798: (248/365) The Elephant In The Room

In a fit of elephantine existentialism, one must ask an important question: “What makes a good Origami Elephant?”:

This is Paul Jackson’s “One Fold Elephant” – is it a good elephant and how would we know? What are ESSENTIAL characteristics that a model should have to be considered elephantine? Obvious characteristics of an elephant (well, for anyone who has ever actually seen one) could include discernible TRUNK, big(ish) flappy EARS and a big solid BODY. We could visually recognise an elephant with way less information than that so why do we require mind-popping details implicit in super-complex paper renderings of elephants when something much simpler does the job.

Purists would argue that all origami is, in essence, figurative representations of real objects. Thereby origami models are in effect are so many levels of abstraction from the real thing that there are no valid metrics that apply the the “goodnicity” of the rendering. Continue reading

591: (41/360) Miura Ori Fold

Paper-influenced materials engineering has gained incredible momentum in the last few years as ancient and modern folding techniques get applied to modern materials:


The Miura Ori fold is a fascinating corrugation that takes large flat surfaces, divides them up into “shallow” parallelograms, re-arranges the creases into alternate rows of mountain and valley across the folded field to make a self-organising surface. Continue reading

504: Coxless Four

Rowing is huge at my school – a veritable machine that hundreds of kids get very passionate about, a gear-fest like few others:504CoxlessFour

Seems the purpose of the sport is to put boys in lycra, sitting atop tiny fiberglass shells, armed with a paddle rowing furiously backwards across vast distances of water. The competitive nature sees rowers exerting huge amounts of energy, enthusiasm and biomass in singles, teams of 2,4,and 8 with or without cox against other equally keyed-up teams. Quite a spectacle.504CoxlessFourView

Continue reading

Totoro Kit

Sensei Cassidy was lurking, she did not want to impose, but she was carrying some origami-related paraphernalia and … well … origami:TotoroDev

She had this kit, based on Totoro (apparently a cult Anime film/ character/ universe/ thing), with some pre-printed paper and instruction sheet on how to assemble.

Initially I thought it wold be a cut/glue exercise, so smiled politely and said I would give it a whirl when reporting was done. On further investigation to my relief it was folding only, and some odd stuff as well.Totoro

The large character is Totoro, apparently, then there are 2 smaller characters of a similar shape, and then, for no explicable reason, a bus that is a cat (well, a catbus) – which apparently makes complete sense. Continue reading

456: L’essence d’un escargot

I was exploring a corrugation technique I last used with Eric Joisel’s Bandoneon and stumbled across a sort of plan to fold Joisel’s Snail:

You start with an extraordinarily long (my estimate – 3.25m) and narrow (in my model 9cm) strip of paper, then start folding slanted lines (using a 3:1 gradient) in both directions

Continue reading

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

364: SNOWY!

When I was a kid, my parents gave me Tintin Annuals to read – the adventures of a young ginger and his dog Snowy:

I must admit I have fond memories for the adventures of Tintin, and had clear ideas in my mind of what Captain Haddock, Thompson and Thompson and Professor Cuthbert Calculus were like. I have just seen the film and I was delighted to say the least. What a cracking tale, told so wonderfully. You realise why they chose of do it as computer animation – most Tintin adventures would be un-filmable in live action given the pace, locations and lunatic athleticism.

At breakneck speed I was transported back to the Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure and other adventures I had – I remember 6, but wikipedia says there were 24 in total, so i only saw a small collection of Hergé stories really.

Although I have never really liked dogs, I was always taken with Snowy, Tintin’s faithful dog – I loved that he could talk to the dog and the dog actually understood – as an adult that makes no sense but as a kid there was no problem. Mind you, I accepted Lassie, Me Ed and all so my brain was already soft 😛

This is a “billfold” – that is it was originally designed to be folded out of an american dollar bill. I do not have any so I used the interweb to find the dimensions, doubled them and cut a rectangle to size. The instructions were very poor, actually, and at many junctures I merely “improvised” as I knew where we were going but could not follow how I was being told to get there.  In the end we have a plucky rendition of Snowy, and the second last model in the 365 challenge. Hope you like him.

Domestic Origami

Now I like to cook – well in truth I like to eat but in order to eat you have to cook – right?

Origami is useful in domestic science – when, for instance you are considering a luscious, sticky, dense brownie (thank you USA for the concept of a brownie) then unless you do something special, that sucker is NEVER going to come out of the tin. My solution: an Origami lining to the slice tin:

Fit silicon paper nicely (it takes creases really well if you are firm), maybe use a little water to get it to stick in place prior to schlooping in the batter.

Let the batter hold the paper out, bake, rest and it LIFTS OUT of the tin ready for slicing.

Yes, I do think you should give this a go. I fold in white chock bits as the “second” helping of chocolate, and also crushed pecan nuts (because I like them more than walnuts) – my afternoon tea is sorted, how about you?or go here to find the recipe (works a treat: http://www.csrsugar.com.au/Essential-Classics/Slices/Double-Chocolate-Fudge-Brownies.aspx

Cool, Slice, Dust with icing sugar, Eat

1: Peacock

One sheet of paper, rectangle 2×1, folded prior to this project started but the inspiration for it so it is a fitting first

I like this model as the tail is fully articulated – it stands up as a display for the male peacock. Folded during a particularly boring exam supervision (whilst still being vigilant)A Peacock