572: (22/365) Origami On The Brain

Those who know me realise I am a little obsessed with paper folding, some would say to excess. The truth of the matter is I am constantly amazed what you can coax a flat sheet to do. I think I missed my calling as a materials engineer:

I like models that I can visualise, as I am folding. Equally, I am fascinating when there is a tangle and then, out of the mess, something wonderful emerges. Continue reading

452: Smile!

In the olden days children, photographs were taken with a specialised piece of equipment, usually by a professional, using FILM:

In those days, you posed the shot, measured light levels, pulled focus and ensured the picture was worth taking before you wasted the plate – photography was expensive and much more of a science (some would also argue much moe of an art).

In the modern idiom, nearly every thing has a squillion megapixel camera, you point, shoot 60 frames, pick the least worst, apply a filter and upload it on Instagram and have your “friends” praise your artistry. Continue reading

414: Sopwith Camel

I have been asked many times by well-meaning people whether I can make paper air planes:

The honest answer is “sort of” – I love fantastically complicated and detailed Origami models of actual planes, but cannot make one that can fly for shit.

This little beauty was a right bastard of a fold but closely resembles, at least in intent, the Sopwith Camel – a famous dogfighter in WWI. A fantastically detailed little model with propellor, machine gun, pilot, landing deat abd a lovely set of supported twin-wings.

Designed ingeniously by Jose Maria Chaquet from a bird-base within a bird-base, I mis-judged how dense the paper would become and started with too smaller a square I think – 40cm was not big enough, but still, battled on with the Kraft paper and think the end result is pretty nice for a first fold.

If I were to fold this again, I think 50-60cm would make the final modelling easier. As the fuselage is so dense I had to “cheat” and use some small bits of double-sided tape to hold it together and stop it unfolding itself in the humidity but I will not tell anyone if you do not.

357: Get Folked

‘Tis the season when thoughts of old hippies (and new-age trendies) shift to prepping for the Woodford Folk Festival:

I am old enough (and formally a resident) to remember when this gathering was held at Maleny, and how the locals hated this time of year because of the huge influx of afore-mentioned hippy-hopefuls.

Folk guitar is one of my pet hates – I fantasise about “tuning” a folk guitarist’s acoustic guitar with an AXE. I am not ashamed of this viewpoint. Lord knows it was difficult enough to cope with whilst stoned and off your tits on ‘shrooms. Whining, newage plucking and tie-die are the bane of a modern existence – there, I said it!.

This is Robert Lang’s “strumming guitarist” folded from his brilliant “Origami in Action” book. There is much to like about this ingenious model, including a body AND guitar from one square, uncut.

It is an ACTION model – in that it is specially designed to MOVE – you grab the legs, and jiggle the head in and out and he strums the guitar entusiastically – very neat.

I would like to say the instructions were flawless – I am convinced there are 3 errors, having unfolded, re-folded and swore a lot at a couple of junctures. Still, in the end I improvised and it worked fine.

354: Should have bought a Squirrel

One of my wife’s favourite movies is a comedy called “Rat Race”, the title of today’s model is one of the “morals” of that cautionary tale:

Akira Yoshizawa is credited as being the father of artistic origami – he also invented the diagramming language we all follow now.

This is his squirrel – a lovely 2-part model that uses relatively few folds to reveal the squirrel-nicity of paper beautifully.

There is much to like about this model – lovely face and ears, nice posture and a bushy tail. I also like that most of the folds used judgement rather than landmarks – that way a little of the character of the folder is intrinsically captured in the model making no 2 folds identical.

An ingenious system of locking the 2 parts together is employed – the rear half has pokey-outey parts that are re-folded into the shoulder folds of the front half – nice work Yoshizawa Sensei.

348: T-Rex Skeleton

This is nuts, seriously NUTS. I started this model 2 weeks before exam block, and have been chipping away at it ever since:

This monolithic modular is Yoshino’s T-Rex Skeleton and I for one am totally impressed with the attention to design detail here. Firstly the overall proportions are correct – no mean feat as it is comprised of 21 A3-cut squares, each piece designed to slot together, each piece correct in relation to the others – wow.

If you carefully consider – the head is 2 pieces (top of skull and jaw), neck (snarly pleated sculpture) is 2 pieces, each arm/shoulder blade assembly is 1 piece, then the rib cage – 6 varying size/curvature ribs (1 piece each), pelvis (2 pieces), lovely long legs, bastard of a tail (5 segments, each took over an hour in itself).

I am really pleased with the result, and will probably work out a wire armature to run along the spine so it will stand. The school Science Department have expressed interest in displaying this beastie as I certainly have no where big enough – tail to nose it is over a metre long and nearly as high.

This has taken an age to fold – each piece was a complex model in itself and the instructions were only in Japanese – no useful annotations and annoyingly a different symbolism than is conventional to describe the steps – grrrr. I had to ask the Japanese Department to see if there were even any clues as to the suggested paper size of whether it was stated if the paper all had to be the same size – in the end I GUESSED it probably was.

Still, it worked, and wow, no I mean WOW – this guy is amazing.

314: Snail on a Leaf

Slow and steady wins the race, in theory at least:

This is Nicholas Terry’s “Snail on a Leaf”, a lovely model that from one sheet rends a quite shapely snail, foot, shell and feelers, and a veined leaf – neat.

Busy day, bit of a rush, you get that sometimes. I like this as a first fold, learnt something about the model along the way so if I should fold it again, the result would be smoother and a little neater I think.

312: Gerboa

Now in arid areas of Australia life is hard. Some animals never drink, some come out an night, some live underground – the gerboa does all these things and more:

Sometimes called the “Kangaroo rat” because of its rather splendid tail and hoppy back legs, it has always fascinated me.

When I saw this model I knew I would have to try it – copy paper, to be honest, is a terrible media for this but I soldiered on and am actually very happy with this as a first fold.

An ingenious use of the bird base, I will fold this again – it is poseable, has lots of character and the most lovely feet and tail – very clever design.

263: Enterprise (Micro Machine)

Those who know me know that I am a bit of a trekker, always on the lookout for Star Trek related stuff:

When I saw this simple model I knew I would give it a go some day. Tonight my mate Mike and I watch some retro Trek (Original Series) and I thought it opportune to roll out the micromachine version – not sure if you remember the concept – there was a sort of “matchbox” to that was tiny versions of other things – this looks a lot like the micro machine version of the enterprise.

At this scale it was very fiddly indeed – tiny little folds in a very dense mid-section, but it figuratively represents the model so I am happy enough with it. If I were to fold it again I wold start with a much bigger sheet of paper.

Cute saucer-section, nacelles in more or less the right place, I even fashioned a deflector dish in the right place – cute if torturous.

Space, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the starship Enterprise …