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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

http://news.mit.edu/2017/algorithm-origami-patterns-any-3-D-structure-0622

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!

Making any shape using origami corrugations

A fantastic tidbit that popped up in my facebook feed today:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-to-make-almost-any-shape-out-of-a-flat-sheet-of-paper

Mahadevan and his team have characterized a fundamental origami fold, or tessellation, that could be used as a building block to create almost any three-dimensional shape, as seen above (credit: Mahadevan Lab/Harvard SEAS)

Mahadevan and his team have characterized a fundamental origami fold, or tessellation, that could be used as a building block to create almost any three-dimensional shape, as seen above (credit: Mahadevan Lab/Harvard SEAS)

This comes partially from Tomohiro Tachi, an origami friend, and one of the top people worldwide working with computational/mathematical origami tessellations and corrugations.

If you look further at his Flickr page you can find beautiful examples of 3D constructs and controlled folding mechanisms. It’s very exciting work!

Bauhaus Paperfolding Workshop in Asheville NC March 8th!

 

 

I’m fascinated with the paper folding exercises that were used by Josef Albers in the Bauhaus School, and then later on at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. These folding exercises helped students to learn about the properties of materials, and were one of the fundamental tools that Albers used to guide his students to think differently. One of his guiding principles was “learning by doing”, or “Werklehre” in German. This was also the organizing principle of the Black Mountain College, so it’s not surprising that he came to BMC after he fled Nazi Germany (along with so many of the Bauhaus instructors!)

To that end, I’m giving a short workshop on Bauhaus paperfolding and a talk on origami this Tuesday, March 8th starting at 4PM at the Asheville Bookworks in Asheville, NC, in conjunction with the Book and Print Arts Collective of Western North Carolina. If you are interested in attending, please register via email by March 6th.

The talk on origami will begin around 5:30PM, so if you wish to just attend the talk, that’s fine too – you’ll just miss out on all the fun folding beforehand.

Items to bring:

  • a bone folder for making strong creases
  • a snack and a drink to share after the workshop, which is your contribution to the event

You need to register for the event to attend, so please do so if you wish to come! it should be a lot of fun, and we’ll have some great origami show-and-tell exhibits to share.