598: (48/360) Neal Elias’ “Rocking Horse”

This model is testament to the design genius of Neal Elias:

Taking the bird base, and a colour change, we fashion a jockey (with the cutest little cap) atop a rocking horse. I love the detail here and will probably fold this again, only with a slightly bigger bit of paper.  Continue reading

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 …

243: Cessna Plane

I have had this model, described via hand-drawn diagrams for ages and thought it a good one to finish the month with:

This is a tidy little plane, named Cessna after the style of modern single engine aircraft it is modeled on. I am not, however, sure who the designer is – can anyone enlighten me?

A clever use of the bird base with some ingenious accordion pleating to liberate the wings and some interesting pucker pleating to form tail and propeller, there is some very dense folding to shape the fusilage and a cute domed cover for the cockpit, even some vestigial landing gear underneath.

Happy with this as a first fold, can see myself trying to refine it so it is tidier – am sure I could tease some wheels and maybe master the propeller a little better in subsequent folds.

232: Face-hugger

My second favorite sci-fi film of all time (Alien) brought new forms of terror to the screen:

In a well tried formula, a nasty makes itself on board a spaceship firmly clamped to the face of an inquisitive explorer (John Hurt), implanting an egg in the host’s tummy before scaring everyone and dropping dead. The newly hatched nasty then systematically, and with great suspense, eats everyone – you get that. This prototype xenomorph is all the more terifying because, based on Geiger illustrations, organically modelled after a sinister hand.

I like that there was always a life-cycle implicit in the Alien films, and that there was an innate social order amongst the xenmporphs also.

This model was a little trickey to fold – I had to nurse the copy paper as at many junctures it looked like it would disintegrate – I managed the fold without any paper fatigue I am proud to say and it is a worthy proto alien to compliment the adult I folded earlier in the year

Insectoid, reptilian, with gripsey fingers for walking, prehensile tail to wrap around the neck of the victim, off lung sacks for gas exchange, a well thought out model indeed (even if the instruction annotations were bewildering – thankfully I am confident enough to improvise when I cannot make head nor tail of what is supposed to go where)..

223: Yoshizawa’s Monkey

I like a figurative compound model, and when it is designed by a master like Akira Yoshizawa then it feels like a privilege to fold it:

This is one of his monkeys, in two pieces – I love the pose, the simple but expressive face, posture and all – very clever.

Made with 2 bird bases, then each part diverging in method yet strangely symmetric, coalescing into a top and tail that then slots together.

This is a lot like the more complex “swivel monkey” which I will torture myself with later, for my first fold I am happy with this result. Taken from “Creative Origami”, a masterwork entirely in Japanese, most models have no landmarks, you fold them by eye, making each fold unique and allowing the folder to add their own character – nice.

216: I’m A Little Teapot

I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up then I shout, “tip me over pour me out”:

It is a well known fact that I am seriously into TEA, so it is natural to make a teapot, when I saw this model I knew I had to make it.

A clever, simple use of a bird-base, the shape is variable (many judgement calls effect the final shape) and the handle is a little free-form but I like it – hope you do too.

180: Rocking Horse

Now I have been a customer of Rocking Horse records in Brizvegus for as long as I can remember – they stock an important mix of local releases, electronica, avant-garde, metal, obscure and dance music ephemera that appeals to me.

They are in trouble – difficult to compete with torrents and copyright theft (I know many young people who have never purchased music ever, but have iPods full of the stuff). I decided to visit today, purchase a bit but sadly everything is on sale – not a good sign. Today’s model is a rocking horse:

This little model actually rocks also, very tidy (if torture to get all the paper inside the body and leave the rockers largely fold free so they, well, rock…

I like the body proportions – very horsey – and the weight distribution is also good – very well designed model by Ronald Koh (the same guy who designed the King Cobra)

Precision was important here, and a little luck – many of the folds were judgment calls, no landmarks are trickey if you have not folded a model before and do not know what ends up where.

Happy with my first fold, fingers crossed that a good record store can survive – brissie would not be the same with out it.

