Test fold: Helix

Helix

Helix

Last week I posted photos of some test folds of simple bent tubes. This design uses a series of eight bends to create a helix. I usually base my models on 16-sided tubes, but here I simplified to just 8 sides. Since the bends are all at different angles relative to the tube, the paper curves in three dimensions to approximate a helix instead of a flat doughnut. It’s interesting that a design like this with only straight folds can fold into such a curved-looking shape.

Test folds: Crimp-bent tubes

Wide and narrow crimp bends

Wide and narrow crimp bends

Most of the origami I’ve done for the past several years has been based on shaping tubes of paper in various ways, whether that’s by adding curves or intersecting the tubes with vertical or diagonal planes. One thing I’ve wanted to figure out for a while is how to create bends and curves in the paper tubes. I’ve explored some simpler approaches to that problem before, but this is the first approach I think I can realistically use as a part of a more complex model.

The concept here was inspired in part by my diagonal shift design. The top and bottom edges of the bend are both sine waves, which get folded such that they touch each other along the bend line. Inside, each gore has a small crimp to create a partial flat plane visible inside the model. The crimps all have slightly different angles, but the mathematical to find those angles is the same that I used for the diagonal shift.

Here’s the inside view for a simple tube of paper:

Inside view of the wide crimp bend

Inside view of the wide crimp bend

Things get a bit more complicated when there is already overlap of the paper along the outside of the tube, but the concept is the same. It’s harder to see, but there’s a similar partial plane of paper inside this one, too:

Inside view of the narrow crimp bend

Inside view of the narrow crimp bend

It’s a decent bit of work to measure and score all the appropriate lines for these, especially for the narrower tube, but the folding went more smoothly than I expected. Especially with a bit of wet-folding, all the crimps seem to form fairly easily. I have quite a few ideas of how I’d like to incorporate these into a variety of more complicated designs.

New Work: Origami/Ceramic Diagonal Shift Set

Origami-Ceramic Diagonal Shift Series

Origami-Ceramic Diagonal Shift Set

I’ve been working recently on pieces that combine origami and ceramics, and this set is a continuation of that exploration. For all three pieces, the bottom half is ceramic, and the top half is origami. These pieces are inspired by my diagonal shift series that was fully paper-based. For those pieces, the crease pattern I used only allowed the top half of the paper to shift “uphill” like the rightmost piece, but by combining media I was able to explore a wider range of possibilities.

I planned the angle of the diagonal plane so the uphill and downhill pieces would be shifted by similar distances from the center. Since all of these pieces are made very differently, I took pictures to show how all of these work:

Aligned piece

Aligned piece

Aligned piece construction

Aligned piece construction

The middle piece, where the origami and ceramic parts are aligned, is probably the most straightforward. I used a sine wave to find the correct diagonal plane to align with the ceramic piece, then folded the paper in a bit so the lower part would sit inside the ceramic piece.

"Uphill" shift

“Uphill” shift

"Uphill" shift construction

“Uphill” shift construction

The uphill shift piece is folded in essentially the same way as my other diagonal shift pieces. Like the aligned piece, the bottom part of the paper model sits inside the ceramic piece.

"Downhill" shift

“Downhill” shift

"Downhill" shift construction

“Downhill” shift construction

The downhill shift piece is the most different from what I’ve done before and the one that I don’t know how to fold cleanly from one piece of paper. The paper piece has a flat diagonal plane on the bottom similar to my previous diagonal shift pieces and a short “stem” that sits into the ceramic base. Because of the relative paper lengths, the stem is shifted toward the blue edge of the paper. But since the hole in the ceramic base is all the way at the lower edge, I can still get an overall downhill shift.

New Work: Ornament

Ornament

Ornament

As I’ve done the past several years, I designed a Christmas ornament this year. This ornament has a similar overall shape as my first ornament, with a band of diamonds similar to something I used in one of my earliest designs. On a narrower model, the diamonds are a lot more inset, which gives a different feel to the model.

As usual, this model is folded from Elephant Hide paper, painted with red and metallic acrylic paints.

