Their Lives In Our Hands

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:

their lives in our hands

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.

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967: Spike the Echidna

Australia is the home of many unique animals – few come odder than monotremes, mammals that lay eggs – an echidna is one such critter.

spiny norman

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.

spiny norman views

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.

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931: Sipho Mabona’s Fugu

I have had this model on my “to do” list for ages – I had shied away from it because of what I perceived was a brutal precreasing sequence and impossible collapse:

That said, with a little large scale and some accurate pre-forming, the laying of the corrugations was fairly straightforward – all based on halves. Laying crenelations across these were fiddly in low light, and had I realised they would be angle bisecting squares later then I think I could have been more accurate. Continue reading

675: (125/365) Centipede

Gagging for complex folds I thought I would torture a bit of paper with a super complex model from Robert Lang’s “Origami Insects II”:

The paper survived and the resultant creepy crawley is interesting if not perfect.

Missing steps and powering on, only have to backtrack, characterised this mammoth 6 hour fold. Some steps are small but have long term consequences and I was worried that unfolding and refolding would cause the paper to disintegrate, fortunately not. Continue reading

Orchid Shadowbox

I love models by Robert Lang, I find I fold them when I need order, therapy, calm. This is a collection of his Orchids, described in his book “Origami Design Secrets”. Something about the mathematical elegance of this flower lends itself to careful modelling and pretty staging. I had a bunch of opalescent 6″ squares in delicate pastel colours so originally folded separate flowers and tried to attach them in a sort of free-form montage.camille

They look better on a stem, so re-thought the mounting, used florist’s wire and tape to build a plausible “spray” and (shhh) used some craft glue to affix the flowers to the ends of each stickey-outey bit.

Working to the diagonal here, with an odd number of blooms works quite nicely I think, coupled with the corrugated (I folded a fan) hand-made gold-flecked tissue the total scene is quite pleasing. Continue reading

533: Gjerde’s Pinwheel Tessellation

After leafing through Eric Gjerde’s “Origami Tessellations” I knew I had found the motherload of paper punishment:Tessellation6

This is the “Pinwheel” tessellation and it has a hidden beauty. I am learning that a tessellation is a regular repeating pattern, magically interlocking “molecules” that go together like tiles on a mosaic floor.

Usually based on a grid (at least initially), this one is based on a triangle grid, and features closed hexagon twists and open triangle twists that compliment each others vertices very neatly. Backlit they reveal an intense and curious but often completely different geometry. Continue reading

461: Lang’s Butterfly

Originally I was approached by a blog reader who wanted to know how a particular part of this model worked. Given I had never folded it before I had to admit I did not know, but would love to find out:

This is a torturous model by Robert Lang from his book “Insects and their Kin” – torturous because most of the detail originates in the MIDDLE of the sheet, via some astonishingly complicated manipulations. We tease 6 legs, abdomen, 2 antennae from the middle of the page, leaving large expanses of largely un-folded paper for the 2 pairs of wings.

I have wrestled with this for an age – not sure the instructions are very clear (particularly layer management late int he piece) and certainly are not noob friendly.

As a first fold I am very happy with the result – not sure I wold fold it again, I do not really like the way the body sits and the clumsy layering at the wing junctions but it was a fascinating exercise in accuracy none the less. I say clumsy but I know of the design genius to engineer such a shape, so please Mr Lang do not rake this as a criticism, I remain in awe of your paper prowess. Continue reading

447: Black Forest Cuckoo Clock

In need of some therapy, and with my procrastinator set on FULL, I embarked on a punishing box-pleating exercise:

I remember as a kid in New Zealand we had a cheezy Cuckoo Clock (Mum loved it) that used to have metal pinecones as counterweights and a faux timber case that used to “cuckoo” and scare the life out of me every hour. It had the loudest tick of any clock I remember.. I am fairly sure it did not survive the emmigration back to Oz because I do not remember it afterwards.

Robert Lang is known for beautiful mathematical models and when I first saw photos of his “Black Forest Cuckoo Clock” it seemed impossible to tease all that details out of an uncut sheet. Continue reading

416: Dark Rider

Round the corner came a black horse, no hobbit-pony but a full-sized horse; and on it sat a large man, who seemed to crouch in the saddle, wrapped in a great black cloak and hood, so that only his boots in the high stirrups showed below; his face was shadowed and invisible.
“When it reached the tree and was level with Frodo the horse stopped. The riding figure sat quite still with its head bowed, as if listening. From inside the hood came a noise as of someone sniffing to catch an elusive scent; the head turned from side to side of the road.” – “Three is Company,” Fellowship of the Ring, p. 84

I hate it when things beat me – I find it really hard to let it go:

On my FOURTH attempt, I managed to fold Jason Ku’s amazing model of a Dark Rider (version 8.1) – another character/thing from Lord of the Rings. This is getting to be a habit but is part of the build up to the release of the first part of “The Hobbit”, and I am a bit of a fan.

This fold took me an age (about 6 hours of actual folding) – determined to be accurate, take my time and complete each step as neatly as I could, this strategy paid off through stonkingly complicated twists, crimps and spread-squashes as you coax a square of paper into a possessed horse with a robed rider.

I am particularly proud of the hands/gauntlets – my variation on Jason Ku’s design, I think it looks better. there is so much to see in this model that it is difficult to photograph it and do it justice.

A huge piece of Kraft paper (60cm square) results in a decent sized model (14cm at its tallest) with amazing detail. My only criticism I guess is the flimsiness of the front legs – completely unable to support the bulk of paper above.

I mounted this model on a simple wire armature, so it can stand – he sinisterly looks like he is reaching for something (the one ring, naturally) and I like that the robes look full but are empty.

I masterpiece in design, there were many times I just had to walk away, unable to fathom what the next step meant or how I was going to achieve it. Kraft paper is remarkably forgiving and there was nearly no paper fatigue near the end. Not sure how you could actually fold this model with thicker paper as the centre gets very dense and shaping requires you to wrangle upwards of 20 layers.

I am totally chuffed to have achieved this, my first successful fold after so many failures – one I even had the paper disintegrate in my hands due to fatigue. I found myself having to look forward to how the manoeuvre looks when done to work out some of the ore complex swivels, reverses and open sinks.

As awesome as this model is, this design is NOT a beginners model – the instructions need interpretation as many steps require many new folds to happen at the same time (some without reference).  Indeed I look at my first successful attempt and notice a bunch of things I will do differently next time I fold it.

No idea what I will do with this model, but I am pleased I can now mentally tick this one off in my folders bucket list.

401: Double-Star Flexi-Cube

It took me ages to even understand what this model was:

An ingenious design by David Brill, modular in construction composed of 3 different types of modules, clustered in threes, hinged together, it is a most perplexing construction.

A seemingly plain cube opens up to show a star, which fits wholly within the cube and is removable.

Flexing the cube makes another star, flexing the star makes a plank, stellated plain and other interesting twisted geometries.

This is a keeper – paper tension keeps it in shape generally but it does not strongly lock, so I may resort to cello-tape on the joints so it can be handled without risk of it disintegrating (as it did to me twice).

The geometry is interesting, photographing it seems not to do justice to the shapes but I am glad I finally nutted it out – bravo Mr Brill.