Priceless Artwork

Culling stored stuff, we came across things we had kept from my daughter’s pre-school years. Folios of precious artworks that, 25 years ago, adorned our fridge:

Spikey ball of love

Glorious and colourful explorations of paint, colour and form, painted, using bubbles, marbles, brushes and other techniques, using really strong colours that have remained so all this time.

I chose 10 of the most colourful paintings, cut 3 x 1:2 rectangles and set about folding a nice spiked ball with them.

I love the result, for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it is made from materials created by someone I love. So much better than sending it all to landfill.

947: Parquetry Ball

Procrastination aside, folding units for a new kusadama is always an adventure. This “parquetry” ball looks like it is made from strips of machined timbers. I decided on 3 colours, reasoning that I should be able to evenly spread the edges around the ball:

parquetry ball

Due to the interconnections, the plan nearly worked, but the ball is lovely none the less. I really like the locking mechanism – the resultant ball is rigid and self-supporting.

Continue reading

915: (365/365) Chris K Palmer’s “Flower Tower”

I have a long and terrifying “fold me” list of models I will one day get around to – this was on it:

An excruciating fractal tessellation that eats paper like few other folds, based on spiral collapses of a dodecagon that then gets turned inside out to make the next level to collapse.

The unfold and re-collapse stages (I did 3, but theoretically could keep going getting smaller and smaller) looks like it is going to hell in a handbasket, then it sort of just sorts itself out in a magic sort of way. Continue reading

897: (347/365) Deathstar

Tomorrow in Oz the next chapter of the Star Wars saga opens in cinemas. I am not likely to see it until the crush of “real fans” abates but thought on the eve I would fold something relevant:

This I have labelled “Deathstar” because it bears an uncanny resemblance to the space station the Liberator encountered just out from Far Point, while captain Mal and his rag tag band of cylons, and their computer Aurac, cruised the belt looking for replicants (how many scifi franchises are hinted at here? :P). Continue reading

673: (123/365) Longhorn Beetle

Itching to dive into some thing complex (365 challenges are lousy for this, the one fold a day schedule makes longer hauls really difficult), I decided on an insect from Robert Lang that I had not folded before:

Folded nearly life-size, this is a longhorn beetle, a lovely little bug with seemingly ridiculous antennae. Continue reading

519: Before the Big Bang

Curved creases seem to do interesting things to stiff paper.519twist

Paper tension that has been tortured by curved folds tends to force planes into curves and distorts geometry in interesting ways.519Snail

I had a huge offcut of Canson watercolour paper and decided to try Thoki Yenn and Josef Albers “Before The Big Bang” – an odd collection of concentric creases, alternating mountain and valleys. Continue reading

477: Rooster

I want an origami rooster (in red) to live somewhere in our new kitchen, so set about exploring rooster form with a pair of masters and their individual approaches to rooster form:

I “warmed up” with an Eric Joisel “Le Coq” – a fold I had tried years ago and not really mastered so I patiently and carefully folded from a 60cm square a lovely rendition (well, in my eyes at least). the Joisel model is economical with paper and seems to focus on the feet and tail, with an almost caricature head comb and waffle.

I then, after a cup of tea, girded my loins and set about folding Satoshi Kamiya’s Rooster. Using the same size piece of paper, there are hundreds of steps, many of which were astonishingly complicated 3d collapses that had originally scared me away from trying it – indeed 2 years ago I would not have been able to fold it at all.

There is much to admire with Kamiya’s vision of the bird – body and head with comb/wattle are amazing,  full wings and a suggestion of a tail are wonderful, legs and feet seem (to me at least) almost an after thought, although the legs do have spurs and the right number of toes, I found them less generous than they needed to be for the proportions of the model – the poor chook would not be able to walk or perch. Even posing it I had great difficulty propping it up on the little spindly toes. It appears to have “barbie” syndrome – you know, Barbie the doll has impossible proportions, right? Continue reading

474: Six Intersecting Squares

While browsing an origami forum I frequent, I came across a modular that I had not tried, based on 120 degree units:

I have a stack of oddments (the ends cut off A4 sheets when squaring them up) and decided to see if they were close enough to the right size for this module (it called for 2 1/5 x 1 rectangles, my odments are more 2.5×1) Continue reading

Hideo Komatsu’s Owl

You find wisdom and counsel is the most unexpected of places, people can be wise beyond their years and offer you more support and encourage than they realise.

I was asked to fold an owl, simultaneously, for two completely different purposes. (1) A good mate wanted to give an Owl to someone who had helped him out with some well chosen words of wisdom. (2) During the World Origami Days event organised by MiniNeo, I was challenged to fold an Owl by Sebastien Limet. Continue reading

“You Shall Pass!”

