1034: Eric Joisel’s “Harlequin”

A few months bac, in the relative calm of my summer holidays, I began to re-fold “Harlequin” designed by Eric Joisel, after failing to successfully fold it during the “Tribute of Eric Joisel” competition I was part of late last year:

"Harlequin" designed by Eric Joisel

I took my time, learned lots from initially failing, made sectional maquettes to check techniques and really enjoyed the process of folding.

"Harlequin" designed by Eric Joisel in the round
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This model is such a synergy of techniques – I can see influences from so many of Joisel’s other creations (many of which I have folded before). The initial collapse is vaguely humanoid, but the shaping is the making of model. So many details to control. The face and hat are tricksy but I an really happy with the level of detail I managed here – he has a playful but chilled character, smug smile and refined face – the mask is jauntily sitting on his nose also.

The fabric effects to the sleeved and pantaloons are a nightmare – to make them seem to “drape” is really hard I found, but eventually it came together. I pre-creased some quilted effect on the bodice and skirt which I am really happy with, and the collar took me ages to nut out. He is in full stockings (diamond pattern), has goofy shoes, a fly-away in-action wavey cape and open hands – so many bits were there waiting to be shaped. One can only marvel at the genius of the design.

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Tribute to Eric Joisel – Week 4: “Harlequin”

I cannot for one moment pretend that all my folds work out – indeed I have sent LOTS of paper to landfill as twisted wrecks of models i have later mastered.

Ric Monty's CP of Joisel's Harlequin

A single week (with work, life etc) for me was not a challenge I could complete – the Harlequin model is a glorious extension of a “gnome-like” structure, the pre-creasing took me 2 days alone.

My unshaped first-fold of Joisel's Harlequin.

I managed the collapse, fairly cleanly, managed to isolate all the key features (face, hat, bow, cape, arms with ruffles, skirt and puffy-pants legs with diamond stockings. I ran out of time shaping, sadly.

Wet folding requires application of water and/or MC, molding, clamping and waiting for it to dry before moving on – the process is tedious, long winded if you have to go to work, sleep etc as well as shape. A piece like this would typically take at least a week to shape alone, so I am not sure it was a good model choice for a week challenge – that said, a couple of folders managed it – I have no idea how.

I will re-fold this, when I am less time-restricted. I am sad I did not complete the challenge actually – it upset me to think I did not have a week 4 entry. the process of acceptance has kicked in however and I am stoic enough to look back at what I did achieve over the past 4 weeks. I am inordinately proud of my efforts, regardless of what the judges thought.

I reflect on Joisel’s legacy a lot – he passed 10 years ago today, I remember the shock that consumed the origami community at his passing, but celebrate his artistic contribution – he re-defined shaping, “breathing life into paper” like no one else.

If you are interested in the challenge, other entrants and the whole shebang, go here: https://tributoajoisel.wordpress.com/ for the tribute competition home, galleries etc.

1014: Tribute To Eric Joisel – ‘Nude Man #4’

It is a well known fact that Eric Joisel was a sculptor before taking up paper as his medium of choice. Never is it more evident than the figurative human series of nudes he made, of which this is my approximation of #4:

Joisel's Nude man #4

He uses an ingenious grid system, dividing each corner up into 18 radial lines, where they intersect geometry emerges on a square and that geometry provides the landmarks for the base.

Joisel's Nude man #4 views

I had tried 2 different schemes for corner division, failed both times until I realised that, relative to the centre line, the interval is a geometric series that increases the further away you get. In the end I used a CP template to “rough out” the divisions and then with my trusty straight edge, ironed out the anomalies.

Corners of the sheet give you arms and legs, the head is near the top middle and a torturous neck reduction brings the chin down to allow the face to look out. The layers are reminiscent of musculature and indeed, Joisel teased and primped, each model different, few photographed clearly enough to really see what was what.

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1013: Tribute to Eric Joisel, Week 2: “Mermaid#1”

My blog suggests that there are mostl successes with my folds, this is far from the case. I had decided some 5 years back, that I was going to master “Mermaid” by Eric Joisel, and indeed I have tried on a few occasions and failed.

4 tries at Mermaid#1 by Joisel
When at first you do not succeed, try, try and try again.

It turned out that “Mermaid#1”, the less attractive of his collection was the subject of Week 2’s intermediate challenge (intermediate they say!!!?!?! Bahahahahahah.). In my confusion, back when I thought it was “choose ONE of thes models and fold it in 4 weeks” I had actually chosen mermaid, because. I recently learned it was fold 1 new model each week, AND copy the work of the master as close as possible. While I am not entirely sure this is respectful, and while I totally fucked this up with week 1 (I did an INTERPRETATION, not a copy, and scored few points for my best gnome ever which was quite disheartening), I am perservering because I like the challenge – it is good for my head.

mermaid#1 fourth try creasing it

This is the 4th model in this batch of folding. It is not perfect, and I will probably not be keeping it, but it is as close to a copy of the original as I can manage. Realistic human figures are hard, curves, breasts and soft tummys with delicate bellybuttons are even harder.

