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Originally uploaded by EricGjerde.

We’ve been talking a lot in the Origami Tessellations group on Flickr about “flagstone” tessellations, so named by Joel Cooper for their distinctive look. They are a favorite of his, and since his work is where we were introduced to the concept, the name seems quite appropriate.

There’s a lot of weird folding voodoo that goes on with these folds, which we’ve all been trying to figure out and explain; some of us much better than others- Peter, Lorenzo, and Jorge having more luck here due to their mathematical orientation.

I’ve noticed a strange correlation between iso-area folds and the “flagstone” process, and in trying to understand it I started folding a simple, offset iso-area square twist (seen in the picture above). However, since I’m folding with elephant hide, it has a very nice sculptural quality to it, and makes some very nice curved shapes. So I “froze” the squashing process half way, making these rather interesting 3d puffs. I like the way it introduces a curving element to the angled pleats, and really does resemble a tiling of airplane propellers. This probably deserves to be given a larger treatment at another point in time.

The reverse side looks like this:

Flagstone in the making- thoughts


  1. Christine says

    What specifically are you refering to as flagstone? I have heard the word bandied about alot, but I am not clear on the parameters.

  2. Joel Cooper says

    Christine, I started calling some designs of mine “flagstones” for their appearance: that is, the polygonal twists on one side of the paper ended up butted close together side to side like paving stones. All of the designs that had this look were down with a similar technique of combining twists one side with counter-twists on the reverse. Others have experimented with this style, notably Peter Greets (syngola on Flickr) and he has organized his flagstones in a set on Flickr:
    Seeing them all together might help elucidate what the term refers to. There is still some debate as to what exactly is a “flagstone” since the word was originally merely to describe the appearance, but it also implies a particular technique that was used to obtain that appearance.

  3. Christine says

    Thanks Joel,

    I suspected as much, going back and looking at a few tess’s I did clarified what you meant about using both sides. I never noticed the connection between that action and the flagstrone result.

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