1101: PBS Colour Change Lizard

I was asked to test fold a model from Peter Buchan-Symons’ new book in progress “Folding Fantasy 2”:

This is a colour change lizard – there seems to be a resurgence in interest in precise figurative 2-d depictions of complex shapes via colour-change at the moment. This model cleverly exposes parts of one side of the paper, hides others with the reverse side and designing such things is a real skill.

The instructions for this model are clear, paced well and really approachable. Knowing Peter’s work, the book will contain a real range of complexities (certainly FF1 was a wild ride of simple through to very tricky models – a good one for your bookshelf).

I look forward to more opportunities to test out his designs, he does things differently to other designers, and variety is a good thing when looking for an approach to solve particular design problems.

Folded from a 21cm square of Indigo print Tuttle bi-colour paper, you could go smaller but would need to be careful not to lose the thin zig-zags that are the front legs and tongue.

Day Tripping to Zaragoza

So a fairly well known fact in Origami circles is that there are Origami Museums, few compare in size to the Spanish one in Zaragoza.  When Jo and I had decided to spend time in Barcelona, we discovered Zaragoza was doable day trip from Barcelona Sants regional train station, so a plan was hatched.

Barcelona Sants is a regional rail hub, different to the metro. We will from depart here in a few days for Province, but this station also provides access to many other places in Catalunya and beyond. After locating our platform ( via a very helpful man at the Information counter), we had our bags (and everything else) xrayed before arriving on the platform to find the train already boarding.

We boarded AVE-S112 High Speed train, allocated seats a lot like an airplane, and took off. The train sped underground until it cleared the central city and burst out into the light as farmland flew by. For a lot of the journey the train was topping 295 km/h as it hurtled stop to stop.

After a little over an hour, we arrived at Zaragoza train station, and de-trained, got some refreshments then headed over to the Bus Station, to catch a C1 circle line bus, and rode it the remaining half way around to the terminus. After a brief bit of nav we were picking through the back streets to EMOZ, located on the 2nd Floor of Centro de Historias, Plaza San Agustín 2.

I had been in contact with the museum ever since there seemed a chance for me to visit, and it was lovely to finally meet an online friend named Jesús Artigas. We nerded out a bit, talked about the current exhibition and about Yoshizawa’s works, and particularly the work of Eric Joisel. 

The museum has, on display a number of Joisel’s original works, including one of his gnome orchestras, his large-scale Rhinoceros and his large scale Pegasus.

Jesús let us sneak peak in the store room at Joisel’s large Hippopotamus also, all master works from a genius artist much missed. 

We talked folding, design, and it turns out he is working on an interesting origami publication of endangered Spanish animals, and asked if I was interested in test folding closer to publication date. What an honor indeed, naturally I said yes. That should be fabulous and something else to be involved in when I finally return home.

We parted company with the promise of future collaboration, then Jo and I took our time appreciating the many rooms of exhibits. It was good to see so many original works from legends in the field, including Victor Coeurjoly, Robert Lang, Junior Fritz Jaquett, Kashiwamura, Jozsef Zsebe, a host of different Vietnamese designers, and even a tiny work from Yoshizawa himself. We are not worthy.

The museum also offers informative information about the paper/folding traditions of many countries. It is interesting that many different schools of folding crafts emerged independently with the introduction of paper and paper-like materials. We also saw some very early traditional folds pioneering skills from historical giants that modern day origami designers stand on the shoulders of.

The feature artist at the moment is Vivian Berty, with a number of rooms devoted to her colourful, figurative and representational varied art practice. Such a riot of colour and range of simple to elegant models, compositions and modular works.

It felt like home for me, to be surrounded by an art form I have spent a lot of my life exploring. Nerd-feasts come in every flavour, and this was one of mine. 

After leaving EMOZ, we reversed our journey to Zaragoza Delicias rail station, grabbed a late lunch and then our train back to Barcelona. I am sure I gushed, Jo was very tolerant of a very happy nerd. If I get the opportunity I would like to visit again, as well as explore the other origami museums of the world.

1089: Caiman

A caiman is an alligatorid belonging to the subfamily Caimaninae, one of two primary lineages within the Alligatoridae family, the other being alligators:

Caiman

When is a Crocodile not a crocodile – when it is an alligator, apparently.

This model has taken me an age for a number of reasons. The model, a genius design from Jeong Jae II (taken from the book “Origami Pro 6 – Wild Amazonia”) has over 300 diagrammed steps (worse, many are “repeat x-y, in reverse upside down”) and every part of the square is worked, then re-worked in many and exacting ways. I wanted to understand and enjoy the processes I was performing and some of them took time to do precisely.

Not rushing to “set” a crease is an important tenet here – until the crease is set there is still time to change it, once set it is permanent damage to the sheet – I tried really hard to set the creases in the correct place.

Caiman views

Scaled/pleated models always fascinate me – the design strategy behind HOW these are designed are completely beyond my comprehension – pleats and scales take a LOT of paper, so planning what is done and where is exacting. Following the set of instructions is complex enough but there are some who could fold this monster from a crease pattern (CP) alone – but not by me – that still is beyond my ability.

A quality design looks good with folds alone – and when I had laid in all the creases and roughly shaped it, the model was already wonderful. I did a little bit of cleanup – closing gaping seams with spots of glue, closing the underside of the tail to give it volume and wires in the legs for permanent posing. Remarkably little was needed to make this presentable.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

1075: Nessie

I am constantly surprised what you can do with the classic bird base:

Peter Buchanan-Symons' "Loch Ness Monster"

This is Peter Buchanan-Symons’ “Loch Ness Monster”, a fascinating exercise in colour change and tight accordion pleating that takes the points of a bird base (traditionally 2 wings, a head and a tail) and manipulates them to make 4 stickey-uppey colour-changed flaps that are then bent to produce a familiar outline.

Peter Buchanan-Symons' "Loch Ness Monster" scale

This is a simple model from a forthcoming book “Folding Fantasy Volume 1” that I helped edit – some lovely challenges therein.