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Bauhaus Foundation Course instructional booklet

Bauhaus Foundation Course working with paper Eric Gjerde


Here’s a PDF of my Bauhaus Foundation course handout from 2017; it’s been sitting here on my computer for months now and it seems high time to share it. This is all based on my research into the preliminary course / foundation course work of Josef Albers, and the folding exercises he taught his students at both the Bauhaus and the Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC.

It’s a few simple models, including the Hypar (as shown above), a herringbone corrugation pattern, a basic Floderer-esque crumpling piece, and a pleated wave (from Goran Konjevod). We touched on more work during our course but these needed the most instruction, so they were diagrammed.

All that being said, I vastly prefer to walk students through folding, crumpling, and cutting things by hand without instructional sheets – I don’t want them to just follow a handout and duplicate what they see. I want them to experience the process and think about it so they may find new ways of doing it in their own style. They are learning exercises, after all!

There’s two versions to download: one is in A5 booklet format, the other the same content but as separate pages. I’d recommend the booklet PDF for printing, and the other for digital viewing.

Bauhaus Foundation Course instructions (A5 booklet) PDF

Bauhaus Foundation Course instructions (individual pages) PDF



Photos from International Summer School Bernau – Preliminary Course

I had a fabulous time teaching at the International Summer School Bernau, at the famous Bauhaus Denkmal Bundesschule Bernau in (wait for it) Bernau, Germany. It was an eye-opening experience and a real joy to teach something new to both the attendees and to people from the local public.

More on this to come, but here’s some photos of the experience, compliments of the talented photographer Victoria Tomaschko.

Josef Albers teaching paper folding

Teaching at the International Summer School in Bernau

Josef Albers teaching paper folding

Josef Albers instructs a class in paper folding.

I am teaching a Preliminary Course for the next two weeks at the International Summer School at the Bauhaus Denkmal Bundesschule Bernau, in Bernau bei Berlin, Germany.

Very excited to be doing a specific program focusing on the teachings and instruction of Josef Albers (pre-eminent teacher at the Bauhaus, and later the Black Mountain College in N.C. and then Yale). I’ve been studying his works and historical materials for several years now, and it intersects nicely with my origami work. Most of my classes and instructional sessions over the last few years have centered around the work of Albers, so actually teaching his material in a Bauhaus-built school feels like everything coming full circle.

Here are more details on my Preliminary Course program; I will post images from the event later on and share the booklet I have created for the course as well.

My morning sessions are open to the public, from my understanding, so if you are in the Berlin area and have an interest in folding some Bauhaus creations, please do come visit!

Voronoi tessellations and origami

photo credit: Christine Daniloff, MIT

Some amazing work from the extremely talented Tomohiro Tachi, together with Erik Demaine, our origami community’s resident origami genius.

While we’ve long watched and admired Tomohiro’s work with Origamizer (rendering 3D models as crease patterns using some complex mathematics) it appears they have taken this further to help simplify the process as much as mathematically possible. That’s a pretty huge step and has lots of ramifications for the future.

Tomohiro’s work uses Voronoi tessellations in it’s calculation of things – that’s one of the underlying principles behind topological manipulation of polygons on a single surface, when calculating pleats and folding – so as an aficionado of this process, I’m happy to see this coming to real fruition.


my new show opening November 11th at Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Close-up of finished pressed page. Laser cut text pressed within 5 layers of bio-paper to form one large single sheet.

Close-up of finished pressed page. Laser cut text pressed within 5 layers of bio-paper to form one large single sheet.

My new work, Specimens, is one of three pieces on show at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts as part of the 2016 Jerome Foundation Book Arts Fellowship. The opening for the exhibition is on November 11th, starting at 6 PM.

The pages will be displayed in sandwiched plexiglass frames, to allow light to pass through and permit the audience to see them floating in space – very much the way the paper looks and feels when handled.

Here’s my artist statement from the exhibition:

Specimens is the first of its kind: a book created with a new bio-paper medium made entirely from bacterial cellulose. Its pages were once alive.

The quality of this new paper, which I developed over the past seven years, is its unparalleled strength and transparency. Each sheet is grown in a vat and harvested after several weeks. After processing, many layers – five or more – are laid on top of one another with the text block carefully placed within. Then the entire stack is pressed. The act of pressing these sheets is what gives them their strength.

Trapped forever within the thin lamina of Specimens’ pages is the poetry of e.e. cummings. The challenge of retaining the poet’s complex typographic wordplay required a new approach for placing text. Drawing upon my fascination with Voronoi tessellations – the natural pattern of cell structures in all living things – I created custom software to generate a Voronoi framework that would hold the text in place. The text block was then laser-cut from Korean hanji.


You may also be interested to watch my 15 minute presentation from earlier this year, talking about my plans for the project and some of the science behind it. Some of the plans changed- many things were tried and discarded, as working with this medium at scale presented some new challenges. Overall I am very pleased with the results and look forward to sharing more photos of the installed work in the next week or two!