comments 2

additional comments on my most recent design

This is all in regards to the work mentioned in this post.

Jane says:

I wouldn’t do the triangular twists if I were you, it looks great this way.

I was wondering the other day about how you create your tesselations.
Melissande* designs the patterns and then create the folds that will lead to that pattern. I, on the other hand, like to mix folds (like in a chemistry lab) to see what patterns will come out of it.

Mélisande says:

The hexagon + teardrops in the center is an innovative and clever arrangement. It makes my think of this hindu dancing god with many legs and arms (can’t just now remember the name).

I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean with “gear” : for me, it is the thing controlled by the handle you take in the right hand when driving a car…Surely this word has other meanings.

I hope you don’t mind me quoting you here! thank you, friends, for your commentary!

OK, to answer your questions (or try to, anyway…)

Jane: when I am thinking of things, quite often I just visualize in my head how I would want something to look. in this case, and sometimes in others, I draw it out in a little notebook or on a piece of scrap paper. I drew this one while I was sitting around in a meeting; you can see other pieces of silly drawings on it.

(click to make it larger.)

Once I had the general idea of what I wanted to fold, then I just started folding to see what would happen. for many types of intersections, I know how the paper will fold and how it will look, so many parts of it I already know- it’s just the unknown parts that are interesting, because I get to discover how to make them fold together. I usually know it can be done, so I only need to try it and see how it works to solve the problem. this is the part I enjoy the most.

Melisande: the central part actually can be made into a very nice “puffy star” shape- I like things flat, so I did not fold it this way, but it took that shape naturally until I squashed it completely flat. I had to borrow a camera today so it did not take very good photos; I’m going to wait until I fold a larger one to worry about it, though.

when I say “gear” I mean somewhat what you are thinking of- a gear, a cog, a wheel with spikes, something that belongs in machinery.

here is another doodle, to show what I mean:

(click to make larger.)

Gears interconnect with each other, and spin around- so it helps me to visualize how any particular crease intersection will flow, because I can assign directionality to the “spin” of it. this is almost like circle packing with a directional spin, I guess. it doesn’t hold true for the double-pleat folds (like Jane’s recent work), as they lack a directional bias. but yet in some ways they do, or they can be given one, so it still applies, I suppose.

it is an idea inside my head that is not well formed into a solid thought, so I’m still trying to decide how it works or IF it works as a usable concept.

but it’s one of the ways I think of things, especially if I am designing something inside my head which is complicated and I do not have paper to draw it out- then I just start assigning spinning wheels to each intersection and I can figure out where I need to fold.

that was an awfully long post! wow.


  1. Eric,

    When we speak of open source origami, this is the really important part of it. Diagrams and CPs are really just free beer. To be truly open source, we, as a community, are going to have to learn to articulate methods. Like this one. And like the ones in Lang’s OSD. That’s the free as in speech part.

    Excellent description. And the piece looks good, as well. Can’t beat that.

  2. Administrator says

    Well, it’s interesting that you mention these things- I agree on all points. most certainly Free Beer is less desirable than Free Speech, to use some open source concepts… and it’s also harder to open everything up, than to just give away things. It’s that whole “give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish” idea, in a different context.

    I’ll use this design as an example- I drew a doodle in a meeting, and then folded up some scrap paper to do a proof-of-concept fold for the one part of it that was “new” to me. I haven’t shown that paper, as it’s pretty nasty used copy paper- but I certainly would in a heartbeat if someone asked to see it. I progressed from there to a larger full trial of a single tile, which is what I posted. None of these are final versions of anything, however; it’s quite likely I will never fold a larger version of this. but I really wanted to get the ideas and imagery out there in case someone DOES want to fold such a thing, or is doing a search for pictures/ideas/whatever and comes across it. I would love to have the time and ability to do a complete braindump on every idea or trial fold I have made, but I just don’t have the time. I’m trying, however, to MAKE the time, as it needs to be done. otherwise I’m just blowing hot air.

    I take that concept from the free software/open source movement (where I spend much of my working day)… where sharing what you’re working on, and the details of it, is encouraged- it doesn’t matter if it works or not, or if it’s “done” or not. Because once it’s out there, there are others who can pick it up and take it to new places, or do their own thing, or really anything. You’ll never know until you make that step. I have found just by dumping every single origami work online that I create, good or bad- it has put me in touch with many people of similar interests, who are sharing their work with me as well. It’s definitely creating a synergistic effect, and the whole is most certainly worth more than sum of it’s parts.

    And that’s what’s important- the information gets out there, and is accessible to those who might want to know it. It isn’t locked up in an ivory tower, kept away forever until the last copy fades and turns into dust. I’d rather it be out, in the public, known and used, abused, copied, printed, downloaded, whatever- because I believe that good will come of it. I might not have much to add, but I hope I encourage others to do the same, and over time all our contributions will become a great thing.

    that’s my 2 cents on the soapbox.

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