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This Week in Origami Tessellations – March 24, 2006

This has been a busy week for everyone in the Origami Tessellations photo pool on Flickr, or so it would seem! I can’t say enough good things about my fellow tessellators- it’s just a wonderful joy seeing all the new and fascinating works pop up every day, from all corners of the world.

updated to include works from Fredrik Owesen and Jorge Lucero- sorry about that, guys!

We’ll start off with some new pieces uploaded by John McKeever:

Stellations of the Dodecagon

This piece, called “Stellations of the Dodecagon”, has to be one of the best examples of detailed folding work that I’ve ever seen. Fans of McKeever’s artwork (myself included!) are keenly aware of his attention to detail, and wonderful choices of paper. This design is, of course, no exception.

It reminds me very much of some of the mosque tilings and other Islamic artwork that I have been studying lately. using the reverse of the paper in this way is uniquely creative, though, and this is the first time I’ve seen it used to such an extent. This is one of my new favorites!

This next work by John is titled “Stacked Throwing Stars”. It’s a work that he feels might have been folded by Chris Palmer in the past; although due to Palmer’s rather secretive nature it’s hard to say. Regardless, it’s a very unique work, which I think John figured out on his own, so I’m inclined to give him the credit on finding this design until I am informed otherwise.

This is another great example of a geometric progression, where a pattern grows infinitely from a starting point to infinity. From a mathematical perspective I think we could view these as tessellations of a non-Euclidean plane, although I would need someone who knows such things to weigh in on that topic. I group them with tessellations, as they often use the same shapes in a repeating pattern, expanding indefinitely, which is close enough for me.

I like the complexity of the angles in this piece, and the way all the layers lock together. The counter-rotation of the successive layers is also quite appealing to me.

Stacked Throwing Stars

Stacked Throwing Stars, opened up

John hasn’t added these pieces to the Origami Tessellations pool, but I like his work so much I feel it’s important to point it out. There are a number of folders who regularly post to Flickr without putting their photos in any pools or adding tags- this is a very important thing to do, as it allows people (and search engines!) to find your work and enjoy it. Everyone does things for different reasons, but if you have questions on how to do this please feel free to drop me a line and ask. I’ll talk your ear off on the topic!

Switching from the Northern Ireland to Switzerland, that brings us to the prolific and creative folder Mélisande. Both she and Mawelucky have been exploring square grid based tessellations in the last few weeks, especially with some new twisting styles thrown in to the mix.

This first one is titled “Hexagons on Squares”, and is one of a growing body of linear tessellations that Mélisande has created.

Hexagons on Squares

The other side is a similar pattern, but slightly different, as the irregular hexagon tiling on the reverse is made up of larger tiles.

Hexagons on Squares, other side

This next piece is titled “Arrows”, and heavily uses the “Y twists” that Joel pointed out a few weeks back. (The junction of a 135/135/90 angle intersection.) Mélisande has really taken this idea and run with it, creating quite a few new works putting it to good use.


I like the square twists in this piece- it reminds me a lot of herringbone, or some complex knitted pattern. I’m quite fond of the reverse side, as well:

Arrows, reverse side

This design from Mélisande is a great tiling of irregular octagons and squares, or an 8.8.4 tessellation (all angles are composed of 2 octagons and a square). It uses the Y pleat/twist again, to great effect, and gets this wonderfully complex shape when backlit:

Square tessellation with Octagons

She also has been exploring some of the folding concepts of Hideaki Azuma, which are quite fascinating. This is somewhere between tessellations and the geometric folding of Philip Chapman-Bell (aka Oschene on Flickr).

Twisted Column

Reaching back a little further (the 17th!) we find some iso-area square twist patterns from Mawelucky, developed from an earlier design by Mélisande. Both Mawelucky and Mélisande have been exploring square grids and variations on them, especially using the “Y pleat/twist” to increase the possibilities in tilings.

Here are a few of them:

 Iso-Area square twist

Iso-Area Square Twist, reverse

Check out her Flickr photostream for a lot of other recent square-based tessellation designs, too.

Next up is the furiously-updating tessellation work of Thomas Millet, aka “freeflyfrog77“. He’s been experimenting quite a bit recently with colorizing his tessellation work, stemming from an incident involving twins and magic markers.

