Double Dragon – Paper Wedding Anniversary

When asked by a friend of my son’s if were possible to fold something to celebrate their fist wedding anniversary, which coincidentally is the “Paper” anniversary, I thought why not:DoubleDragon

The couple are dragon fans, so it seemed obvious to include something from that world. I looked around for something that would present in a shadow box, and dismissing immediately the suggestion that “a ryujun would be nice”, I settled on a pair of Darkness Dragon IIs, designed by Tadashi Mori. Continue reading

Double Tissue

Flushed with the success of MC on Ricepaper, I decided to try “Double Tissue” – a fine crisp strong medium that many origamists rave over.

I found some bargain animal-print tissue whilst looking on a whim in a “Crazy Clarks” wrapping section ($1.50 for 10 sheets 50x70cm), then went to the newsagent and purchased a packet of “Hallmark” brand tissue ($2 for 3 sheets 50x70cm) – both ends of the tissue paper spectrum I guessed. Continue reading

Hideo Komatsu’s Owl

You find wisdom and counsel is the most unexpected of places, people can be wise beyond their years and offer you more support and encourage than they realise.

I was asked to fold an owl, simultaneously, for two completely different purposes. (1) A good mate wanted to give an Owl to someone who had helped him out with some well chosen words of wisdom. (2) During the World Origami Days event organised by MiniNeo, I was challenged to fold an Owl by Sebastien Limet. Continue reading

454: Unryushi Darkness Dragon 2

I was given a beautiful sheet of Unryushi tissue by a friend. The arrangement (in case YOU want to take part also) is if you give me nice paper, I will make you something out of it.

I prepared the paper by Methyl Cellulosing it to a clean window:

This make it crisp and strong, then, in a dragony frame of mind, I used Tadashi Mori’s own folding tutorial to fold a Darkness Dragon 2.

I had already folded the Darkness Dragon 1, but this model was a refinement I had not tried. There is a killer collapse after some exacting pre-folding – a sort of all these folds happen at the same time whilst inside a bunch of others, but the sense of it makes for a lovely body.

Continue reading

453: The Age Of Aquarius

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

I saw a crease pattern whilst trolling through the Origami Forum that looked like it was relatively straight forward to lay out on a piece of paper, based on fairly well controlled 64th grid with some fairly straightforward easy to locate landmarks and so thought I would give it a go.

It took nearly 2 days to lay all the creases in to the crease pattern – wiggly lines in one corner were punishing and at the time I had no idea what were to be mountain and valley folds so just made sure they were good creases reasoning they would reverse effortlessly.

Continue reading

446: Sunny’s Giraffe

Sunny’s birthday is coming up and she loves Giraffes:

In browsing for a suitable model, I discovered a Tanteidan containing a Satoshi Kamiya giraffe that I had not folded, so it seems it was meant to be.

I lke this model a lot – it is full of the essential giraffe features, economically uses the sheet and contains some wonderfully complicated folds. Continue reading

445: Mother of Dragons

I was paper shopping, as you do (my daughter calls me a paper nerd) and stumbled across a hand-made sheet of blue embossed Lotka that reminded me of dragonscale:

She who must be obeyed (SWMBO), an avid gamer and tamer of Dragons, had asked for a dragon so I put 2 and 2 together and got 17, well 5 to be precise. I have been exploring dragon-form, with the current Weyr (or wing) containing 5 dragons so far (Darkness Dragon by Tadashi MoriFiery Dragon by Kade Chan,  Green Dragon by Piotr Pluta, Riu Zin 1.0 by Satoshi Kamiya and nearly a Western Dragon by Shuki Kato)

After examining the paper, and its fold receptivity, SWMBO decided on a Fiery Dragon so I start bending, patiently (the paper is more like fabric so although you can crease it, it tends to want to unfold again.

Continue reading

444: Wolf Spider

I have these lovely bits of Lotka and was looking for something to be my first fold with this new paper:

I chose Brian Chan’s Wolf spider partly because I had not folded it before and partly because the “milk chocolate” fibrous nature of the paper reminded me of the natural colour and texture of the spider itself.

