the relative size different between flower and calyx was the first task. I found if I cut the largest pentagon I could from an A3 sheet for the bloom, then the corresponding largest pentagon from an A4 sheet was perfect for the calyx.

Production-line techniques then ensued – precise pre-creases, pre-collapse wrangling and locating landmarks for secondary petal separation all have to be done first, and at this scale it is fiddly folding, and you need about 7 fingers on all of 3 of your hands. Once the dissected spiral collapse is complete the really hard part starts – shaping the petals to be soft curls in staggered cascades – quite a knack.

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1081: l’escargot

I was doodling with a scrap of 2×1 note paper and arrived at what I think might be an original model:

le escargot

This little snail has a volumetric shell and body, along with some lovely poseable eye stalks.

le escargot views

Originality in Origami is tricksey, as most models recycle techniques from other folds, and the head/eye end uses a fairly standard waterbomb-accordion sink, but I cannot remember seeing it used in this way.

The shell is formed initially by outside reverse-folding the body and as such offers a colour change opportunity if folded with bi-colour paper.

I made a video tutorial if you want to fold it, or read further for a set of photo diagrams.

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1080: Invention of the Crane

This is a very personal fold, as well as a lovely meta design:

Boice Wong's "Invention of the Crane"

The first thing most people learn when they start out in Origami is the traditional crane. This fold speculates the genesis of this model as a happenstance some time back in the mists of time. Interestingly, the first model I was taught, as an 11 year old, by a Japanese exchange student, was the crane.

Designed by Boice Wong, released as a crease pattern, I was decided to give it a whirl. If I am honest, I am not really happy with my first fold, and will probably attempt it again (having learned heaps in the folding). The CP can be found here: https://www.obb.design/cp#iocrane

Using a single square, no cuts, we have a lady in a traditional kimono, kneeling in front of a low table on which there is a single crane. The genius of this design is the model is complete – it looks finished all the way around (indeed I fashioned a lovely “bow” Obe at her back. There is a colour change making the table/crane a different colour to the girl (I decided the focus of this fold was the crane, so it ended up white – next time I might just paint it, or perform an additional colour change which is possible with this design but results in a clumsier crane I think).

Boice Wong's "Invention of the Crane" Views

This has taken me an age. Initially, I attempted to collapse the base only to discover it was inside-out, then trying to sort out what flaps did what job (kinda aided by sorta advice from Boice himself), and decided on the current flap assignment when trying to ascertain how to compose the kimono and hide the internal layers, yet still give me the hair fringe. Quite a wrestle in the end.

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1079: Neelesh Kumar’s “Experience”

All too rarely does an origami fold feel autobiographical, but when I first saw the CP and published fold of Neelesh Kumar’s “Experience”, I knew I needed to try it:

1079: Neelesh Kumar's "Wisdom"

From a SINGLE uncut square we have 2 separate fully formed characters – an elderly wizened “know it all” and a youngster at the beginning of a large book he is holding. The clever narrative thread is that they are connected by the the beard that morphs into the book.

1079: Neelesh Kumar's "Wisdom" - OLD

“Experience” is many things to many people: knowing when to shut the fuck up and when to assert your opinion, a willingness to pass on what you know, knowing what you do not know, knowing what to say when.

1079: Neelesh Kumar's "Wisdom" YOUNG

This clever boxpleat is one of many NK specialises in, and I am not sure i have done it justice, but the character of the model asserted itself in the folding process so I went with the flow.

I struggled with the whole transition between characters, and initially completely forgot the collapse that formed the book, needing to un-do the little person almost completely before doing the book crenellation. Based on a 40×40 grid, the face of the elder was feature-rich, but the face of the younger very plain – I sort of muddled along, thinking the concept was as important as the detail.

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1078: “Tallneck” from Horizon

There is a series of games in the Horizon series, set in a dystopian future where main opponents are robotic dinosaurs. My son plays, I am amazed by the complexity and richness of the game world.

I saw an origami “doodle” by Tetsuya Gotani of a “Tallneck” published on his instagram feed – a sort of brachiosaurus with a spaceship for a head. Thanks to the power of the internet, I reached out to see if he could give me guidance on how to fold one:

Tetsuyu Gotani's "Tallneck"

After a while, Tetsuya replied with a diagram series on how to fold it, newly drawn for me to test-fold. How amazing is that???

I hope he publishes the diagrams, the fold is challenging and the result is familiar to many gamers, and I am sure there would be interest from other origamists (and gamers) to fold it. The Horizon series of games has many robotic dinosaurs that would be perfect subjects for super-complex origami designs (hint hint!).

in-game image

I started with a 40cm square of metallic green/black duo paper (I think it was shadowfold??), that was really thin but strong (it needed to be, because of the torture and final torsion of the outer layers over a bulky solid body. Characteristic of the game critter, spikey bits and a flat-top head emerge from deft manipulation of layers. The bulk of the paper lies in the neck, making thinning it difficult, and the resultant model has a neck that is a little too thick, compared to the slender game critter’s – but this is a minor quibble.

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1077: 王翌宸’s WALL-E

I remember doing a test fold of this delightful model nearly a year back, but never got around to blogging about it… so I grabbed a trusty 50cm square of yellow/brown Origami-shop Sandwich paper and got gridding:

Wall-e – author unknown

With just a 16 grid and some strategically placed diagonals, and a breathtaking “all at once” collapse, the general morphology of the model sorts itself out pretty quickly.

Finessing the details and pose are fun and fairly straight-forward, and before long the character of this simple but adorable little trash compactor begins to emanate from the otherwise inanimate paper from whence it sprang. I do not however know the author of this work – I only have diagrams with the author in Chinese (王翌宸) – thank you, whoever you are for such a stunning design.

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