Joisel's "Mermaid#1", or as close as I can come to copying it
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Tribute to Eric Joisel – Week #1

So this started as a cautionary tale – I saw the a competition, in Spanish, where they were celebrating the art legacy of one of my favourite designers of all time: Eric Joisel. My initial “skimming” of the competition was “pick a level, choose a model from that level’s choices, fold that model” – easy, right?

I chose “Intermediate”, no real idea why, but I did, and was accepted. Just before the comp started, I get an email welcoming me to the competition and detailing Week 1’s challenge … wait!?!? What!?!?!

Joisel Gnome#4 Views

Turns out I signed up to fold ALL of the intermediate models, one a week for the next 4 weeks. I have no idea if I can actually fold some of the models in this category, but am (after the “reorientation”) prepared to give it a crack.

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986: Meta

I love meta – that examination of self-reference is great brain food, and this fold designed by Neelish Kumar fits nicely into that philosophical space:

Neelish Kumar's Origamist Nightmare

Nominally named “Origamist’s Worst Nightmare”, it is a place I have been – being so into a model at the expense of the materials, having it disintegrate in my hands as I work it.

The more observant of you will notice a despairing folder, paper ripped along a much-worked crease. Look closer, the crease pattern is Eric Joisel’s “Dwarf“, a particular favourite that I have ruined many a sheet mastering.

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Year of the Rat

Most cultures have myths and legends, developed over centuries, to explain how things work. The Chinese Zodiac and New Year is at odds with the western Julian calendar, but none the less interesting:

Joisel's Rat

2020 is the Year of the Rat – interestingly my socials are full of mouse diagrams, but for me there are few iconic origami rats, and this is my favourite – designed by Eric Joisel, I just love the character this chap presents.

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The Gardener

People with “green thumbs” are a treasure to behold.Gardiner

As someone with a not-quite-green, more of a dirty yellow thumb I am in awe of people who delight in growing things.

Our College gardener/groundsman John has retired, while I am as jealous as anything, I know he will have a fabulous time. Ever friendly, it has been a pleasure to share a workplace with him. The College will miss his charming style, happy greetings and zeal for gardens.

He retired on the sly, which is the right way to escape our asylum – the exit rituals can be exhausting so I understand he went on term break and retired earlier than first advertised – good on him, I will probably try to do the same.

I made this figurine for him, as a way of saying thanks. I hope i get a chance to give it to him. Enjoy retirement John, may your gardens bloom and be ever greener on the other side of working life.

The Teacher

Luds is taking some leave, we all wish him well. I was approached to see if I could come up with some bent paper as an ooroo gift – this is what I ended up with:teacher

In this shadowbox, we see our favourite “bad santa” clutching a Chemistry book, in front of his beloved Electronic White Board, pen in hand.

This little chap, a Joisel-inspired Dwarf took a while to emerge from the page, but I am happy with this little diorama and I hope it beings a smile to Lud’s face – take care mate.

531: Joisel’s Horse Head

Many beauties reside in Eric Joisel’s folding legacy, most have no hints as to how he achieved them. The “Horse Head” design exists as an obscured crease pattern from his original notes:531JoiselHorseHead

A friend of this blog (Hi Jean-Baptiste!) offered his interpretation of the crease pattern and invited me to try folding it as he was having trouble with the collapse, so I thought why not. I need all the practice I can get on interpreting CPs. Continue reading

528: Joisel’s Pangolin

Few Origami models reach Iconic status, few have the charm and grace of Eric Joisel’s Pangolin. I thought I would have a go at this fold:528Pangolin

Based, in part, on a field of diagonal graduated pleats that are “popped” into scaley plates, shaped simply to suggest tail, head and feet, his folds have a unique life breathed into them. Continue reading

Joisel in Memoriam

On the 10th of October, 2010, the origami world lost a living treasure and master of the art of Origami – Monsieur Eric Joisel.MrDanny

To “breathe life into paper” is something I am inspired to do as a DIRECT reaction and influence of his work. To think more about the art and less about the technique is challenging, but a worthy struggle.

Eric Joisel – your legacy lives on. May all paper folders learn a little from your art, be inspired by your spirit and fold from the heart.

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

456: L’essence d’un escargot

I was exploring a corrugation technique I last used with Eric Joisel’s Bandoneon and stumbled across a sort of plan to fold Joisel’s Snail:

You start with an extraordinarily long (my estimate – 3.25m) and narrow (in my model 9cm) strip of paper, then start folding slanted lines (using a 3:1 gradient) in both directions

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404: Joisel’s Bandonéon

I first noticed this lovely little fold nestled amongst the masterpiece that is Eric Joisel’s Musicians, and decided that i must try to work out how to make it:

Now the “purists” amongst you will recognise this as a “Concertina”, but that is splitting hairs, given a “Bandonéon” is square, this is clearly hexagonal, but I digress.

Presenting a tantalising hand-drawn crease pattern idea on his memorial website, I decided to try and work out a method for this fold.

