1138: The Power of Many

I love the geometric world of Tessellations, and have folded many. It is doubly satisfying when you design that tessellation molecule and how it tiles yourself.

This is a hex-point tessellation, and is based on a mathematical algorithm discovered by Aurélien Vermont ( @auregamiiii ) and described in a paper written by them as part of their study in Engineering. The algorithm describes a geometric construction method that lest you raise a n-finned spike from a flat surface and have the surface “heal” around it.

It does so by placing strategic dart pleats that seamlessly absorb the excess paper caused by the spike in a controlled and very flexible way. You can raise a spike at the intersection of a collection of creases (2 or more intersections). The folding gets progressively more fiddly the smaller the spike and the larger the number of intersecting lines.

I chose to derive a hex-spike, that is a 6-crease intersection spike molecule, based on a regular hexagon. Once I had derived all the creases necessary to allow one spike to be raised, I test folded it (just to check – theory and practice are sometimes at odds – some paper designs for origami seem to ignore the thickness of the paper which then breaks the symmetry or distorts the shape) and all was good.

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1137: Crane in a Box

Cruising the channels on Origami Dan, I found a CP for a fold challenge I had missed, but decided to give it a whirl anyways:

Designed by Scott Okamura, this seemingly impossible fold featured a traditional Tsuru (crane) folded in the middle of a large page of duo paper – the surrounding paper is then formed into a box.

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1131: The Work of Fynn Jackson

A long while ago, a new artist on the scene, Fynn Jackson, started releasing astonishing mask crease patterns on social media.

He later commercially released his designs and I purchased his crease pattern packs for masks 1-35, along with the more recently released noses 1-9.

I love Fynn’s work, and eventually will develop my own CPs of faces. There is so much expression in the score and fold bundle, so decided to expand my collection and try out a bundle of manilla card in the process. I contacted @Jacksonorigami and asked him about selling finished masks – he (to my surprise and delight) freely encourages folders to monetise their rendering of his designs, so long as we do not share the purchased CPs (so please DO NOT ASK) …. so I got to thinking about an upcoming Gallery shoppe associated with my papermaker friends PAQ – put 1 and 1 together and arrived at 6.

I set about folding 6 faces I had not tried before from Fynn’s rich collection of characters, each using different aspect ratios, techniques and all quite wonderful. I was encouraged (by some of the wonderful ladies in PAQ – I am looking at you Ann and Wendy!) to consider selling, and began thinking about displays that would make them work as purchaseables.

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1130: Villeneuve Ornithopter v1.2

When I first read Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series of books, it was the mid 70’s and I was a teenager. The expansive universe captured my imagination like little else.

Dune Part 2 has just been released in cinemas, and the Denis Villeneuve adaptation is visually stunning. On planet Arrakis (Dune), a chosen method of air travel is the “Ornithopter”, described as an insect-like flapping machine.

’Thopters in the current movie series are astonishing, if illogical from an engineering perspective. Variously, ‘Thopters have 2 to 12 wings, each move independently in a coordinated buzz to provide controlled lift and thrust.

The origami world has a few simple ‘thopter designs, most modelled on the 80’s David Lynch film adaptation, so I thought I would have a go at designing one from scratch. Initially I thought to harness an existing base, but decided I wanted 12 wings, in groups of 3, and wanted landing gear, some paper for a fuselage and various flaps for some simple detailing.

There are many design methodologies I could have employed. Circle packing (each circle centre representing the vertex of a stickey outer bit), 22.5 folding to facilitate the point-splitting needed for so many separate flaps, but settled on box pleating.

First I sketched out a rough crease pattern (CP). 12 points along opposite edges of a square. The downside of this arrangement was the points ended up tiny – way too small for the wings. Rearranging them symmetrically allowed me to include extra flaps for landing gear, cockpit and more. Designing the collapse along a 2 unit strip of the central axis also gave me the bulk for the fuselage. I calculated I could achieve this with a 48 grid.

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1128: Origami Computer

For a system to be considered “Turing Complete”, it must be able to be used for completing any computational problem. In the world of DIGITAL Turing Complete setups, these computations are achieved using simpler binary operations (like NOT, AND, OR, NOR, etc.).

In a paper recently released by Mathematicians Thomas C. Hull and Inna Zakharevich, they propose flat-foldable crease patterns for origami “processors” that simulate a number of simple binary operations (namely NAND, NOR, AND, OR, NOT and a few ancillary operations) making the theoretical proposition that flat foldable origami is Turing Complete.