In his latest design, he took Kawasaki’s Rose tessellation concept and applied it to triangles, mixing it with the Tiled Hexagon tessellation that I have on my website. The outcome was this:

Kawasaki Meets Gjerde

(almost finished)

Kawasaki Meets Gjerde, reverse

(almost finished, reverse)

Final Version:

Kawasaki Meets Gjerde

I love the washed out colors in the final version- Thomas tried out some wetfolding techniques with this, which worked well to form the paper, but also made a wonderful fading dye pattern on the paper! This is just a beautiful photo, as well as a gorgeous design. I love the use of colors here.

He did some more experiments with wetfolding, including this latest work:

Raised Tessellation #3

and the reverse:

Raised Tessellation #3, reverse

I’ve never tried wetfolding, so I don’t know how easy or hard this was to fold- hopefully Thomas will chime in and share some insights on the tessellation wetfolding process.

One reason that he’s been playing around with these concepts is this exploration of the Kawasaki Rose Crystallization tessellation, from a few days ago.

Kawasaki Rose Crystalization Tessellation

(I have to be honest here, I am personally unable to fold even the simplest variant of the Kawasaki rose- I’m not sure why, but that’s just how it is.)

We’ve also been seeing a lot of tessellations lately from noisia, who posted this beautiful collection of Fujimoto Hydrangeas:

Fujimoto Hydrangeas

Keep up the good work! Folding tessellations can be frustrating at times, but the hard work is worth it in the end!

Also, Fredrik Owesen comes back to the tessellation scene with a plaster mold of one of his 3d tessellation pieces. I know he’s wanted to do this for a while, and the results look quite amazing- I can’t wait to see this taken to the next step. I know he’s working on it, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.


Jorge Lucero (website here) posted these interesting works- two weave tessellations, and a rather unique hexagon + triangle tessellation.

Square Weave Tessellation

(square weave tessellation, taught by Jane – she teaches tessellations to everyone, it seems!)

Hexagonal Weave Tessellation

(hexagonal weave tessellation, inspired by Fujimoto)

Tessellation #6

Hexagonal tessellation, titled “Tessellation #6”. I see that Jorge has the same issues with creating names as the rest of us…

And we couldn’t round off a discussion of origami tessellations without mentioning Joel Cooper, of course. He’s been busy lately, even while dodging windstorms-that-aren’t-tornados and falling trees in storm-swept Kansas.

First up we have a design he (appropriately?) calls an “overly complicated weave variation tessellation”. That’s quite a mouthful! However, tessellating this would also be hard. I really need to see how Joel does these things by hand.

overly complicated tessellation

Overly Complicated Tessellation, close up

Overly Complicated tessellation, back


Lots of layers and stacking in that design! It’s interesting how after seeing someone’s folding style, you start to visually pick up on things they prefer to do, and ways they like to fold things. The fact that we all can look at a tiling and each see a different way to approach it is quite surprising and delightful, especially when you can see all the finished results.

Joel also posted this beautiful design based on some Arabic tessellation patterns that Jane shared with us. He comments that they remind him of Japanese motifs as well, and he is quite right- it is a traditional pattern in Japan as well as Middle-Eastern culture. Triangular/hexagonal patterns were quite popular in ancient Japan, particularly due to the relative ease of creating them, and implementing them as dye-resist patterns in silk (known as shibori). There are some deep and interesting connections between the shibori pattern techniques and origami tessellations, in my personal opinion.

Arabic Tessellation

Our last two images are these two tessellations from Joel, the first featuring some intriguing stars that are reminiscent of a design by Jane from a while back:

More stars

and this interesting pattern with “pursed” stars, which is a technique highly favored by Shuzo Fujimoto.

Pursed Stars

There looks to be many layers to this pattern, but I really like the 3d nature of the star shapes. I think designs like this really show how even little variations on patterns yield completely different results.

I’d like to thank everyone for contributing to the Origami Tessellation community on Flickr- your artwork, commentary and friendship is most appreciated by all.

If you’re not a member of the Origami Tessellation community, why not join today? Flickr is free, very easy, and sharing your tessellations with the world at large is just tons of fun.

Thanks for your readership!

-Eric Gjerde

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