New Work: Origami/Ceramic Wavy Vessel

Origami/ceramic wavy vessel

Origami/ceramic wavy vessel

This piece is a continuation of my exploration of pieces that combine origami and ceramics, and the first to branch away from shapes I had already created in paper. I made the ceramic piece on the wheel, then hand-built the asymmetric wavy edge onto it. The ceramic piece also has a bit of an internal ledge for the origami piece to rest on. The top origami piece is folded from a circle of paper. I placed the knob a little ways from the center of the circle so I could use the extra paper on one side for the matching wavy edge. The folding approach is pretty similar to one I’ve used before.

Origami/ceramic wavy vessel (top view)

Origami/ceramic wavy vessel (top view)

I like how this piece let me do something by combining media that would have been much more challenging with paper alone. It would be much harder to make a flat surface for the top piece to rest on in an origami base. The wave on the ceramic piece also hides that the bottom edge of the origami piece is raised on one side. I’m working on finding more ways of combining the two media that take advantage of the differences between paper and clay.

Book Feature: Un Nouvel Art du Pli

Art du Pli cover

I’m featured in a new book, Un Nouvel Art du Pli, by Jean-Charles Trebbi, Chloe Genevaux, and Guillaume Bounoure (written in French). It’s an honor to be featured alongside other origamists including Eric Joisel, Robert Lang, Paul Jackson, and Eric Gjerde, among many others. The book includes not just origami as art, but also applications of folding techniques to fields as diverse as fashion, architecture, furniture, and more. So far I think the book is only available in France, but I’m hoping this one will be translated and sold internationally like the original Art du Pli was.

New Work: Origami/Ceramic Fraction Bowl

Fraction bowl

Fraction bowl

This piece is a continuation of my exploring pieces that combine origami and ceramics. The shape is very similar to one of my earlier Intersection pieces. This is folded from Lizard Hide paper, and so far I’m very happy with how the paper folds. The colors didn’t photograph particularly well because of the difference in shine between the glaze and the paper, but the blue and the green go together better in real life.

New Work: Origami/Ceramic Split Bowl

Origami/ceramic split bowl

Origami/ceramic split bowl

Starting this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time working in a ceramics studio and start working on a series of pieces that incorporate both origami and ceramic parts. This is the first of that series from when I was first starting to re-learn how to use clay after a six-year hiatus, and I should be finishing some more similar pieces in the coming weeks. Since I made two halves of the clay piece, I also made two origami pieces:

Origami/ceramic split bowl (4 parts)

Origami/ceramic split bowl (4 parts)

The process for creating the combined pieces is a bit more complicated that just designing an origami piece. I started by making a round ceramic piece on the wheel, then cut it in half and added the flat planes once it was dry enough to hold its shape. Unlike in origami, it’s tough to plan the exact size of a ceramic piece because the clay shrinks during the drying and firing process, so I didn’t start the origami part until the ceramics were completely finished. That way, I could make sure the sizes of the two pieces matched up correctly.

The origami is folded from grainy paper, another of the new papers I’m trying out. I like the weight and foldability of this paper a lot. The wet-folding will take some adjustment, but I’m definitely interested in testing how this paper works for more complicated models.

New work: Faux wood vase

Faux wood vase

Faux wood vase

I bought some new types of paper from Brian Webb at the Centerfold convention in Columbus about a month ago, and this is the first one I’ve gotten to try. This model is folded from Bear Hide paper, but the color reminded me of stained wood (hence the name of this piece).

This was an interesting paper to try out, but it’s one I would only use again for simpler and more geometric models than this. The middle segment folded very nicely, but I had more trouble with the more subtle curves. It was a bit hard to wet-fold this paper, especially since my usual method of taping things in place tended to tear the top layer off the paper. But it’s nice to have a different selection of colors and learn how different papers behave.

New work: Wavy split bowl

Wavy split bowl

Wavy split bowl

This piece combines some of the organic designs I have folded with my Intersections series. Each half of the piece is folded from one uncut circle with one white side and one black side. I like the contrast created by the reversal of the two color patterns.

Since the rest of my Intersections pieces are folded from rectangles, the folding style here is a bit different; the circle allows for the extra paper around the outside to create the waves. The centers of the bowl are shifted away from the centers of the circles, so the waves only extend toward the outside of the bowls.