Sometimes we all need a little magic in our lives:

If anyone can get us past the Balrog and on beyond Mount Doom, Gandalf can.

Made from a square (and the scrap cut off to make it a square to make the staff) for a friend who, like all of us, is a valuable and important part of this world.

443: Gettin’ Crabby

As a member of JOAS (Japanese Origami Society) a present arrives in the mail every now and then – the Tanteidan magazine. Although it is written in Japanese (and I can not read Japanese) there are lots of fun things to try, occasionally amazing models to try:

Now I know I should be marking, but I have all this amazing paper and when presented with a folding challenge I get a little OCD about it.

This lovely crab, designed by Jason Ku, is a mathematical masterpiece – teasing the legs and claws from edges of the paper, shaping the carapace and the final, tidying does not just happen by chance. Continue reading

440: Satoshi Kamiya’s Lion

I had one last piece of Nicholas terry’s “Tissue Foil” and a little time on my hands so decided to try and nut out Satoshi’s Lion:

This lovely little model is a right pain to fold – some astonishingly complicated twists and turns that are not really well explained in places – some of the odd sinks and manipulations to encourage the body shape were very challenging to understand.

After nearly completing it, I then decided to repeat the process with a piece of mid-tan Tant (newly purchased and arrived) and that also was a challenge – not because I was now unfamiliar with what needed to be done but rather that the paper was so thick that it became very difficult to complete folds.

I amazed myself by completing both – fairly happy with them – I learned lots along the way and, should I fold them again (and yes, I am not against the idea)  I think I can do a lot better, now that I know what goes where. Continue reading

427: Geiger’s Xenomorph

Anyone who knows me realises I am a huge fan of the Alien movies, the first one is, for me, close to perfect science fiction horror:

I had been aware of Kade Chan’s Alien design for ages, had the crease pattern and wrestled many times trying to make it with no luck. I had relegated this to the “give up on it” pile – there are a few that have just beaten me for the moment.

Kade posted a near complete video tutorial, suddenly this model was back on the radar. The video is pretty clear – you should have a go – it is NOT a beginners model but the techniques for forming the main features are pretty clear.

So I set about a test fold, in Litho paper – the paper gave up half way through, splitting on most major creases, but I learned the basic collapse and some of the featuring before it gave up so resolved to fold it with something more durable.

I cut a 55cm square of Kraft paper off the roll and, very carefully, began folding. This, like most models, relies on accuracy for things to work out – a part of a mm out here and it compounds when you do accordion pleating, and this model has so many layers because of the amount of the sheet that is hidden.

I like that most surfaces provide layers that you can then texture in the modelling, sculpting them in graded steps to create carapace, armour and small beautiful details like the rib cage and prehensile tail.

The alien as envisaged by the movie franchise took on shape and general morphology from the host it bursts through the chest of – this one is fairly certainly humanoid and so posing it I found myself anthropomorphising its stance a little. I used a little MC to ensure the pose was rigid, clamped details in place until the paper was dry, then mounted him on a textured circular base and am quite chuffed with the result.

This was WTF (What’s That Fold) #2 – stay tuned for more paper bending

426: Satoshi’s Tree Frog

The Weekly WTF#1 (what’s that fold) had to be a Satoshi model, and I had been itching to make this little beauty ever since I was aware he had designed one:

Initially, I folded this with a odd end of a kraft roll, starting with a nearly 40cm square (nearly in that I discovered it was not quite square), but found it very small for my fat clumsy fingers.

I resolved to fold it neater, so went larger – second fold (the one pictured) is a 60cm square of brown Kraft paper (no, it is not green, and I know of no easy way to make it so).

There is a LOT to like about this model, and some concerns – some of the steps are fairly poorly explained (given the nature of some of the manoeuvres I can not imagine how that would be improved) and some of the folding is through so many layers that without help this model does NOT stay as folded.

I decided to do wet-folding, with a little MC (methyl cellulose) to fold, mould and let it dry before moving on – this lengthened the time to make the model, but in the end made it most beautiful. Some of the subtle shaping would ONLY be achievable with foil-core paper or via wet MC folding.

In the end, this is the most frog-like thing I have encountered that was not actually a frog. the details are astonishing even to me (and I wrangled them out of a flat, uncut square).

“Can I go for a swim Mum?”.
“No, you just ate that fly, wait a half an hour
or you will get stomach cramps junior!” .
“Aww mum, that is an old toad’s tale.”

