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Paper Sculpture by Richard Sweeney

I saw these wonderful folded artworks by Richard Sweeney this morning, thanks to a tip from Oschene. There’s some very interesting concepts here, and some wonderful rounded shapes- reminiscent of Huffman’s curved folding, in some ways. Richard really must have spent a lot of time figuring out his folding techniques for these works- creating curves is amazingly hard to do accurately and cleanly!

It’s some very impressive stuff, Richard- thanks for posting them on Flickr so the world can see your art.

two wonderful examples- check out his whole photostream for more wonderful works


  1. Just curous, have you seen Valerie Vann’s Origami Sphere’s? I’m trying to find a photo of the module but it appears most of her work has vansihed from the Web. I did dig up an archive link to her site, but no details on the fold:

    Last I remember she had a Patent pending on the design and it was possible to reverse engineer the design based on the USPTO submission. Really cool combination of Origami modular folds and scoring of the paper to give it a tensile form.

  2. Administrator says

    I haven’t seen any of her work- I’ve seen it referred to on the Origami-L mailing list occasionally, but always in the context of her removing all her work from the web and publications, etc.

    Patents aren’t cheap- I suppose I can understand if you had a novel method that was useful for industrial applications, but for the most part it seems excessive to me.

    I respect her rights to do what she wants with her own work, though- it’s hers, and she can do whatever she wants with it (including hiding it forever). That’s her perogative as the creator. I can’t say I agree with that take on things, but again it’s her choice.

    Sooner or later, someone else will come along and reinvent the same wheel, and make it publicly available.

    I enjoy folding novel and unique origami designs, but if they are heavily burdened with “copyright/patent pending/etc” warnings and labels, I just avoid them. It’s not worth the headache to deal with all that, for me.


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  4. Kevin says

    you can patent origami designs?
    what happens?
    just the crease pattern or the actual thing itself?

  5. Well, you can’t “copyright” an origami work, from everything I have read- only the diagrams can be copyrighted. if you wanted to protect the origami design itself, it would need to be patented (just like an industrial process, for example, or a software algorithm).

    so a CP would only be a copyright issue; the origami itself could only be patented.

    Now whether this all would hold up in court is subject to interpretation- there’s not enough money in origami for anything like this to get to a point that would involve judgement, which would establish case law.

    It can be stipulated that origami is an “art form”, and should fall under those protections; likewise, some would argue that patenting something as basic as folding paper is much too easy to prove prior art. (such as if I patented the “waterbomb base” and then tried to go around threatening to sue every origami publisher for using my patented ideas- this would be easy to disprove, as any previously published or existing examples that are even similar to my patented concepts could invalidate the patent.)

    I know there are some origami folders who have patented things due to either being a patent lawyer or being related to one; if they want to do that, it’s their choice, but I think it adds needless complexity to what is essentially an iterative art form. If you are restricted from ever using someone’s patented folding method in any designs, then that could (potentially) lock out an entire area of discovery and artistic creation.

    this is one reason why releasing things as public domain, or in my case as rather limited creative commons licenses, helps things along. I personally would prefer to release all my creations as completely public domain ideas, but I get annoyed at the idea of people just scooping it up and turning my diagrams around for a profit. It’s not like I really think that’s going to happen, but this helps protect against that.

    If someone came to me and asked to use it in a commercial endeavor, and I liked the idea, I’d let them use it for free (most likely, anyway). it’s not like this is rocket science or anything.


  6. I think this kind of things are amazing…It seems to be carved out of a paper block! I’d very like to know how the units lock together and I’d also like to view one unit itself to try to discover the folding method and the basis…perhaps hexagonal?!? I’ve tried to fold one by myself but It’s a hard job…Have someone of you here some articles explaining how to do such things?!?


  7. Kevin says

    all you have to do to set up a flicker photo thing is just to sign up right?
    im thinking of making one for my work…

  8. Administrator says

    Kevin- it would be great to see your work on Flickr. It’s free to use- if you want to post more than 200 photos, then it costs money to upgrade to “pro” level. It’s pretty painless, and would also allow you to comment on all the photos on flickr (especially in the Origami Tessellations photo group!)

    Lorenzo- I don’t know how he made all his modular units for that design, although I would also love to see how to do it…

    Christina- I’m quite envious you get to see his work at an exhibition!

  9. wao its great . . . . . . .i think these type of sculpture is very unique n difficult but its brillint

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