I was approached by a mate mid 2018 with the idea of an original origami commission, but was given no real timeline (which for an OCD procrastinator like me is a recipe for a little crazy time.
The end result, finished near the end of February 2019, is vastly different from how I had initially envisaged it. It was actually really hard to part with this one – so much creative energy went into it’s genesis.
Over the last few years I have played with origami tessellations – the theory of a repeatable pattern that interacts with other repeats (molecules) is fascinating and a real testament to the accuracy of the pre-folding. As part of another project, I have been exploring triangle grids, and a devilishly tricky to collapse hex-cell tessellation by Robert Lang he calls “Honeycomb”.
After folding this a number of times, and then schematicizing the molecule, I noticed that “cells” were deep and, due to the nature of the collapsed layers inside I did not think they were very tidy nor kept their shape nicely. All to often, in origami design, paper thickness is disregarded in the theoretical collapse – in this case hiding away most of the paper in canyons between cells deforms them in ugly ways.
I started playing with the corner mechanism, and discovered I could halve the height of the cell wall, making the tuck much less bulky and doubling the size of the resultant folded field on the same bit of paper. Additionally it held itself together nicely with edges that are easy to stabilise. With a little practice (I am sure my work colleagues thought me obsessed, given the number of times I folded this tessellated field) I was ready to scale up … well, down in truth as I folded a “tiny” triangle grid on my target mustard leather-grain paper and then set the corner widgets before collapse only to then realise that folding this small was a real challenge with my nerve damaged, fat clumsy fingers.
Looking for a nice, rich, challenging fold for the day, I knew I needed to try a model from Robert Lang:
This is his model “Jackson’s Chameleon” – a deliciously complicated model with all the chameleonic bits you expect.
Working with a slightly un-square square of light green washi, the pre-folding is fascinating, layer management and seemingly impossible moves abound – there were many times I thought I had screwed up, only to find out that it worked. Continue reading →
Gagging for complex folds I thought I would torture a bit of paper with a super complex model from Robert Lang’s “Origami Insects II”:
The paper survived and the resultant creepy crawley is interesting if not perfect.
Missing steps and powering on, only have to backtrack, characterised this mammoth 6 hour fold. Some steps are small but have long term consequences and I was worried that unfolding and refolding would cause the paper to disintegrate, fortunately not. Continue reading →
Itching to dive into some thing complex (365 challenges are lousy for this, the one fold a day schedule makes longer hauls really difficult), I decided on an insect from Robert Lang that I had not folded before:
Folded nearly life-size, this is a longhorn beetle, a lovely little bug with seemingly ridiculous antennae. Continue reading →
I love models by Robert Lang, I find I fold them when I need order, therapy, calm. This is a collection of his Orchids, described in his book “Origami Design Secrets”. Something about the mathematical elegance of this flower lends itself to careful modelling and pretty staging. I had a bunch of opalescent 6″ squares in delicate pastel colours so originally folded separate flowers and tried to attach them in a sort of free-form montage.
They look better on a stem, so re-thought the mounting, used florist’s wire and tape to build a plausible “spray” and (shhh) used some craft glue to affix the flowers to the ends of each stickey-outey bit.
Working to the diagonal here, with an odd number of blooms works quite nicely I think, coupled with the corrugated (I folded a fan) hand-made gold-flecked tissue the total scene is quite pleasing. Continue reading →
Flipping through the book “Origami Masters – Bugs – How the Bug Wars Changed the Art Of Origami”, you cannot help but be frightened by this model:
Robert Lang, mathematician, engineer and origami design genius in this model pushes the envelope of what is possible with paper on a number of levels. The book gives general hints about a truly terrifying paper manipulation which I think, largely ignores the fact that paper will be used in the fabrication. Continue reading →
I have recently spent time in a cabin in the woods – well, in truth, it is a cabin among some semi-tropical rain forest in the border ranges in northers New South Wales – a retreat for body and mind:
Having made some “double tissue“, I was itching to see how it took folds and I remembered a green thing I had folded way back as part of the 365 project – Robert Lang’s Green Tree Frog. My first attempt was small, white and not very detailed so I thought it might be fun to torture some double tissue with that design.
I was gifted some beautiful but fragile rice paper (paper made with rice plant fibre) that is flecked with gold leaf:
Soft, fabric like I realised it was fairly useless as a folding medium so, armed with some freshly prepared MC, I plastered it to a window in the hope that the addition of sizing to the paper would make it useable. Continue reading →
Having ordered the book “Origami Masters Bugs – how the bug wars changed the art of origami” I was itching to fold a bug:
Robert Lang is a master paper engineer, I have a few of his books – this is from Origami Insects Volume II and I decided to give it a try – it was way outside my skill ability so I sort of resolved to keep folding until … I couldn’t work out what to do next, if that makes sense. In the end I managed all of the detailing (although some not very elegantly).
The resultant bug is astonishing – the legs are jointed and end in claspers, the head, cephalothorax jointed, it has antennae, horns and is really bug like. Continue reading →
Originally I was approached by a blog reader who wanted to know how a particular part of this model worked. Given I had never folded it before I had to admit I did not know, but would love to find out:
This is a torturous model by Robert Lang from his book “Insects and their Kin” – torturous because most of the detail originates in the MIDDLE of the sheet, via some astonishingly complicated manipulations. We tease 6 legs, abdomen, 2 antennae from the middle of the page, leaving large expanses of largely un-folded paper for the 2 pairs of wings.
I have wrestled with this for an age – not sure the instructions are very clear (particularly layer management late int he piece) and certainly are not noob friendly.
As a first fold I am very happy with the result – not sure I wold fold it again, I do not really like the way the body sits and the clumsy layering at the wing junctions but it was a fascinating exercise in accuracy none the less. I say clumsy but I know of the design genius to engineer such a shape, so please Mr Lang do not rake this as a criticism, I remain in awe of your paper prowess. Continue reading →
In need of some therapy, and with my procrastinator set on FULL, I embarked on a punishing box-pleating exercise:
I remember as a kid in New Zealand we had a cheezy Cuckoo Clock (Mum loved it) that used to have metal pinecones as counterweights and a faux timber case that used to “cuckoo” and scare the life out of me every hour. It had the loudest tick of any clock I remember.. I am fairly sure it did not survive the emmigration back to Oz because I do not remember it afterwards.
Robert Lang is known for beautiful mathematical models and when I first saw photos of his “Black Forest Cuckoo Clock” it seemed impossible to tease all that details out of an uncut sheet. Continue reading →
Those of you who were guessers for the WTF (What’s That Fold?) #4 will be interested to know that this model was actually a Spider Conch designed by Robert Lang:
I once taught on Palm Island – which is seaward from Townsville, North Queensland. Whilst there I loved to snorkel the reef nearby. Whilst doing so, I managed to find a pair of “spider shells” that I still have today.