For the last 10 or so years, I have used Origami as a pastoral care group “getting to know you” exercise, encouraging the students in my care to get involved, learn something new, and share the skills.
The WHOLE is greater than the SUM OF THE PARTS.
I laminated red and black paper, then sliced it up into 2:3 ratio rectangles. I taught some kids, they taught others – together we made the 30 modules necessary to make this spikey ball (a stellated icosahedron).
The modular construction is an interesting exercise in 3 and 5, and because the paper is quite rigid, the resultant kusudma is lovely – it joins a nice collection of similar of collaboratively constructed modulars – a testament to the power of the idea, the value of being open to new things and the willingness to have a go.
Over the last few years I have played with origami tessellations – the theory of a repeatable pattern that interacts with other repeats (molecules) is fascinating and a real testament to the accuracy of the pre-folding. As part of another project, I have been exploring triangle grids, and a devilishly tricky to collapse hex-cell tessellation by Robert Lang he calls “Honeycomb”.
After folding this a number of times, and then schematicizing the molecule, I noticed that “cells” were deep and, due to the nature of the collapsed layers inside I did not think they were very tidy nor kept their shape nicely. All to often, in origami design, paper thickness is disregarded in the theoretical collapse – in this case hiding away most of the paper in canyons between cells deforms them in ugly ways.
I started playing with the corner mechanism, and discovered I could halve the height of the cell wall, making the tuck much less bulky and doubling the size of the resultant folded field on the same bit of paper. Additionally it held itself together nicely with edges that are easy to stabilise. With a little practice (I am sure my work colleagues thought me obsessed, given the number of times I folded this tessellated field) I was ready to scale up … well, down in truth as I folded a “tiny” triangle grid on my target mustard leather-grain paper and then set the corner widgets before collapse only to then realise that folding this small was a real challenge with my nerve damaged, fat clumsy fingers.
As a teacher and pastoral care “tutor”, I am always looking for ways to get kids working together. At the beginning of the year the tutor group room is a mixed-year level (6-12) mixture of strangers and established friends so “GTK” exercises (Getting To Know you) are great icebreakers if you can get them actually talking and working together:
A few years back I struck on an idea to get kids collaboratively folding an origami mega-structure. The model is fairly simple – I taught the newbies (in this case the year 6 and 7 students) a simple modular unit. They then had to go teach another kid in the group, who in turn taught another. The central metaphor is “the WHOLE is greater than the sum of the parts”, “many hands make light work”, “we are as strong as the weakest link” … and so on.
I spend a lot of time waiting for students to ask for assistance during practical assignment lessons. This is a good thing – if they do not ask and are skilled enough to work independently then I have done the right thing, so it is all grist for the mill. (When kids need help but do nothing about it is much less good, but again a choice the student makes):
This is my first attempt (and probably last) at Eric Gjerde’s “Stacked Triangles” tessellation, based on a triangle grid that had a 6mm spacing. Continue reading →
I try to mark the passing of Hiroshima Day August 6 with respect and effort.
Having folded the traditional 1000 cranes twice in my life (oddly, the second time my cranes were “borrowed” by a then campaigning year 11 for a community project where he received the credit and was subsequently elected School Captain … but I digress) so thought it time to try something new. Continue reading →
When asked by a friend of my son’s if were possible to fold something to celebrate their fist wedding anniversary, which coincidentally is the “Paper” anniversary, I thought why not:
The couple are dragon fans, so it seemed obvious to include something from that world. I looked around for something that would present in a shadow box, and dismissing immediately the suggestion that “a ryujun would be nice”, I settled on a pair of Darkness Dragon IIs, designed by Tadashi Mori. Continue reading →
Flipping through the book “Origami Masters – Bugs – How the Bug Wars Changed the Art Of Origami”, you cannot help but be frightened by this model:
Robert Lang, mathematician, engineer and origami design genius in this model pushes the envelope of what is possible with paper on a number of levels. The book gives general hints about a truly terrifying paper manipulation which I think, largely ignores the fact that paper will be used in the fabrication. Continue reading →
I came across a bunch of variations to a 12 unit modular cube that variously used a 1×1, 2×1 and 3×1 rectangle. I settled on the square variant (in retrospect I should have used the 2×1 version – half as much paper required, but you live and learn.
Initially I just was interested in the locking mechanism of a cube, so folded a red one. then I decided to see how a yellow one might intersect, then because I had some purple paper left over from the torus I thought to link the yellow to a purple, and the idea sort of grew from there.
I scoured my dealer’s (Rhonda, the custodian of paper supplies) shelves and ended up finding 11 different colours/tints – I added a “black” origami paper as the 12th colour and, hey presto they formed a ring of particular beauty.
It just sort of happened – I resolved to only fold during breaks at work, in front of kids, and over a period of 2 weeks it grew into a long chain and I was finally ready to join it into a ring.
I want to say this join was an easy, simple thing. I did not find it so – I tried, undid it, tried again, unfolded it (muttering obscenities under my breath). tried again, thought I had it until I realised it was wrong (the pattern should repeat, the join should not be visible – doh! Continue reading →
Anyone who knows me understands my fascination with the Sydney Opera House, as a kid I saw the sails of it being built:
Set magnificently on Bennelong Point right in the heart of the harbour, it together with the Sydney Harbour Bridge (no, do not panic, I am not making that) are quintessential Australian icons.
Googling one day I stumbled across a design idea from Gerwin Sturm (2007) for a box pleated version of my fav building on earth, and some vague explanations of how it “should be possible to collapse and shape based on a 32×32 grid”. Continue reading →