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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990: They come at night … mostly

I will admit to being a sci-fi nerd, few movies did it for me like the original “Alien” movie, directed by Ridley Scott, designed by Hans Reudi Geiger.

The truly original mixture of a genuinely terrifying xenomorph, claustrophobic and grimy working space ship and stellar cast makes the movie, at least in my mind, perfect.

Donny_Origami's facehugger

Prior to that, space was clean (painfully white and tidy, according to the Star Wars, Blakes7, Flash Gordon and Dr Who visions), in Alien gear looked used, people were pissed off and tired, and we were introduced to a much loved and never duplicated alien.

Donny_Origami's facehugger attack

H.R. Geiger imagined a life-cycle – from egg, to facehugger (this beastie) that implants an embryo deep in a host, chest burster through to adult killing machine. Scarily insectoid, acid for blood, no eyes, perfect.

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Caption Competition #1

Caption this, win the brave knight.

I need a caption

“Knight” designed by Neal Elias, “RyuJin 2.1” designed by Satoshi Kamiya, “Sword” and “Tin Opener” designed by me.

Year of the Rat

Most cultures have myths and legends, developed over centuries, to explain how things work. The Chinese Zodiac and New Year is at odds with the western Julian calendar, but none the less interesting:

Joisel's Rat

2020 is the Year of the Rat – interestingly my socials are full of mouse diagrams, but for me there are few iconic origami rats, and this is my favourite – designed by Eric Joisel, I just love the character this chap presents.

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975: Ten to Fifteen Flushes

A certain orange cretin recently said that one of the most important issues in his dangerous foreign land was water usage due to low flow, causing it’s people to need to flush 10 or 15 times instead of just once:

fernando Gilgado's Pensive Man

I for one am worried for him – one has to be concerned about a diet that creates such a terminally un-flushable turd like him.

scale of pensive man

This is Fernando Gilgado’s “Pensador” (or pensive man, I think) – the loo is the best place to contemplate life, the universe and everything … and TWEET about it (which is where I think he generates his content) – hence requiring 10-15 flushes to get rid of it.

971: Bro-bot 2019

The last few months a lot of my free time has been consumed by supporting a team of students as they prepare for a robotics competition:

brobot - Robot by Shunsuke Inoue

Yesterday was the Queensland finals of the First Technology Challenge (FTC), and our team did really well. They designed, built and programmed a robot, affectionately known as “BROBOT”, coming second in the state.

I could not be prouder of the team, so decided they needed a souvenir. This is the cutest little robot I could find, designed by Shunsuke Inoue, and I am astonished I have not blogged this fold before, it is such a fun fold.

scale - Robot by Shunsuke Inoue

You take a square, divide it into 1/16th grid, then boxpleat the bjebus out of it to tease antennae, eyes, arms, legs and a lovely little stubby body.

I hope they like their award.

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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Print-o-gami

As a Christmas present, my daughter signed me up for a Lino-cut and print-making workshop – something I was interested to try for the first time:

final print 5/5

Originally I had a much more ambitious plan, but it was deemed not achievable in the allocated time in the workshop so I sort of freestyled it.

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Priceless Artwork

Culling stored stuff, we came across things we had kept from my daughter’s pre-school years. Folios of precious artworks that, 25 years ago, adorned our fridge:

Spikey ball of love

Glorious and colourful explorations of paint, colour and form, painted, using bubbles, marbles, brushes and other techniques, using really strong colours that have remained so all this time.

I chose 10 of the most colourful paintings, cut 3 x 1:2 rectangles and set about folding a nice spiked ball with them.

I love the result, for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it is made from materials created by someone I love. So much better than sending it all to landfill.

898: (348/365) The Droid You Were Looking For

Now I am as much a Star Trek fan as the next one, and love a comedy sidekick movie plot device. It was interesting that the Star Wars franchise returned to the tried and true “quirky beeping droid” sidekick in “Force Awakens” and the BB8 droid seems a cute successor to the more limited R2 units (that they decided could fly in later/earlier messes of movies):

This is Martin Hunt’s Modular BB8 droid model. A torturous fold of many parts.