The first cut is more painful than the first fold on a sheet that is roughly rectangular – the issues with most hand-made papers include rough edges, uneven thicknesses, odd fibre bundles in unfortunate places and a lovely mottled colour distribution.

Continue reading

443: Gettin’ Crabby

As a member of JOAS (Japanese Origami Society) a present arrives in the mail every now and then – the Tanteidan magazine. Although it is written in Japanese (and I can not read Japanese) there are lots of fun things to try, occasionally amazing models to try:

Now I know I should be marking, but I have all this amazing paper and when presented with a folding challenge I get a little OCD about it.

This lovely crab, designed by Jason Ku, is a mathematical masterpiece – teasing the legs and claws from edges of the paper, shaping the carapace and the final, tidying does not just happen by chance. Continue reading

At Loggerheads

I have been a little down, sick and my hands are not working as well as they should be so needed something to boost my spirits:

I took a sheet of 35x35cm Olive Tant and decided to try and re-make a model I have only ever achieved once, much much bigger. Logic would suggest, in retrospect, that it should not have been possible – the paper is too small and too thick, but I sort of decided I would stop when I could not fold anymore.

The net result is quite my favourite bit of bent paper at the moment – a lovely little baby Loggerhead Turtle (designed by Satoshi Kamiya), posed with a little MC but she is beautiful. Sure there were things that would have worked out a little better if the paper were thinner, but I am stoked it worked – it is a jewel indeed.

This is not my first fold of this model – I last folded it in 70cm Kraft and that too is a lovely thing, this little treasure however is nicer IWHO.


429: Satoshi Kamiya’s Lyrebird

You may have guessed I am a bit of a fanboi when it comes to the works of Satoshi  Kamiya:

As previously stated, my wife and I spent some time in a rainforest cabin and that inspired me to have a go at his Lyrbird – a deliciously complicated crumple that needs to result in a characteristic fan tail, 2 side tail things, wings, legs, body and head.

Continue reading

427: Geiger’s Xenomorph

Anyone who knows me realises I am a huge fan of the Alien movies, the first one is, for me, close to perfect science fiction horror:

I had been aware of Kade Chan’s Alien design for ages, had the crease pattern and wrestled many times trying to make it with no luck. I had relegated this to the “give up on it” pile – there are a few that have just beaten me for the moment.

Kade posted a near complete video tutorial, suddenly this model was back on the radar. The video is pretty clear – you should have a go – it is NOT a beginners model but the techniques for forming the main features are pretty clear.

So I set about a test fold, in Litho paper – the paper gave up half way through, splitting on most major creases, but I learned the basic collapse and some of the featuring before it gave up so resolved to fold it with something more durable.

I cut a 55cm square of Kraft paper off the roll and, very carefully, began folding. This, like most models, relies on accuracy for things to work out – a part of a mm out here and it compounds when you do accordion pleating, and this model has so many layers because of the amount of the sheet that is hidden.

I like that most surfaces provide layers that you can then texture in the modelling, sculpting them in graded steps to create carapace, armour and small beautiful details like the rib cage and prehensile tail.

The alien as envisaged by the movie franchise took on shape and general morphology from the host it bursts through the chest of – this one is fairly certainly humanoid and so posing it I found myself anthropomorphising its stance a little. I used a little MC to ensure the pose was rigid, clamped details in place until the paper was dry, then mounted him on a textured circular base and am quite chuffed with the result.

This was WTF (What’s That Fold) #2 – stay tuned for more paper bending

426: Satoshi’s Tree Frog

The Weekly WTF#1 (what’s that fold) had to be a Satoshi model, and I had been itching to make this little beauty ever since I was aware he had designed one:

Initially, I folded this with a odd end of a kraft roll, starting with a nearly 40cm square (nearly in that I discovered it was not quite square), but found it very small for my fat clumsy fingers.

I resolved to fold it neater, so went larger – second fold (the one pictured) is a 60cm square of brown Kraft paper (no, it is not green, and I know of no easy way to make it so).

There is a LOT to like about this model, and some concerns – some of the steps are fairly poorly explained (given the nature of some of the manoeuvres I can not imagine how that would be improved) and some of the folding is through so many layers that without help this model does NOT stay as folded.

