1117: Mod on a Moped

When you talk of “box pleating”, the young kids in the origami design sphere seem to think they invented it. I was fishing around on the web, for origami-related things as you do, and stumbled across an astonishing scanned page from Neal Elias’ notebook from 1968 that features box pleating:

This is Neal’s “Boy on a motor scooter” – an amazing proto-design from 1968!!!!! (this is all there is, you have to fill in the gaps – it was his personal notebook, the diagrams were all HE needed to fold the model) but what an historical gem of a design. It is doubly interesting because it was designed 3 years before I began my journey in origami as a wide-eyed, clueless 11 year old.

Further research suggests this page was “ripped” from a BOS Publication Booklet 35 (still in print?) called “Neal Elias Miscellaneous Folds – II “, edited by Dave Venables. I have purchased the previous Neal Elias volume but was unaware this treasure exists – it has prototypes of some very famous and completely revolutionary designs indeed (like “The Last Waltz”).

Back in the “early” days of western origami, Elias was a pioneer, realising that by gridding a sheet of paper, then using gridlines and 45 degree connectors you could pleat astonishingly complex structures that could then be shaped into complex figurative models. As a kid, the few models I had access to from him were like crack to me. I mastered the “Elias stretch” (these days I think they call it a ‘pythagorean stretch’) and “Elias base”, making skiers and knights in armor, all from squares.

Many of his designs use odd shaped paper – this model uses an 8×22 grid, and the colour change base is particularly wonderful, leaving all the bits of a person in one colour and a lovely long pleat bundle of alternate colour emerging from him. I can see so much potential of all sorts of things here.

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1098: Dumb and Dumber

I love a clever conceptual fold, and “Emptyhead” designed by Boice Wong (origamibyboice) is a clever example of art designed to make you think:

The first of these models – “Emptyhead I” is a lovely character that has an empty box sitting on his shoulders for a head. This model, uses a variation of the original CP (crease pattern), and represents his dumber brother completely detaching his head from his shoulders.

The original, as folded by Boice, has a solid cube for a head, but I Macgyvered a scheme to make it an open 2x2x2 cube instead, so he is clearly related to his more sensible brother.

From a 32 grid, this model cleverly presents shoes, cuffed pants, dress shirt, tie, collar, overcoat with lapels, 1 regular arm and one extra long arm, part of which becomes the box head. Such a neat design, the paper cleans itself up and provides wraps to make the seams tidy on the arms also. All this with no cuts, folds only. I did resort to using a few white glue spots to keep seams and layers in place, but tried to keep it as au-naturel as it was possible while being able to pose him for archival purposes.

I must admit to obsessing about this version, having solved the CP for the first version fairly quickly (which really surprised me if I am honest). I just assumed this version would let me make the free box head, but as I discovered, turning the long pleated tube into an open-ended box, when there was so little paper was a major issue.

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1095: A Wing and a Prayer

Having just treated my first 2 bits of Wenzhou paper, I was itching to fold something (and running out of time to do so). I decided on a Praying Mantis, designed by Jo Nakashima model that I have not yet folded:

Jo Nakashima's Praying Mantis

Based on a 40 grid, using fairly standard box-pleating tricks, this model is a lot of fun to fold. Jo helpfully provides diagrams that detail how to efficiently and accurately lay in the crease pattern (check it out here) and in doing so I learned a LOT about treated wenzhou: It is deliciously thin, crisp and really strong (it allowed me to bugger up a collapse 2 times before getting it right, without paper fatigue). One thing I did not expect was it’s relatively poor reversibility – ie. you fold in one direction and then turn it accurately inside out. I was expecting it to be easier to reverse.

Jo Nakashima's Praying Mantis Views

Instead of “parachuting” (apparently a CP solve no no), I used the central axis and formed the head, thorax and as a consequence formed the front 2 pairs of legs. The abdomen collapse is fascinating and bends back under the wings making it really tidy all round.

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1093: “An Origami Journey”

Avid noticers of this blog will realise that, since 2011, I have been rapidly expanding my abilities as a folder. Like most people, my first ever origami experience (apart from largely unsuccessful paper planes) was an origami crane (Tsuru) – taught to me as a boy of 11 yrs by a Japanese exchange student. A few years back I completed my task of learning how to fold Satoshi Kamiya’s “Ryujin 3.5”. This fold is not unrelated to both events:

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey"

Crane to complete Eastern Dragon is quite a journey, learning all sorts of new techniques and refining skills along the way and this fold celebrates that very journey. Originally designed and folded by Brandon Wong (@ThePlantPsychologist) – I first saw his fold on Instagram, and then photos of it on OrigamiDan (a discord server I am a member of) and vowed, one day, to fold it.

Brandon very kindly published the Crease Pattern along with photos of his fold, and right now I am rapidly learning to solve crease patterns so the perfect storm emerged after retiring I have time to tackle more ambitious folds.

Brandon Wong's "An Origami Journey" 360 view

After gridding the 90cm square, I set about laying in the exacting additional creases needed, including a puzzling pythagorean hinge line and some baffling level-shifters. Collapsing was a …. process. Apparently I “parachuted” the model – starting at the edges and working towards a bulging centre is termed parachuting (which is something I must address) until it more or less sat flat. After checking in with Brandon (isn’t the internet amazing) he suggested a fix for the only collapse kludge I had on his right shoulder.

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895: (345/365) Tightrope

Life is a delicate balance, kind of like being on a tightrope way above the ground in the bigtop. Balance is important, lots of things effect balance:

Work, life, play, people, things that all take their toll on our balance, and we all struggle to walk the line sometimes, tipping this way and that as various forces pull at us. Continue reading