1000: How Green Was My Cactus

Episode 245, Mabel, confused about her husband’s sudden emergence from a coma as a woman, signs over her mortgage to Favio, the pool boy, and became a nun, briefly.

How green was my cactus - finished

I remember a radio serial comedy drama, it used to make me giggle and it was called “how Green was my Cactus?”, the inspiration for many of the hashtags as I chronicled this fold, over what has seemed like an age. Somehow this is relevant in the context that this is “never folded this before #1000” for me – an astonishing milestone that I do not take lightly. I knew I had to attempt something epic … be careful what you wish for.

I first saw pictures of Daniel Brown’s fold of Robert Lang’s “Cactus, Opus 680“, and then I saw some fold suggestions from Daniel and flirted with the idea of taking a crack at this fold.

How green was my cactus - views
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998: Losing Our Shiz

Australia is many things to many people. Currently, in the media, it seems like Australians are being portrayed as panic buying essential items in huge quantities, in preparation of an on-coming pandemic that is waaay less lethal than normal Flu:

Toilet Paper Origami

The first such item was Toilet paper, with viral (or bacterial) footage of people fighting in the aisles of supermarkets for the last bulk pack.

All I am saying, is give peace (and common sense) a chance, people.

This is Jo Nakashima’s Toilet Paper Crane, a fitting symbol of restraint. I only wasted 3 “poo tickets” (“Kenny” reference) in making it, so do not panic, unless that is something you do to increase likes on Instagram or Tik Tok.. … imagine going down in social media history as a toilet paper “influencer” – bahahahahahaha.

You should consider making this – sit somewhere, calm down, unclench and fold some bog roll for something other than wiping your bum.

991: 2019-nCoV

Human Corona Virus is in the news, the news is alarming:

nCoV macquette

It is difficult to know the extent of the emergency, the effectiveness of treatment, the vector of infection, the spread and infection rate, the facts.

Social media and websites masquerading as “news” agencies love a good headline, and this mixed with Survivor in the jungle, celebrity red carpets, sham impeachment, Corona Virus “influencers” on instagram and fad diets makes navigating the facts difficult.

Public warnings and travel bans aside, what constitutes a pandemic? What is the appropriate response?

I took a 3×1 rectangle of white/natural Ikea Kraft and … well … doodled and came up with an all too familiar image – a face-masked regular person. In an odd bout of synchronicity, Sebastian Limet (@sebl) had the same idea. His fold, as usual has lots of character.

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Their Lives In Our Hands

Much has been made in the media about the current bush fire situation in Australia. Truth is the scale of devastation is impossible to grasp, in terms of sheer acreage of scorched earth, number of homes lost, lives lost and livelihoods ruined. When we add the effects on environment, habitat and wildlife (flora and fauna), the effects of the 2019/2020 summer will have long-reaching and potentially permanent ramifications:

their lives in our hands

I want to say that our leaders are on top of this, but have never had confidence in politicians, and am not convinced any can see past getting re-elected to make the hard decisions necessary for our continued existence. Indeed, when our PM chooses to go on holiday during the worst of it, when he and his colleagues continue to deny climate change, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence. They display a vandalistic attitude to environmental policy, and offer reckless abandon to fossil fuels and non-sustainability.

Their lives in our hands. “They” are our children, their children, the animals and plants that make up the biosphere in which we live. The “they” are US.

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Entomologists Unite

In a meeting with other Brisbane Origami enthusiasts, we floated the idea of a Brisbane Origami Group (BORG).

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Although in its infancy, eventually one of us will get organised enough to get a little more formal.

exhibition 1

In the interim, Vivian Sandoval (a practicing Entomologist and origamist) suggested we might be able to provide some models for a forthcoming conference.

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The Perkins Memorial Dinner was held by The Entomological Society of Queensland on the 8th of October 2019 – decorated by displays from us 🙂

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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.

Hands-on Paper Making with PAQ

As a newly subscribed member of The Papermakers and Artists Qld, I went along to a hands-on paper making day unsure what to expect.

Papermakers and Artists Hands-on Paper day

I knew I needed to bring some botanical fibre (so I chopped up some of my lemongrass bush trimmings), lunch and a baked treat to share, along with hat, sturdy shoes etc. We set up tables outside and set about the business of making paper.

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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

900: (350/365) Calamari

I stumbled across a “dollar fold” designed by Daniel Brown and decided to try it:

An interesting exercise in sinking, point isolation and layer management, this charming squid looks fresh enough to cook. 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

794: (244/365) From little things, big things grow

September 1 is often trotted out as the first day of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere:

Purists will argue that the spring equinox is not until the 21st of September, but with the climate as it is, it has felt like spring for weeks now in Brisbane. 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

779: (229/365) Karma Chameleon

I went looking for something reptilian to fold today (not sure why) and found this little charmer designed by Marc Vigo:

Using a series of rabbit ears on a 2×1 rectangle, you isolate legs, head and tail rather cleverly. Continue reading

721: (171/365) Kythera Dreaming

A colleague recently spent an extended time back home on Kythera, a lovely island in Greece:

Returning to work is never easy after such time away, but I can feel and understand her longing to return. This shell is meant to evoke dream memories of Kythera. 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.