4 different modules combine to make a roughly spherical ball with a “head” that can be affixed wherever you want, sort of captured the overall morphology of the droid. Continue reading

860: (310/365) Pizza Slice

You know, I thought I understood Pizza, then I went to Naples, Italy, and realised I knew nothing about pizza at all:

There are moments in your life when things just make sense – that moment of clarity where the perfect combination of crushed tomato, basil and mozzarella on a thin crisp base spends 90 seconds in the wood fired oven and emerges perfect in every way. Continue reading

822: (272/365) Excalibur

“The Lady of the Lake,… [angels sing] …her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] THAT is why I’m your king!”:

“Listen, strange women, lyin’ in ponds, distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. SUPREME executive power derives from a mandate of the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

“Shut up!”

“You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power, just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!” Continue reading

813: (263/365) Llook out, there are Llamas!

PART 2: THE LLAMA, LIVE FROM GOLDERS GREEN
The llama is a quadruped
which lives in big rivers like the Amazon.

It has two ears,
a heart,
a forehead,
and a beak for eating honey,
but it is provided with fins for swimming.
Llamas are bigger than frogs. Continue reading

798: (248/365) The Elephant In The Room

In a fit of elephantine existentialism, one must ask an important question: “What makes a good Origami Elephant?”:

This is Paul Jackson’s “One Fold Elephant” – is it a good elephant and how would we know? What are ESSENTIAL characteristics that a model should have to be considered elephantine? Obvious characteristics of an elephant (well, for anyone who has ever actually seen one) could include discernible TRUNK, big(ish) flappy EARS and a big solid BODY. We could visually recognise an elephant with way less information than that so why do we require mind-popping details implicit in super-complex paper renderings of elephants when something much simpler does the job.

Purists would argue that all origami is, in essence, figurative representations of real objects. Thereby origami models are in effect are so many levels of abstraction from the real thing that there are no valid metrics that apply the the “goodnicity” of the rendering. Continue reading

782: (232/365) Wedge Flex

Topologically convoluted geometric modulars confuse the brain – shapes that morph into different shapes in stable but seemingly unpredictable ways are fascinating:

This is a wedge-flex – a modular hinged construction of a series of triangular prisms (wedges) that fold, bend, twist and re-align in interesting configurations. Continue reading

762: (212/365) Free Hugs

Anyone who knows me realises I am a HUGE Alien fan (well, except for Alien 4 – The Apology) so I find it irresistible when I find an Alien-related fold:

This is Makoto Anzai’s “Face Hugger”, a snarly hand-inspired ovipositor that is the precursor to a chestburster. Similar to Fernando Gilgado’s model, this one has a different fold morphology. Continue reading

755: (205/365) Gaff’s Blade Runner Unicorn

Returning to Blade Runner, there has historically been much discussion about the humanity of the central protagonist, Deckard:Ridley Scott has recently confirmed that Deckard is a Replicant, a point visually reinforced by his recurring dream of “Unicorns” (unreal beasts).

Near the end of the movie, an origami Unicorn is left at the door of his abandoned apartment, presumably by Gaff (although Edward J Olmos says he was not the folder, Scott clearly liked the idea of the echo of an idea). Continue reading

746: (196/365) Fairly Bloody Long Walk

My lovely daughter walked for charity last year and I was so proud of her (secretly regretting not doing it with her). This year, the same walk is on offer at, thankfully, at a much cooler time of year so we are both walking “The Bloody Long Walk” in early August:

Today, as part of our prep we did a fairly bloody long walk, from Brighton to Redcliffe and back again to see how far it is (apparently about 26km according to Google).

I returned to an Origami master – Akira Yoshizawa – his little person, made from the frog base is genius – spirit of the subject, glorious simplicity and I managed to fold it in my state after today’s test walk. Continue reading

740: (190/365) Rubic’s Cube

Long before there were “fidget spinners”, Pokemon and “Pogs” there was a craze that swept me away when it first hit the market. A Hungarian designer called Erno Rubic devised a cube, subdivided up into 3x3x3 cubies that all slid on each other in layers:

I instantly had to have one (well, in truth I had 9, including a triangular, circular and 4x4x4 one that I still have). Continue reading