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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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


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.

377: Balthazaar Quercus

So, it emerges that Dweezil has a little brother. Ladies and Gentleffolk, if I may introduce Master Balthazaar Quercus, aged 6¾:

I was asked to liberate this cute little chap from the flat sheet of lithography paper he was trapped in as a parting gift for a colleague. Aware this may create precedent, this is my first COMMISSIONED dwarf (my charities will be well pleased with the extra injection of funds).

I took what I had learned from wrangling Dweez’ and refined the model – this is free standing, on a base (a bit of wood covered also in litho paper offcuts – like the one I used for Mortimer). I liked the sitting on a stack of books idea, so pierced a stack of three with some structural wire that goes into a hole in the base and goes up Balthy’s bottom, carries on up his back and across his shoulders to support him.

The result is charming – I think I nailed the facial expression (although how a 6¾ year old dward has such a full beard is something only another dwarf could answer) and am getting quite good at the whole pointed, curley shoes thing.

There seems a demand for dwarves, they are all different indeed and this one was folded entirely by memory (quite proud of that, given how unreliable my memory is). If YOU want one, have your people call my people, we can agree on the finances (charity days are numbered, once ALL the 365 origami debt is cleared then I guess the funds should be redirected to the paper wrangler).

376: Langton Willow III

Ladies and Gentleffolk, if I may be so bold as to introduce to you Mr Langton Willow III:

…so I bought a lovely book about an Origamist I worship, Eric Joisel, and was scanning pages prior to an in-depth read and came accross what seemed like an impossibility – a dwarf in a box. There were some photos of a couple of versions of the finished model and some sketches of crease patterns that might have been used to make it and nothing else …

So I decided to give it a whirl. The crease patterns gave no clues on what were mountain and valley folds (fairly important if you are going to make the model) so I sort of “guessed” most, and added a bunch of lines that would make the folding easier later, so I thought. I chose a large format paper – 1.2m x 0.6m, and in brown paper – thank goodness as even laying in the creases (a 2.5 hour job) put massive strain on a number of key points.

When it came to the collapse I must admit to being nervous – odd in retrospect but I had pre-announced to the social notwerks that I was attempting it and that was a mistake because psychologically that meant I could not fail in my attempt.

Studying the illustrations carefully, it became clear that when Joisel had his first try, there were odd gusset pleats on the OUTSIDE of the box that the dwarf sits in, I figured with some deft folding I could remove them and tuck that paper inside the box.

I must admit to grinning ear to ear when I worked out how I could do that tidily. This model was a fascinating exercise in not rushing to set a crease. After getting up, making another cup of tea, doing something else, coming back, leaving it a while then returning to it etc. I found a tidy method of tucking away what seemed like acres of paper inside the box to leave … well .. the box.

Conceptually we have split a dwarf – the head/arms and the legs/feet are split apart and the paper for a box is inserted between – the only difficult is ensuring a box-like remnant that lets you also tuck the dwarf-bits inside.

Oddly, the proportions of the dwarf necessitate lanky legs and a gaunt head, but that is in-keeping with the overall feeling of the model. It is like the dwarf is trying to get out of the box – what he was doing in there in the first place is a mystery, but there you go.

I have to admit to being very proud of achieving this model – the result is delightful, there is an astonishing amount of paper tucked away to reveal a lanky dwarf with real character.  I have no idea what I will do with this chap – it was originally going to be something I tried for shits and giggles, fully expecting to fail but the grinning has not stopped. I have “cheated” by using a few paper clips to keep the box corners together but I think Joisel would forgive me that.

374 Dweezil Quercus

I have pleasure in introducing to you Master Dweezil Allegory Quercus Esq, or Daq to his friends:

Dweezil loves to read, and can often be found with his nose in a book, idling the day away. Fond of mysteries, amazing adventures, current affairs and other dwarfish literature, subscriber to “Rolling Stonework”, “Wood Working Monthly” and “PlayDwarf” (but only for the articles), he is very well read.

My attempt at an original Joisel Gnome, using the crease pattern from my newly purchased Joisel treasury book, I wanted this little chap to appear bookish, nerdy and absorbed. I folded 4 hard cover books – it seemed natural to have him perched atop a stack of books.

I fashioned a set of glasses, because all that reading underground, with poor lighting would play merry hell to even the keenest of dwarf eyes. He also has cutie curly toed shoes, a necessary fashion accessory for the dwarf about town.

In the end, I like this little chap a lot, he seems full of character and life. I think he might be a worthy addition to the School Library for their year of reading theme because it clearly shows that it is not just humans that like a good tale. I crowd-sourced the name – Quercus is the genus of most OAK trees, a continuing theme and “Allegory” because it is cool – thx Lindy and Julie for your help.

I vodcasted some of his genesis on Kondoot, if you are interested.

Dweezil will live, strangely enough, in the School Library, at least for a while. Our RE Department had a timber lantern they were throwing out so I purloined it as a suitable dwarf-enclosure and now have him ensconced within. I fashioned labels that make him look like a preserved museum specimen, and have placed “Warning, do not feed the dwarf” labels on the outside to warn the young people who are likely to try and mess with him.

All in all, a nice character study – it is interesting because, although his base fold was similar to all the other dwarves I have folded, his personality became apparent as I folded him – as though the paper knew how it wanted to end up and I merely channelled it. I do not understand that process but am constantly delighted by it.

