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.

le Coq

I try not to let folds beat me, but honestly, until now this one has. I have attempted Eric Joisel’s ‘Le Coq” more that 6 times, this is really the only fold of it I am happy with:

Joisel's Le Coq variation

Continuing to fold models that are part of a competition I was eliminated from is part of the motivation, but a “hidden” technique, published obscurely (not in my library) surfaced that allowed for a layered/ruffled breast and clarified the eye/comb and “bingo!”, I finally get it.

Giverny meets Vernon - Joisel's Le Coq variation

This model is folded from a 1m square of Officeworks Kraft paper, measures 20cm toe to comb, and is all attitude. One of our fondest memories of France was the bicycle tour to Giverny (Monet’s house) via Vernon. While in Vernon, looking for baguette and cider, we stumbled across a bric-a-brac store that had resin chooks – we fell in love with a rooster we subsequently bought, naming him “Vernon”.

Joisel's Le Coq variation views
Continue reading

1033: Ducks in a row

Ducks and Drakes usually are different – apart from gender, the drake is usually the pretty one, a quite common convention in the bird world:

Shiri Daniel's Ducks

Each model is folded from a sheet of the same paper, one the reverse of the other to create the different plumage patterns.

Shiri Daniel's Ducks view

A lovely fold sequence is really efficient, so entirely achievable using 15cm origami paper (I have so much of this, and rarely use it). I decided on some teal-ish Yuzen, and the results are lovely.

Continue reading

1025: Polly Wants a Cracker! Now!!!!!

The post title reminds me of the punchline of a favourite joke: “What does a 10 tonne parrot say?”:

Gastronis Skeleton

This is a “Diatryma gigantea” (aka “Gastronis”) skeleton, designed by Mase Eiichiro based on fossil records. In real life this beastie would have been scary indeed.

Gastronis Skeleton views 1

Nicknamed “murder bird”, it seems paelontologists are divided as to whether it was a herbivore, carnivore or omnivore – it was HUUUGE – like 7ft tall, and the musculature marks around the beak suggest it had a titanic bite. Curiously it has no other “predator” characteristics – like a hook at the end of the beak or shredding talons on it’s feet, making it a confusing snarly. The first skeletal reconstruction of fossil remains happened in the early 1920s, and the result looked more like a 9ft emu (seems they had parts of a number of different animals in the one model).

Continue reading

1007: The Difference Between a Duck…

I am reminded of a joke, oft told by my Father In law: “What’s the difference between a duck? … Nothing … One leg is both the same”:

A duck

In looking to start some recreational folding I remembered a model from Wei Lin Chen I found ages ago but had not gotten around to until now.

Continue reading