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:
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.
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:
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.
I have been on a mission for months now to try and render a tiger as realistically as I can in paper. Apart from being feline in shape, tigers have stripes – finding a model that has these stripes was difficult:
I bought Satoshi Kamiya’s latest book because of the tiger diagrams it contained – on flicking through the 200+ steps I initially thought it too difficult to try. But try I did, initially with large format red-natural Ikea Kraft paper. I was surprised that I was able to make it through the most torturous steps, so set about re-folding it with black/natural, ensuring the black was the stripes, natural was the residual body colour.
The genius of this design is the subtle and precise control of both sides of the sheet – the stripes are the result of folds, not cuts. The model requires you manipulate raw edges (the sheet border) fan-folded, while wrestling all the other details (legs, head, tail) from the INSIDE of the sheet – quite amazing.
…so, as part of a commission, I decided to explore the concept of “pride”, using a feline metaphor:
I folded a family of lions, designed by Lionel Albertini, and then posed them in a Daiso display box. “Pride” is an interesting concept – we see the lioness, as the head of the family, provider, strong, carer. We see cubs looking up to her. We see the Lion, in the background, as supporter and partner.
I like the minimalist composition of this piece. I used crumpled VOG paper as “grass” and have resisted adding any other decoration, because everything I have tried added makes the family grouping less powerful.
Completing the theme of “pride”, these adorable Lion Cubs are part of the set designed by Lionel Albertino, from his book “Safari Origami”:
I like how the proportions of the cub suggest younger, cuddlier, clumsier bodies they have yet to grow into. This fold uses a completely different base to the parents, and I managed to pose one standing and the other sitting.
Exploring the theme of “Pride” some more, the lioness is the worker of the group, mother, hunter, general all purpose carer:
Lionel Albertino’s Lioness is an interesting fold, made from the same base as the Lion, you manage the head completely differently. I like the strong haunches, shoulders and noble head. The tail structure is fun and there is some pose-ability about the body. She looks like she is ready for anything.
Folding feline shapes is hard work, making them look realistic is harder. This is the first of a series of Lion studies, designed by Lionel Albertino from his book “Safari Origami”:
Colour management here is lovely – folded from natural/black Ikea Kraft, hiding away the black except for the mane and tip of tail is hard work. When I close up the seams and pose it he will be tidier, but “folds only” it is a stable, self-standing model.
Continuing my journey into the world of Origami Foxes, I came upon a folding sequence from Hoang Tien Quyet:
This is a vixen (the quaint name biologists call a female fox, not sure why) – quite fluid, feminine and organic – compare it with the previous post and you will see a stylistic difference, but also a similarity in the colour management.
This was a really tricky model to fold, lots of paper packed away in very sophisticated ways, I love the serpentine backbone that ends in a beautiful bushy tail.
This feels much more modern a fold, HT Quyet is known for his curved folds, this was fun yet a real challenge to work on the proportions. The body has a real volume and movement about it.
I have been looking for foxes, long story. I stumbled across Roman Diaz’s Fox from “Origami Essence” and thought I should give it a try:
This is a lovely stylised model, careful management of colour, nice big tail and some solidity to the body.
In many ways it feels like an “old school” model – flat, angular and difficult to balance the curved folds that define the face with the otherwise flat structure. I was also surprised it stands, but hte weight balance is good, he stands regal and magnificent.
In need of an elephantine fold, I remembered proof-reading a diagram set from Tetsuya Gotani’s latest book “Origamix”, and remember a test fold that went awry, so decided to try again:
What a lovely sequence – some complex layer manipulation and need for accuracy early on pays off later when shaping.
There is lots to love about this model – lovely big ears (an African elephant then?), trunk and tusks, lovely bum and fabulous sturdy legs. A test of a model is how it is with folds only – you can see an inherent elephantine shape that is stable and free-standing.
I will do some posing, and tidy up some gaping seams, otherwise there is little to do to make this a presentation fold. I really like this model – my pick of elephants (perhaps even ahead of Sipho Mabona’s) so far, and I have folded LOTS of them.
Anyone with a decent knowledge of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, would recognise the name “Spiny Norman” – the gigantic hedgehog that haunted Dinsdale, the more vicious of the Piranha Brothers. When I saw Yudai Imai’s Hedgehog, I knew I had to give it a try:
I had been looking for a model to best show of some duo 30cm Thai Unryu I had bought from the Origami Shop.
Although Unryu is generally tissue thin, this duo paper seemed really thick, still I thought it was worth a bend so set about gridding – This was really hard work on fingers, and resorted to a bone folder – only when I laided in creases crisply was I able to reverse them (and in many cases even then with difficulty).
Australia is the home of many unique animals – few come odder than monotremes, mammals that lay eggs – an echidna is one such critter.
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.
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.
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.
My second test fold from a book by Tetsuya Gotani, this time a “Nollentonk”:
I say “Nollentonk”, only because my sister, when young, used to call elephants nollentonks – not sure why.
This lovely folding sequence carefully hides white right until the emergence of the tusks via a clever colour change. The morphology of the model emerges as distinctly elephantine fairly early on and some of the moves that isolate features are delicious.
There are lots of origami tigers – few actually look like tigers – you know, the stripey thing. This model is radically different:
Using a HUGE square (I hand-made a large piece of double tissue – black and yellow), you start with a birdbase, then torture the paper for 2 days to create a pleated ruffle either side of the back ridge that is then zig-zagged to reveal colour slices that become the tiger stripes.
This model is really really intense – it took me ages to even work out what half the folds mean, let alone how to achieve them. Thankfully the double tissue was thin and terrifically strong, so it withstood the torture unscathed. Continue reading →
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 →