371: Mortimer Greenoak

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Master Mortimer Greenoak Esq. A young but not inexperienced forest dwarf who has a particular talent with timber:

This lovely fellow is destined for greater things but I am thrilled with him, my second Eric Joisel-inspired dwarf.

It was hot, I needed to get out of the house for a couple of hours so took a large square of paper and the ourPAD to out local library and sat, and folded. Interestingly I also conversed with complete strangers who gathered to watch the paper mangling – they were interested and I was relaxed enough to explain what I was attempting.

In the end, I made Morty slimmer and so made him look younger, and played around with the face a bit – another step closer to mastering the face, will keep at it. he is quite tidy apart from his beaten up face – I ended up modelling a pendulous nose and pushed out his cheekbones to suggest eyes under the brim of his hat. Quite happy with the beard and mouth though.

His posture called for a walking stick, and I envisaged a base that would allow him to be displayed easily. The name? It just seemed to work, and references his eventual owner in interesting ways.

He is not free-standing, I do not know how to make them so (the ankles and feat are so thin that they defy attempts to support the weight above. All versions of this model I have seen are plastered with methyl cellulose (apparently the Origamist’s goop of choice) but I think that is cheating a little.

Determined to solve the display issue, I cut a rectangle of timber (shock, horror, I picked up a SAW), covered it with the same paper he was made from (the sheet off-cut actually), drilled a small hole nearly all the way through and then made a wire brace that fits inside him neatly and exits down one leg, so he is pose-able now. I added a bent paper clip amongst the folds of his elbow to keep it bent – it kept wanting to straighten because of the thickness of layers there – all acceptable cheats I think for the longevity of the model.

365: Turn a New Leaf

Our lives are a lot like a blank sheet of paper – WE decide when to put creases, who adds folds, how permanent they are and we are constantly given a fresh sheet to start over:

This is my interpretation of Eric Joisel’s “Self-Made Man”, a little origami man that is folding himself and I am stoked that this worked, given how little information I had to go on and the scale of the materials.

I started with a 78x130cm rectangle (3:5 for those trying to do the maths) and then transferred a crease pattern (the only clue I had as to how to actually achieve this model) on to the sheet.

The “collapse” was an exercise in self control really as the paper was really brittle and there were some complicated accordion pleats that seemed to turn in on themselves. The aim was to leave a square of paper (26x26cm) unfolded and build the little man (arms, legs, head) to seemingly appear from behind this sheet.

In the end, the layers were thick, it weighs a ton but more importantly he has loads of personality and is a fitting end to my 365 Origami Challenge.

In retrospect, this is an amazing fold and with some careful planning, patience and ample cups of tea I am so very proud to have folded it. Hope you like him too.

This little fellow has a special purpose, so will not be auctioned, sorry.

340: Thorin Oakenstaff

May I most humbly introduce to you, Thorin Oakenstaff Esq, Dwarf, gentleman, most of the time:

I am so pleased this worked, even better than I had imagined. I found a hand-drawn crease pattern by the late, great Eric Joisel – I had been hankering after his dwarves you see and wondered how the heck you could fold something like that.

Well, the crease pattern sort of made sense, and I did a rough test fold on an A4 square only to realise it was waaaay too small to model and copy paper was way too brittle, so thought I would upscale it on brown paper. I cut a 56cm square from plain brown paper and began.

After an hour of pre-creasing, and a collapse from hell, you get a base that has enough bits to model into a human like critter with a tall hat – gnome, dwarf, call him what you like there is no escaping the fact that this is bloody amazing.

I started shaking with excitement about an hour before finishing, realising it was in fact going to work after all (after walking away from the collapse twice) and must say he is lovely – there is character in his face, poise in his posture and a spring in his step.

I feel honoured to have folded something inspired by a drawing done by Joisel – I would argue the worlds greatest character folder – I can see me trying this one again, now I know what goes where – each time you fold it there would be sufficient variables to ensure you never duplicate the little guy – so neat.

As an after thought I decided he needed a walking stick, and then decided he also needed a name – “Thorin” from a LOTR dwarf and “Oakenstaff” because that is what I tried to make him as a walking stick. I hope you like him (anyone actually reading that is) – I think he is amazing.

283: Le Coq De Joisel

It is a year since Eric Joisel passed away in Paris. The origami community still mourns his passing:

This proud and “cocky” rooster is a Joisel masterpiece, I feel privileged to fold it. I had a sheet of A2 architectural drawing paper so made a square from it (nearly 1m x 1m) and folded the rooster from that – it was a tough fold to be honest as so much paper is gathered into the body. So tough a fold in fact that the paper failed on both legs and neck – I will fold this again with more resilient paper I think.

I see so much potential in this model – given thinner, larger paper I can see you could model wing feathers, eyes and more – as it is it has a lovely tail, beautiful chicken feet (including spurs), a glorious comb and an up-turned beak mid “cock-a-doodle-doo!).

You too can have a go at this model here, and learn a little more about the life and times of Eric Joisel here. Few would argue that Joisel was the greatest character folder the world has yet seen. I hope his family and friends take solace in the fact that he added so much beauty to the world over so many years. RIP Eric Joisel.