I decided to do wet-folding, with a little MC (methyl cellulose) to fold, mould and let it dry before moving on – this lengthened the time to make the model, but in the end made it most beautiful. Some of the subtle shaping would ONLY be achievable with foil-core paper or via wet MC folding.

In the end, this is the most frog-like thing I have encountered that was not actually a frog. the details are astonishing even to me (and I wrangled them out of a flat, uncut square).

“Can I go for a swim Mum?”.
“No, you just ate that fly, wait a half an hour
or you will get stomach cramps junior!” .
“Aww mum, that is an old toad’s tale.”

I ended up with 2 – my first fold, whilst smaller is different to the larger one, they both have interesting postures and attitudes and I am torn as to which one I prefer.

I am sure I will fold this one again – he is so cute, but I think I will wait until I have suitable thin green paper – the model is so well designed that it’s tummy is one colour, rest of the body is the other – so I will be hunting paper that is 2 shades of green front to back (or perhaps making a bit of double tissue – we shall see).

425: Dancing Crane

I first saw a pair of these lovely things, folded in white, clearly dancing to impress each other and put it on my list of must try models by Robert Lang:

A lazy afternoon over the Christmas break, I took a 60cm sq or brown Kraft paper and, over cups of tea, mince pies and chats with my mum, I bent this bird.

This model is everything to do with implied movement and pose, sadly the paper made a limp, lifeless bird and so it crystallised my resolve to try Methyl Cellulose to stiffen the model, allowing me to pose outstretched wings and wobbly backwards knees.

The result is lovely – not sure how I feel about models that require either foil-cored paper or wire armatures or chemical sizes/stiffeners to achieve a presentable figure but I like this one a lot. I made a simple florist wire stand, briefly toyed with (then promptly dismissed) the idea of making it’s pair.

There is much technique to like in this model – as usual, Lang has beautifully convoluted and torturous geometric ways of getting rid of huge amounts of paper to reveal a fairly accurate morphology.

Gifted to Helena, as a symbol of hope, courage and speedy recovery – kindest regards.

MC by any other name

A tool in many origamist’s toolbox is a goopy substance called “Methyl Cellulose” (MC) – it is a chemical that is used as a size (keeps paper crisp/stiff), gelling agent (it is the stuff that makes KY Jelly so slimy – no kids, that is NOT a new aeroplane flavour) and there is even a food grade MC used in cooking (although I think only the Japanese truly like the slimy textures it produces).

I have had enormous difficulty finding this stuff – Oxylades (a local art shop) ordered some stuff, turned out to be Ethyl Cellulose which is not PH neutral and will, eventually discolour and degrade, taking whatever is coated with it.

Digging through my cupboards, as you do, I chanced upon a tub of powdered adhesive goop that we used to use to make finger paint for the kids when they were little tackers. A tiny amount dissolved in warm water makes the most delightful goopy gel-like liquid (that we used to add powdered pigment to to make the best finger paint in the world).

Educational Colours “Mix-A-Paste”, it seems, is Methyl Cellulose – we had some in the house for over 20 years and I did not realise – *Face Palm*

Origamists use it to re-stiffen paper, laminate it with other paper (double tissue is something I must now try), pose models and so on and it was not really until the last 2 models I folded that I realised the appearance of the model would be improved if it did NOT splay open – a common problem with very dense folds and domestic (non tissue-foil) papers.

Up until now, I have been creasing, then while the creases were sharp spraying the models with a clear, matt, lacquer – this at least prevents the folds from unfurling due to humidity but does little to tidy many layers and dense seams.

The last time I tried a bird similar – the Great Egret – when I say similar, the legs and neck/head were similar – very dense, lots of wrangling resulting in limp, broken joints and an un-poseable mess in the end.  The model was relegated to the bin as it almost entirely failed to stand up or stay together. I suspect I could have “saved” the model with MC.

I will let it dry, see how it turns out – I dislike models that do not look after themselves – ie need assistance to stay together, I steer clear of models that are generally not possible with all but specialist papers – the foil cored tissue foil is something I have yet to use – lots of models work only if the folds you place stay folded.