153: Shiri’s Snail

Now I stumbled across this recipe for a snail, only problem was all the instructions were in Thai:

Quite by coincidence, we are having home-cooked Thai tonight (I make a mean beef and basil) but NOT cooked with snails

So I gave it a whirl – in the end I had to work from the way diagrams looked, think I nailed it, difficult to tell – this snail has a lovely shell, head/feelers and foot – quite my favorite mollusc so far
I really like how the shell becomes 3d, with some tweaking and some textured paper this would be really beautiful (well, as beautiful as a snail can be at least)

149: The Black Pearl in a Bottle

…so my Wife and I went to see the fourth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” (admitting to be fans) and discovered Capt’n Jack’s beloved “Black Pearl” had been imprisoned in a bottle by Blackbeard (amongst other piratical stereotypes trotted out this adventure):

So I got to thinking about ships, and found a lovely “fully rigged ship” by Patricia Crawford, in the book “Origami – Step by Step”

I had previously made a bottle as designed by David Brill so put the two together and got a satisfying rendition of the classic “ship in a bottle”, which counts as my ONE model today, given the bottle has previously been folded, and the ship stand (Designed by Fred Rhom) do not count (cut me a little slack here).

I learned a LOT folding this thing – scale matters (had to scale the bottle to fit the model AFTER it was finished), cellophane (which the bottle is made out of) does NOT like being cut straight nor folded, nor does it intend to ever stay folded (I resorted to anchoring it in place with sticky tape – so sue me) and finally how jolly hard it is to photograph something INSIDE a bottle made of cellophane.

Still, I think the Black Pearl may well survive to sail another day, the scene after the credits (that few of us theater patrons hung around for) would indicate the adventure continues.

145: An Electric Monk

High on a rocky promontory sat an Electric Monk on a bored horse. From under its rough woven cowl the Monk gazed unblinkingly down into another valley …

And so begins one of my favorite books of all time “Dirk gently’s Hollistic Detective Agency” by Douglas Adams.

Today we remember DNA, and carry a TOWEL in his honour – may he rest in peace.

Whlst i could not find a “towel” origami (interestingly there IS a branch of origami that deals with folding towels for guest beds into exotic shapes) I thought I would go with the Monk – I decided against the bored horse – am convinced that this monk is more than willing to believe anythig it is programmed to believe in, as a service to it’s master … if you haven’t read the book – do so, it is fab!

122: Geiger Xenomorph (alien)

I loved Ridley Scott’s “Alien” – so dark, terrifying and it introduced a much reprised xenomorph originally designed by H.R. Geiger.

When I first saw the instructions for a paper xenomorph (in Spanish) I filed them away in the “yeah, prolly not” folder.

Conventionally the diagram should have symbols to reinforce what is happening (sometimes with words also, except these were in Spanish). First exception to the rule was a TURN OVER with no corresponding flip symbol!!! Grrrr. Following my realisation that I was folding the wrong side, I tried again only to be baffled by “Quedan la dos solapas mirando hacia la derecha” describing a collapse, followed by “Introducir las solapas dentro de los bolsillos” to describe a pocket tuck … poor paper (and finger tips) by this stage. Thank you Google translate.
Now I admit I broke a rule here – I got part way towards collapsing the base and realised I missed an instruction to open some side flaps so did all the nasty folding over the top of some snarly pre-folding instead of on the yet-unfolded side. I discovered this when i opened up the model expecting to find pre-creases only to find none – oops. I was determined to complete this model, so I started again – so sue me.

This is AMAZING – appendages, tail (ouch, that was painful to fold at this scale) and I re-worked the head to be a little 3d and characteristically domed – very pleased with this model. For an A3-cut square to reduce to a model barely 7cm tall, there is a LOT of paper torture, thank goodness for fingernails – I am amazed the copy paper did not simply disintegrate (it would have had I used the model I folded in error first).

For all you Alien fans out there, this one is for you (in commemoration of the theft of a classic line in the movie “Paul” I saw last night – “get away from her you bitch!” – lol.

114: Hatching Chick

This model is cute – designed by Peter Engel, it is an egg with a chick inside, and is an action model (in that it moves):

The chick’s head peers out of the cracked egg, beak ready to cheep:

This is an easter-inspired fold that is not too difficult – would work well in 2 colour paper as the chick and the egg end up being different colours if folded correctly.

You can try this for yourself – a video of the fold, apparently authorised by the designer is available here.

On a related note, I am finding it really difficult to decide if resources I find on the net are authorised, or pirate copies of copyrighted works that appear in pay-for publications. I am TRYING to do the right thing here but the interweb is not helping as so many legit resources turn out to be copyright theft. Indeed, I am beginning to wonder if publishing my “development” shots might also be breaching copyright laws – I will seek advice from the British Origami Society on this one I think.