I ended up with 2 – my first fold, whilst smaller is different to the larger one, they both have interesting postures and attitudes and I am torn as to which one I prefer.

I am sure I will fold this one again – he is so cute, but I think I will wait until I have suitable thin green paper – the model is so well designed that it’s tummy is one colour, rest of the body is the other – so I will be hunting paper that is 2 shades of green front to back (or perhaps making a bit of double tissue – we shall see).

386: Dimple Ball

Looking for a neat, colourful use for a batch of poor quality origami paper I had, I stumbled across a modular dimpled sphere:

The paper cracked and spilt in ugly ways, so I had a good wrestle to actually construct this. Interestingly, when complete it became quite rigid and strong but prior to the last few modules were wrangled into place, it was floppy and kept unfolding inconveniently.

The result is spherical, with lovely pentagonal dimples, with modules centred in fives, meeting in threes – lovely application of maths.

I must look for modules that differ in the basic 32 module sphere, and also for one whose modules are more positively connected. This one is, however, randomly beautiful.

You can have a try of this yourself – go here for instructions

383: Slinky

Now I am a fan of a simple but effective modular, and this one is a lot of fun:

Modelled after a spring-slinky, designed with skill by Jo Nakashima, it stretches, falls and steps like the real thing.

Using remarkably simple modules, each from a small square, the structure begins to behave when there is sufficient mass in it to be propelled by its own momentum.

I like this model a lot – it was a fun way to while away an exam supervision and the construction method was simple. I ended up making over 50 modules before it started behaving correctly but even this feat did not take very long.

Give it a try, you know you want to…

379: Dodecahedron

In search of a new modular to adorn my computer lab, I stubbled across a dodecahedron that looked interesting enough:

Thirty modules later, I began to attempt to construct – after 7 different attempts and modifications I could not find a way to make the modules lock together convincingly.

Defeated, I resorted to a few well-placed pieces of sticky tape (on the inside) to keep the pentagonal faces together. Overall it is a pleasing construction (all be it a little cheaty)

I shall continue to look for modulars – there are lots of varying complexity – the geometry alone is reason to attempt them. This module constructs a 73ish degree angle which is a little big for a pentagon, causing a paper tension that naturally tries to spread the joints.

377: Balthazaar Quercus

So, it emerges that Dweezil has a little brother. Ladies and Gentleffolk, if I may introduce Master Balthazaar Quercus, aged 6¾:

I was asked to liberate this cute little chap from the flat sheet of lithography paper he was trapped in as a parting gift for a colleague. Aware this may create precedent, this is my first COMMISSIONED dwarf (my charities will be well pleased with the extra injection of funds).

I took what I had learned from wrangling Dweez’ and refined the model – this is free standing, on a base (a bit of wood covered also in litho paper offcuts – like the one I used for Mortimer). I liked the sitting on a stack of books idea, so pierced a stack of three with some structural wire that goes into a hole in the base and goes up Balthy’s bottom, carries on up his back and across his shoulders to support him.

The result is charming – I think I nailed the facial expression (although how a 6¾ year old dward has such a full beard is something only another dwarf could answer) and am getting quite good at the whole pointed, curley shoes thing.

There seems a demand for dwarves, they are all different indeed and this one was folded entirely by memory (quite proud of that, given how unreliable my memory is). If YOU want one, have your people call my people, we can agree on the finances (charity days are numbered, once ALL the 365 origami debt is cleared then I guess the funds should be redirected to the paper wrangler).

353: Lang’s Praying Mantis

Wow. You know, sometimes a set of instructions for a model are so well designed that it is a pleasure to fold – time just … goes – so it was with this little beauty:

Robert Lang is a design genius, using mathematical and art sensibilities he has distilled what is essentially “mantis” and worked out ways of folding away everything but this essence.

Six beautiful legs, front two “prayey” ones with claspers, glorious head with inquisitive antennae, approporiate proportioned body and, well, wow, just wow.

I am not going to pretend that I did not struggle with this, but after yesterday’s model I was determined to go for accuracy, so necessary with so many accordion pleats. The legs are soooooo thin – painful to fold but amazingly brown paper survived without any paper fatigue.

I am so please with this model – all aspects of it. I folded opened-out paper clips into the legs to give them strength so she can stand freely and so the “knee” joints stay bent – 20+ layers of paper are really hard to bend and I envisaged accidentally snapping off a leg whilst trying to shape it.

I will fold this again, should I ever get some more suitable paper – needs to be tissue thin but really strong – normal paper will just not work. Bravo Mr lang, your figure is a masterpiece and I for one feel honoured to have folded it.