I folded a few of the paper’s logic gates, and made a video of how they work – have a look:

Although this is a little nerdy, I can at least conceptualise the idea that a network of interconnected origami processors could, theoretically, actually do something useful. Technical challenges exist with having such crease patterns co-exist on the same sheet, in sufficient quantities to represent anything other than single bits (0/1 or On/Off or True/False), but the idea is none the less tantalising.

I link to a copy of the paper here: FLAT ORIGAMI IS TURING COMPLETE

Barnaby Blockhead

Everyone called Charlie Brown “Blockhead”, a past Deputy Prime Minister continually is caught acting like one, so I began wondering what that would might like:

I had recently folded Boice Wong‘s astonishing pair of figures called “Emptyhead” (I named them Dumb and Dumber), so started there, and re-familiarised myself with the crease pattern, devising a smoother collapse (as I adopted the much criticised method of “parachuting” the last time).

I briefly toyed with the idea of posing him like Neo during Matrix’s groundbreaking “bullet time” scene, but decided to go simpler because he would be a … simple … soul.

The tricky bit was to use minimal paper for a neck, leaving enough of a pleat tube to sculpt a 2×2 solid cube, and explored that geometry a bit before settling on a scheme.

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1123: Anubis

I have always been fascinated by Egyptian symbology, myths and ancient artforms. The very pictorial style is angular, stylised, often animal-based and very interesting. Anubis is the god of funerary rites, protector of graves, and guide to the underworld, in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head:

I am currently watching STARGATE, a few episodes at a time with my son. I began watching it back in the days of free-to-air broadcasting but, for whatever reason I stopped (prolly because I had a life and no longer had time/access to episodes). The series premise is interesting, and I particularly love their hijacking of Egyptian gods/mythos as the “baddies”, as well as the whole aesthetic.

I wish I could remember where I first found this Crease pattern (CP). It has been in my “must try this, sometime” pile for a couple of years and I finally got around to it when looking for something to fold with my second bit of treated Wenzhou rice paper (not made of rice, is a fine and resilient mulberry). I also wish I knew the designer – can anyone help me out here as I would love to give proper attribution?

The CP seemed pretty straight forward – indeed the collapse was quite natural (I did not do my usual “parachuting” as I tried to collapse key details in the order that seemed most logical), and resulted in a base with a myriad of stickey-outey parts in more or less correct locations. I am so pleased with my developing CP solving skills – a loooooong way to go, but every success encourages me further.

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1117: Mod on a Moped

When you talk of “box pleating”, the young kids in the origami design sphere seem to think they invented it. I was fishing around on the web, for origami-related things as you do, and stumbled across an astonishing scanned page from Neal Elias’ notebook from 1968 that features box pleating:

This is Neal’s “Boy on a motor scooter” – an amazing proto-design from 1968!!!!! (this is all there is, you have to fill in the gaps – it was his personal notebook, the diagrams were all HE needed to fold the model) but what an historical gem of a design. It is doubly interesting because it was designed 3 years before I began my journey in origami as a wide-eyed, clueless 11 year old.

Further research suggests this page was “ripped” from a BOS Publication Booklet 35 (still in print?) called “Neal Elias Miscellaneous Folds – II “, edited by Dave Venables. I have purchased the previous Neal Elias volume but was unaware this treasure exists – it has prototypes of some very famous and completely revolutionary designs indeed (like “The Last Waltz”).

Back in the “early” days of western origami, Elias was a pioneer, realising that by gridding a sheet of paper, then using gridlines and 45 degree connectors you could pleat astonishingly complex structures that could then be shaped into complex figurative models. As a kid, the few models I had access to from him were like crack to me. I mastered the “Elias stretch” (these days I think they call it a ‘pythagorean stretch’) and “Elias base”, making skiers and knights in armor, all from squares.

Many of his designs use odd shaped paper – this model uses an 8×22 grid, and the colour change base is particularly wonderful, leaving all the bits of a person in one colour and a lovely long pleat bundle of alternate colour emerging from him. I can see so much potential of all sorts of things here.

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1110: Origami World Marathon 4

I have recently completed the mammoth 50hr+ live fold-along festival called The Origami World Marathon. I folded as many as I could physically attend, and it is a super rare privilege to be actually taught by such world class designers.

I managed about 14 models live, slept some and can complete those missed because, as part of the purchased ticket I gain access to video tutorials from the designers for the next year – win, win.

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1105: En Garde

It is a wonderful thing when designers share their processes, crease patterns and diagrams. Boice Wong is one that readily shares the CPs of his amazing designs, and when I saw “Sword and Shield V2”, I knew I had to give it a go:

Although I have been folding for decades, most of what i have folded has been from DIAGRAMS (step by step folding guides). By far the MAJORITY of origami out there does not exist as diagrams, but a larger proportion exist as CPs (crease patterns). I have been, over the last few years, working on my crease pattern solving skills.

