581: (31/365) Brian

“He’s not a messiah, he is just a very naughty boy”. “Crucifixion? Good. Line on the left, one cross each”:

In my opinion, “Life of Brian” by the Monty Python team is close to perfect, such a beautiful play in an otherwise familiar ancient world, full to the brim with some of their cleverest work. If you take nothing else from that move, “always look on the bright side of life”. Continue reading

448: Cutting a Rug

I am old enough to remember the “good old days” when partners dance WITH each other as opposed to the modern trend of dancing AT each other:

Flicking through a yellowed and falling apart copy of “Origami 4” by Robert Harbin, I came across a Neal Elias figure I had not remembered nor tried.

Using duo coloured paper, from a simple bird base, we tease a dancing belle and her suave suited partner as they “cut a rug” together. Continue reading

381: Rodin’s Reader

It is little known (partially because it is blatantly not true) that Rodin, prior to sculpting his masterpiece “The Thinker” had an altogether different idea:

Our school library is celebrating the National Year of reading by exploring a different theme each month – March is “think” so I put 2 and 2 together and got 17.3.

Based on Neal Elias’s box pleat, this little model is cute with a Brill “Spelling Book” on his lap.

Will not be around for the next couple of themes so this will have to do for a little while

347: Tree Topper

So I was putting up the tree again this year and remembered we had nothing to put atop it:

I remembered an “angel” designed originally by Neal Elias, reworked by gabriel Vong that I had put in the “must try this sometime” pile, so set about folding it.

A nice figurative angel, hands clasped in prayer, lovely wings and a nifty gusset at the back to allow you to insert some foliage at the pointy end of your tree.

You should try this, it is actually fairly straight forward. I had a sheet of gold metallic paper (but wrapping paper would make the fold even easier) and bent it laboriously (it was almost card, so the folds around the hands, shoulders etc were hard going – thank goodness for fingernails as my finger tips are bruised and sore from the continued 365 onslaught).

Atop the tree she is lovely – this is an A4-cut square, prolly a little big for our small tree but ideal for a larger one.

303: Llopio’s Moment of Truth

The croud erupts spontaneously with “Olé!” as Llopio narrowly dodges the bull calf’s first charge. His grandfather’s matador cap, too loose for him, slips and obscures his vision, there is an amateur swish of a cape as the bull’s developing horns pass too close for comfort, quick step out of the way and Llopio is finally a bullfighter.

This is “Llopio’s Moment of truth” – the reason I bought the British Origami Society’s compendium of Neal Elias figures. There is much to like in this complex box pleat. from one piece of paper emerges a Matador, Bull and the Cape that separates them.

I like how there is movement, you can sense the drama, a fitting end to my exploration of Neal Elias’ work. This fold is challenging, so much of the design is “mystery meat” where you just have to sort of “improvise” – you would not want to fold it much smaller, the manipulation of layers in the bodies is intense and fiddly and it is not immediately obvious what is going to be what until near the end.

Interestingly, only the matador is box pleated – unusually you torture 2 water bomb bases to get the bull and cape so this is a nice fusion between pure box pleating and free-form sculpture. Happy I have folded this, apparently if you fold it with duo paper the cape ends up being the alternate colour – wow.

298: Violinist

When I saw this design I knew I had to try it:

Made, oddly, from a “T”-shaped box pleat, designed by Neal Elias in 1971 to celebrate the then popular violinist Yehudi Menuhin, this is a masterpiece of miniature modelling.

We have a violin perched on a shoulder, being held by that hand, a bow hand complete with bow, a serious head tilt, trousers, coat and even shoes! He also free-stands, which is all the more remarkable.

Seriously happy with this fold, I was convinced it was going to hell in a hand basket at 3 junctures when the instructions did not patch what the model had (flaps and creases in different orientations), but in the end it just sort of worked.

Interestingly, it was not all that hard, well, it seemed that way to me – given I had never attempted box pleating before the 365 challenge, I guess my skills have improved, which is a good thing.

297: Taxi!

In old Chinatown, when someone wanted to travel in style, they hailed a “coolie” pulling a rickshaw:

This picture was common in days gone by, these days the hustle and bustle of bicycles, motorbikes and tuk-tuks has replaced the hard work.

This is Neal Elias’ “Coolie and Rickshaw”, designed in1967. An ingenious box pleat using a square and tidily fashioning a running man and a 2 wheeled buggy behind, replete with lovely conical hat, wheels and canopy.

I have been wanting to try this for a while, just because really. Taken from “Selected works 1964-1973” by British Origami Society. I am happy with this as a first fold. I modified the body and legs a little to add a sense of movement, and re-worked the wheels so they were round (the original design had them nearly square).

296: Pas de Deux

In ballet, a pas de deux (French, steps of two) is a duet in which ballet dancers perform the dance together. It usually consists of an entrée, adagio, two variations (one for each dancer), and a coda:

In origami, few designers have mastered multiple figure folding like Neal Elias – this is his “Nureyev and Fonteyn” model designed in 1973 as a tribute to the then “toast of the town” couple as they became an on-stage sensation.

This is a relatively simple box-pleat with some elias stretches to form arms. I found the flrming of her legs the most challenging, tucking it tidily into his trousers so the join between them is less obvious. At this scale, shaping is a challenge, hence her “thunder thighs” and their angular faces. I am happy however with this figurative fold, taken from my copy of the British Origami Society’s publication of Elias’ selected works.

Folded from a 3×1 rectangle (scrap litho paper from yesterday’s squaring), the only pity is that it is not free-standing (but boy would lit look pretty on a card) so I cheated and blu-tacked a paper clip on the back for display purposes.

I was looking for an easier model (because yesterday took so long) -this one fitted the bill admirably.