Unlike the original, my design is based on a 32 x 20 grid, making an extra gather in the bellows section (which is not a bad thing) and a simpler join along the long seam (which, sadly, I still needed to use double-sided tape to close).

The geometry of this model is really nice – the bellows almost fold themselves when the creases are laid in – I experimented with the seam in and thought it looked better with the strappy seams out in the bellows.

fashioning handles at the end happens quite naturally if you have been neat, and folding it without any extra creases is possible if you concentrate, making the presentation fold very tidy indeed.

I have folded many of these, they are lovely and, now I have a handle on the scaling factors and geometry there is a knack to making them that is quite easy to pick up.

On the same hand-drawn crease pattern, there is another that supposedly makes a saxophone – might give that a whirl as I seem to be in a musical instrument frame of mind at the moment. very happy with this one however, and need to move on from it.

401: Spike the Echidna

Ladies and Gentleffolke, may I introduce to you Ms Thelma Tiggywinkle – Eric Joisel’s Adult Echidna: 20120817-163036.jpg

I had folded Eric Joisel’s “Baby Hedgehog” early last year and noticed as part of the instructions that a scaled up version (9 ranks of quills instead of 5, based on 32ths instead of 16ths) would result in a “mother” and he was right – what a mofo of a fold, honestly!

Starting on Friday evening with a 60cm square of brown Kraft paper, I started pre-creasing – dividing up into 32nds vertically and horizontally, then diagonal creasing to create hex-grids which ended up tiny.

I had long been fascinated with the process of forming the quills – crease-crimp/collapse diamonds and then making a zig-zag trough beside one row to raise the next results in lovely paper geometry both on the outside and the underside,

After over an hour each rank of spines, the resultant paper is box-pleated into legs and the ends inside-reverse folded into toes.

The ranks are then teased out to form tail and face – a lovely fold that is soooo very cute although it is punishingly time-consuming.

Very satisfying – folds ONLY, no cuts, no glue, she needs some “wet folding” shaping but she is already very echidna-like. No idea what we will do with her, but for now she is snuffling around our house. Hope you enjoyed the journey as it played out on facebook.

394: Fagus “Scruffy” Poplar

Ladies and gentleffolk, may I introduce to you Master Fagus Poplar, Scruffy to his friends:

this little chap is but 20cm tall, toes to tip of hat and is quite lovely, in the eyes of the folder.

Folded, from memory, trying a new technique for coat, shoulders, hat and arms, I quite like the fact he is waving. My hope is that he will stick around at the Origami exhibition that opens in the Holland Park Library this month. Continue reading

391: Pierre Mâché en Francais

….Puis je vous présenter Monsier Pierre Mâché, my first internationally folded gnome:

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You see, we are currently in Paris, on a vacation that has been in the planning stages for years, and we had an astonishing meal at a local restaurant Les Enfants Perdus, and I noticed they topped their tables with a square of sueded cream colored paper.

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In my best French, I asked pour Le paper sur la table and they gave me a fresh one to fold. The paper was stiff but really strong, so I was able to model this guy a lot more than I usually can, or maybe I am just getting better.

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I like how his posture worked out, he definitely looks French and is gesturing as if to express exasperation that he cannot understand us odd Australians, we get that a lot.

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We will leave him as a gift to our hosts here in Paris, the apartment we have rented from them is wonderful, very well appointed, comfortable and essential to us keeping going each busy day.

Au revoir Paris, our first visit has been magical

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384: Squiffy “Woombye” Larch

Ladies and Gentlefolk, may I introduce young Squiffy Larch, “Woombye” to his friends:

During a mad weekend, we visited Woombye Pub for a fantastic lunch and I noticed they put on their square tables, a beautiful big square of brown paper.

Naturally I put 2 and 2 together and got 7, and decided it needed to be folded into a gnome, and Squiffy was born.

The paper is amazing, takes folds well, is tough and the resultant gnome is the largest I have folded so far.

Quite happy with the face, he has a lovely grin amongst a full beard, noble nose and a quaint, slightly sozzled look in his eyes. His hands were crying out for something drink-related so I invented a beer stein and all was good.

Will organise to send Squiffy to Woombye – he belongs in a bar. He is very happy (that will be the pint he is working on) to be joining the ranks of the “other” seven dwarfs.

382: Self Made Man – Revisited

I was determined to test whether my first fold of this nightmarish, but charming, fold was merely a fluke or not, so I set about folding it from a 3×5 cut from an A1 sheet.

The geometry for this model is amazing, and the challenge is to only put in the folds that are necessary to achieve the collapse – an interesting challenge indeed as construction lines, preliminary constructions and fold-flow ons are difficult to control with such large format paper.

I love the result, given this paper was thinner than the original #365 fold, the features and structure are much more considered and I think he has a lot more character in his face and pose.

This is one of my favourite folds from last year, and now I know it was not a fluke, I can fold it with confidence when I need to.

He is now on proud (temporary) display in the Library, with a suitable verse before him.