This model is based on Boice’s 24 grid CP, and the collapse is relatively straight forward. Sometimes CPs give you crease orientations (red=mountain, blue=valley), sometimes not. The skill comes with deciding which creases to impose first as part of the collapse. Sometimes it does not matter, most it does, some you can derive based on “knock on effects” on one crease that causes the orientation of a sequence of subsequent creases. Sometimes it is pure witchcraft.

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1103: Brian Chan’s “Walking Locust”

This model has been on my “must fold” for ages, but I had only ever seen a CP and could never make head nor tail of the design. I saw a rendition on Origami Dan Discord and, after an enquiry it turns out there exists an unofficial diagram, drawn by Hua Ge that guides folders through this terrific insect:

I split a sheet from a new 60cm roll of medium weight Kraft and began folding. There is a load of pre-creasing, primarily setting up the high-density collapses to make the long thin legs, so accuracy early on pays dividends later.

Uncharacteristically, this model uses loos pleat structures to bulk out the body, define the wing covers and head/thorax/abdomen, with a deliciously complex un-sink to make the head-thorax join. Interestingly this model also has a super-detailed head/face – it reminds me so much of the hoppers in “A bugs life”, and it has real “cute” personality, as much as a locust can be cute.

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1098: Dumb and Dumber

I love a clever conceptual fold, and “Emptyhead” designed by Boice Wong (origamibyboice) is a clever example of art designed to make you think:

The first of these models – “Emptyhead I” is a lovely character that has an empty box sitting on his shoulders for a head. This model, uses a variation of the original CP (crease pattern), and represents his dumber brother completely detaching his head from his shoulders.

The original, as folded by Boice, has a solid cube for a head, but I Macgyvered a scheme to make it an open 2x2x2 cube instead, so he is clearly related to his more sensible brother.

From a 32 grid, this model cleverly presents shoes, cuffed pants, dress shirt, tie, collar, overcoat with lapels, 1 regular arm and one extra long arm, part of which becomes the box head. Such a neat design, the paper cleans itself up and provides wraps to make the seams tidy on the arms also. All this with no cuts, folds only. I did resort to using a few white glue spots to keep seams and layers in place, but tried to keep it as au-naturel as it was possible while being able to pose him for archival purposes.

I must admit to obsessing about this version, having solved the CP for the first version fairly quickly (which really surprised me if I am honest). I just assumed this version would let me make the free box head, but as I discovered, turning the long pleated tube into an open-ended box, when there was so little paper was a major issue.

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1097: Jetlag

Those who know me realise I am just back from nearly 7 weeks in Europe. When asked how my jetlag is going, it is difficult to put the answer into words:

Spending so long in a different time zone, and getting good at waking early, being on the go to many and varied locations, then being subjected to 29ish hours transit to return to the other side of the planet is always a struggle, but this time it seems to have been worse. Bouts of fatigue followed by being wide awake at 3:30am are exhausting, as is my numb and seemingly empty brain.

This is my test fold of a new Boice Wong design. Boice is a crazy talented origami designer who released 2 versions of this model while I was overseas. He graciously released the CPs (crease patterns) and … they did not look too hard … but have taken nearly a week to decipher with my head in it’s current state.

Entitled “Empty Head 32×32 grid”, this is the first of 2 models in this series I intend to try, and feel a little guilty using up a blog number on the test fold, but I am so happy with how this little guy turned out I thought why not. When I have both figures, I will post again using a new blog number.

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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.

1095: A Wing and a Prayer

Having just treated my first 2 bits of Wenzhou paper, I was itching to fold something (and running out of time to do so). I decided on a Praying Mantis, designed by Jo Nakashima model that I have not yet folded:

Jo Nakashima's Praying Mantis

Based on a 40 grid, using fairly standard box-pleating tricks, this model is a lot of fun to fold. Jo helpfully provides diagrams that detail how to efficiently and accurately lay in the crease pattern (check it out here) and in doing so I learned a LOT about treated wenzhou: It is deliciously thin, crisp and really strong (it allowed me to bugger up a collapse 2 times before getting it right, without paper fatigue). One thing I did not expect was it’s relatively poor reversibility – ie. you fold in one direction and then turn it accurately inside out. I was expecting it to be easier to reverse.

Jo Nakashima's Praying Mantis Views

Instead of “parachuting” (apparently a CP solve no no), I used the central axis and formed the head, thorax and as a consequence formed the front 2 pairs of legs. The abdomen collapse is fascinating and bends back under the wings making it really tidy all round.

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