967: Spike the Echidna

Australia is the home of many unique animals – few come odder than monotremes, mammals that lay eggs – an echidna is one such critter.

spiny norman

I had seen folds of Steven Casey’s Echidna but struggled to find a source of diagrams – only by drilling down in Pinterest did I find some copyright infringer’s scanned pages of the diagrams (sorry, I would have purchased them could I find a publication that had them) and knew I had to have a go at it.

Central to the success of this model is the lovely crop of spines – these are treated scales (much like those that adorn Satoshi Kamiya’s Ryu Jin 2.1+), a lovely “preliminary base” tessellation that I had already mastered. the rest of the model is making the surrounding paper do the work of all the other stickey-outey bits of the animal.

spiny norman views

I particularly love the snout and head, so simple but so nice. It has 4 feet, each with toes – just genius.

You fold it, the resultant shape before you collapse it into it’s end 3D shape looks a lot like a pelt – not sure National Parks and Wildlife would appreciate the notion of an Echidna Pelt, but it then becomes round and plumptious and locks together ingeniously into an adorable spikey ball full of character.

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Travel Fold 2019

We are about to travel again and, as is our tradition, we will leave origami folds wherever we go.

We decided this time it would be a Koala – they are cute and a definitive Australian animal (albeit critically endangered) so I set about to find a design I liked.

After much to-ing and fro-ing I returned to a model I first folded in 2011, designed by Jozsef Zsebe, from Hungary of all places – interestingly the best Koala designs generally come from places other than Oz – go figure.

I manufactured fur paper, using wet polar bear fleece. Do not start on how a Koala is not a bear, I know, but … meh … the texture works and the colour gradation (I found a dirty polar bear) from ears to arse works nicely I think.

I have committed this fold to memory (no mean feat given the state of my brain at the moment) an look forward to leaving them all around Vietnam and Cambodia.

Showing Off

Our school has large display cases. I have kilograms of origami at home, in showboxes, tidy tubs, cupboards, garbage bags and display cases … one thing led to another:

library display 2019

My aim with this display to to show the variety of forms modern Origami takes, from traditional, figurative, geometry and abstract. Additionally I have included 14 different dragons, a current fascination – can you find them all?

I feature some of my favourite pieces, designed by legends such as Satoshi Kamiya, Robert Lang, Eric Domaine, Francis Ow, Ronald Koh, Kade Chan, Eric Joisel, Brian Chan, Jason Ku and more.

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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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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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920: Koala – A Possible Travel Fold

As I am about to embark on more world travel (see travelblog), I am on the lookout for a fold I can leave in each of the places we stay. Oddly, it is something I do, often hiding little Australiana figures in out of the way places,  to hopefully provide delightful surprises for subsequent guests:

Oddly, the very best Koala designs do not come from Australian designers at all, but from places that do not have them. This lovely design is designed by Mindaugas Cesnavicius, a talented folder from Lithuania. Continue reading

903: (353/365) Slippery Little Sucker

I must admit to being a bit of a fanboy when it comes to the works of Satoshi Kamiya. His designs are genius, fabulously complicated to fold and make good use of the sheet:

This is his Octopus – an amazing fold from an octagon that yields lovely little legs, a beady set of eyes and a pendulous 3D head/body with a modicum of paper torture. Continue reading

817: (267/365) Double Helix

Being a bit of a closet Biology nerd, when you see a design that combines love of folding with something biologically interesting you jump at the chance to fold it:

This modular is made up of a bunch of bent arrow-shaped modules that slip together in 2 strands that then, rather satisfyingly, intertwine in much the same way as worms do when they are mating. Continue reading

787: (237/365) Daffy Down Dilly

Today (August 25) is Daffodil Day, daffodils being the icon associated with cancer awareness and fundraising for an eventual cure. You can get involved, donate or buy badges and sponsored bunches of flowers to show your support:

This seems to be a traditional model (sorry, I have yet to identify the designer) but is related to folds I have been exploring for a week or so based on non-squares. Continue reading

Flight, Wing or Swarm

As I continue to explore the butterfly form, I am amazed by the similarities and differences in approaches taken by origami designers:

It seems the references are firmly divided on what the collective noun for butterflies is. Some say swarm, some flight, others wing. What do you think?

I am on the lookout for others – suggestions please.

683: (133/365) Pet Gripe

Last weekend I mowed the lawn – that is not so much a revelation as a statement of fact – I enjoy mowing, always have. I do not, however, enjoy the “presents” that dog owners allow their pets to leave on my lawn:

I recognise that part of the pleasure of owning a dog is that you have to take it for walks to empty it. It does however infuriate me when owners do not clean up after their newly emptied pet. Continue reading

671: (121/365) Winter is Coming

I want to pretend that we have a discernible Autumn in Brisbane, indeed there is a moderation of temperatures, but we lack the temperature drops and seasonal flora to clearly mark the change of season:

Having been places that have deciduous trees, and seen the glorious colour changes in leaves from yellow to red and all colours in between I appreciate the milder climate but miss the beauty. Continue reading

590: (40/360) Daisy

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy….”:

There were fewer chilling cinematic moments than the last conscious moments of HAL, the conflicted computer in Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. The slow disappearance of cognisance is so beautifully portrayed. Continue reading

521: Robert Lang’s Yellowjacket

Flipping through the book “Origami Masters – Bugs – How the Bug Wars Changed the Art Of Origami”, you cannot help but be frightened by this model:521Yellowjacket

Robert Lang, mathematician, engineer and origami design genius in this model pushes the envelope of what is possible with paper on a number of levels. The book gives general hints about a truly terrifying paper manipulation which I think, largely ignores the fact that paper will be used in the fabrication. Continue reading

516: Jaws

In 1975, after finishing year 10, a friend (hey Brendan!) and I decided to cycle to the Sunshine Coast as “something to do” during the Christmas holidays. Living in Maleny, this was a journey but not really that far in retrospect, but on a bicycle in the middle of summer it was kind of madness. 516Jaws

Our bikes were laden with water bottles, tent, airbeds and other camping equipment (I was a scout, and, generally, was prepared), down the range we made for our first campsite at Caloundra. In those days the caravan park/camp site backed on to the beach – cool breezes and ocean sounds – all good, right? That night, we went to the local cinema to see a new release blockbuster movie – “JAWS” directed by Stephen Spielberg. I’ll be honest, this movie really gave me the willies – the now classic film had palpable suspense, shock, gore and was set at the seaside. Continue reading