1000: How Green Was My Cactus

Episode 245, Mabel, confused about her husband’s sudden emergence from a coma as a woman, signs over her mortgage to Favio, the pool boy, and became a nun, briefly.

How green was my cactus - finished

I remember a radio serial comedy drama, it used to make me giggle and it was called “how Green was my Cactus?”, the inspiration for many of the hashtags as I chronicled this fold, over what has seemed like an age. Somehow this is relevant in the context that this is “never folded this before #1000” for me – an astonishing milestone that I do not take lightly. I knew I had to attempt something epic … be careful what you wish for.

I first saw pictures of Daniel Brown’s fold of Robert Lang’s “Cactus, Opus 680“, and then I saw some fold suggestions from Daniel and flirted with the idea of taking a crack at this fold.

How green was my cactus - views
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Plan B (or “Home is where the hive is”)

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.

framed picture

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.

the new happy owner
A new home, Happy Birthday Paige (albeit belated, sorry)
Depth, scale, detail.
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941: Home is where the Hive is…

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”.

Robert Lang’s Honeycomb Tessellation

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.

Original Lang molecule (right) and my shallow modified one (left) – same size paper

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.

CP of molecule (red=Mountain, blue=Valley) Thick lines are visible edges, thin are hidden
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838: (288/365) Maine Lobster

A 365 Challenge is a mixture of blessing and curse:

The relentless schedule amidst a full time job and part time life is challenging at times. I started this model last weekend but ran out of weekend before it was finished. Continue reading

837: (287/365) Jackson’s Chameleon

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

698: (148/365) Cicada

I must admit to enjoying the challenge that is inherent in most of Robert Lang’s designs:

When the Tanteidan magazine arrived, I saw there was a new version of his cicada, and I knew I needed to try it.

Starting with a 35cm square of Daiso washi (that turned out to be slightly rhombic problematically), I began the marathon folding sequence. Continue reading

675: (125/365) Centipede

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

673: (123/365) Longhorn Beetle

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

672: (122/365) Lang’s Butterfly

Continuing on the theme of butterflies, I could not go past this one, designed by Robert Lang:

Taken from “Origami Insects II”, it is one of a number of creepy crawlys that I have yet to fold from this book. Continue reading

561: (11/365) Robert Lang’s Minamimachi Butterfly

I must admit to not having folded many butterflies – not sure why, hopefully this year I will remedy this situation:

This is Robert Lang’s Minamimachi Butterfly – I know it looks simple but there are some wonderfully complex techniques in it’s fabrication. Continue reading

Orchid Shadowbox

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.camille

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

521: Robert Lang’s Yellowjacket

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:521Yellowjacket

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

488: Burr Puzzle

In the hiatus between receiving parts of the Ryujin to fold, I am always on the look out for something interesting to fold.488BurrPuzzle

I first saw Froy’s Burr Puzzle on the Hong Kong Origami Society’s forum and decided to give it a try. Continue reading

Vermillion Oncidium

…so a friend was in Osaka Japan, and found some paper, rolled and posted it home to me – one of the sheets was this lovely hot orange flecked with gold leaf.

Orchids sprang to mind, so I cut the sheet (the first cut is the hardest) into 6 graduated squares with nearly no wastage and then folded Lang orchid blooms from them. Continue reading

Green Tree Frog

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.

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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

462: Samurai Helmet Beetle

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

461: Lang’s Butterfly

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

458: Lang’s Flying Grasshopper = Jemima Cricket = WTF# 20

Sometimes I just need to fold, it is difficult to explain but I find great clarity in wrestling with complex geometry. We ALL have much to learn GRASSHOPPER. 

Having bought Robert Lang’s “Origami Insects Volume 2” I thought it was high time to fold something from it.

Lang’s models are great technical exercises, amazing manipulations of the plane to the extraordiary.

I am also searching for a model to use a sheet of Origamido paper I have on, but will not use it as a first fold – it costs too much.

There is lots to like with this model, and it was a good WTF exercises – sadly my origami friends probably recognised it immediately and my other friends had no clue.

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447: Black Forest Cuckoo Clock

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