1090: Kusudama Ball

Stumbling through my socials, I noticed a video tutorial of a reverse-engineered model originally designed by Ekaterina Lukasheva and knew I needed to try it:

kusudama ball

This 30 unit modular ball is a lovely bit of engineering, you make a bow-tie shaped unit and then, via a series of really positive locked tabs in pockets you form groups of 3 units that swirl around 5-unit shaped holes.

I chose Tuttle indigo dye duo paper and split each sheet into 4 squares, meaning the units were small but manageable. Construction was fairly easy – the units lock together fairly well but during construction the whole structure is really floppy. It is not until you have a near sphere that the paper tension kicks in and stabilises the shape – the final unit pulls the sphere round.

kusudama units

The Tuttle paper was a little thin, structure-wise, but folding this from thicker paper would begin to compromise the accuracy of the folding, making it less spherical – an interesting balancing act.

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1069: Starlight Kusudama

Each year for the last 10 or so, as part of the “getting to know you” phase of a new year with my pastoral care group, we fold a kusudama together:

Starlight kusudama construction

The idea is simple, invite kids to sit, learn how to fold a module, then teach it to another mate … resulting in enough modules to assemble a megastructure.

Starlight Kusudama finished

This year I chose a 30 module designed by Vladimir Frolov, a Russian designer, a lovely starry ball.

The metaphor is really simple: “The WHOLE is greater than the SUM OF IT’S PARTS”

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1067: Watermelon Colours

So to avoid doing the growing list of things I should be doing, I decided on some procrastigami:

Xander Perrott's Laveau

One of the many “I must fold these” models from Xander Perrott’s forthcoming books, this is “Laveau”, a lovely 30 unit spikey flower ball that makes good use of duo paper.

Each unit, based on a 1:root(3) rectangle, folded from Tuttle Vibrant duo, I chose limey/crimson paper and began folding – I always love the almost meditative state you enter when unit folding on a production line – much the same as gridding before box pleating and tessellations.

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Test Folding

Over the last couple of weeks I have been granted the privilege of test-folding the models from Xander Perrott’s new Kusudama book “Angular Elegance”:

Models 1-20 of 22 - 3-join
the 3-join of models 1-20

I bought Xander’s first book “Folded Forms”a treasure trove of delicate spikey balls. I offered my services as a test folder – to my delight and amazement he said yes.

Test folding is different to model folding, the brief is to see how easy to follow the diagrams are, how reproducible the forms are and what sense the written instructions make.

As all the models in this book are unit-based, I folded 3 or 4 of the modules (rather than the entire 30+) to check the 2 types of joins and how regular the construction methods can become. There is a wonderful mix and variety of spikey balls in this new (as yet unpublished) collection, and the skill levels to complete them range from fairly easy to nearly impossible – which is good, challenges abound for all levels of folder competence.

Unit and join testing – 3+5joints (“Star Virus” kusudama)

Xander commonly uses some funky paper ratios in his base-papers. Commonly 1:root(3), but this collection uses 2:root(3) and more exotically 6:5root(3). The paper ratio allows construction of accurate angles (many based of multiples of 60 degrees), and the book demonstrates nicely how to cut sheets of this ratio from more conventional sized paper.

Each kusudama has it’s own quirks, tricks and stress points, all require accuracy and nice paper (most showcase duo coloured paper in flamboyant and wondrous ways).

I have not folded a book “cover to cover” since I was a kid (who only owned a only couple of origami books) – it was an intense but hopefully useful journey as I made notes about the instruction set, unit folding and assembly process, subsequently passing this on to Xander for his consideration.

As I approach retirement age, I can see myself doing more in the meta origami world, having already established myself as an origami book editor and test folder – having time to do this without having to shoe-horn it inbetween school commitments is a luxury I am looking forward to.

947: Parquetry Ball

Procrastination aside, folding units for a new kusadama is always an adventure. This “parquetry” ball looks like it is made from strips of machined timbers. I decided on 3 colours, reasoning that I should be able to evenly spread the edges around the ball:

parquetry ball

Due to the interconnections, the plan nearly worked, but the ball is lovely none the less. I really like the locking mechanism – the resultant ball is rigid and self-supporting.

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