1093: “An Origami Journey”

Avid noticers of this blog will realise that, since 2011, I have been rapidly expanding my abilities as a folder. Like most people, my first ever origami experience (apart from largely unsuccessful paper planes) was an origami crane (Tsuru) – taught to me as a boy of 11 yrs by a Japanese exchange student. A few years back I completed my task of learning how to fold Satoshi Kamiya’s “Ryujin 3.5”. This fold is not unrelated to both events:

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey"

Crane to complete Eastern Dragon is quite a journey, learning all sorts of new techniques and refining skills along the way and this fold celebrates that very journey. Originally designed and folded by Brandon Wong (@ThePlantPsychologist) – I first saw his fold on Instagram, and then photos of it on OrigamiDan (a discord server I am a member of) and vowed, one day, to fold it.

Brandon very kindly published the Crease Pattern along with photos of his fold, and right now I am rapidly learning to solve crease patterns so the perfect storm emerged after retiring I have time to tackle more ambitious folds.

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey" 360 view

After gridding the 90cm square, I set about laying in the exacting additional creases needed, including a puzzling pythagorean hinge line and some baffling level-shifters. Collapsing was a …. process. Apparently I “parachuted” the model – starting at the edges and working towards a bulging centre is termed parachuting (which is something I must address) until it more or less sat flat. After checking in with Brandon (isn’t the internet amazing) he suggested a fix for the only collapse kludge I had on his right shoulder.

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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:


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.

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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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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.

1069: Starlight Kusudama

Each year for the last 10 or so, as part of the “getting to know you” phase of a new year with my pastoral care group, we fold a kusudama together:

Starlight kusudama construction

The idea is simple, invite kids to sit, learn how to fold a module, then teach it to another mate … resulting in enough modules to assemble a megastructure.

Starlight Kusudama finished

This year I chose a 30 module designed by Vladimir Frolov, a Russian designer, a lovely starry ball.

The metaphor is really simple: “The WHOLE is greater than the SUM OF IT’S PARTS”

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