Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Barber's Pole Box - Completed CPs

After a few days of slog the crease patterns for the various forms of Barber's Pole Box have been completed. Samples are set out below.

The task of diagramming the details will have to wait until some other time. I need a break from this model for a while.

My next projected task is to do more work on the Fish Base Box. It has two tall bases which need to be folded from good paper and photographed. Expect to see the results here in a couple more days.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Barber's Pole Box: Version 3

Not all origami creations spring into existence in a perfect form or a with a perfect folding sequence. Mine are no exception.

The original Barber's Pole Box had two minor flaws.

1. The under side of the base looked slightly untidy because of the double edges which showed at some of the seams.

2. The lid was difficult to assemble.

Since I thrive on spatial problem solving I have spent several days working on ways to overcome these problems. The search produced several variations along the way, some of which survived.

THE BASE. The displayed crease pattern produces a base which is neater on the underside and removes some of the bulk of the sides by tucking them under the floor rather than triple folding them up the walls. The pattern of the floor changed slightly and became a little looser. My first attempt to rectify this problem was to halve the outer edges and tuck them under. Unfortunately this distastefully exposed the tucked under wall sections. Quartering the sections produced a more aesthetic result and that is what is diagrammed here.

The following crease pattern produces a lid which looks the same on the outside as the original lid but is much easier to assemble. The pattern on the inside is the same but the depth levels are reversed: the outer edges are now over the center section instead of under it.

Unfortunately understanding how the floor of each unit is interconnected is not obvious from the Crease Pattern and not particularly intuitive. The floor and the wall ends are tucked around each other to form a secure unit without loose and floppy edges. You may come across the method on your own but you will probably have to wait for 3D diagramming or photographic examples to achieve enlightenment.

The CP includes a variation to the apex of the stripe which is now narrowed to a finer point. Different looks can be created by tucking the two halves under the adjacent section together or tucking one half differently from the other. Pictures explain this much better than words.

Narrowing the apex by folding in the other direction results in exposure of the underlying pattern at the center and can give rise to a number of interesting textures.

Still another alternative is to construct a lid using a modification of the pattern for the underside of the base section. Here is the crease pattern for that also.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Bulb-Stem-Flower Vase

The last two days have been spent developing an earlier hexagonal base proto-folding into a flower vase. I have called it the Bulb-Stem-Flower Vase because that is what it looks like. The base of the vase has indentations which look like bulbs. The mid section has slits which look like stems. The top section has projections which look like petals. And the interior has foldings which look like the internal structure of a flower.

I developed a colored paper pattern which emphasizes these elements and also assists with folding. This is fortunate, because the model is based on multiples of five which can be difficult to fold accurately, even with a division template.

The most difficult part of the model may well be the process of printing the design on an inkjet printer so that the front and back are in the same orientation and the setting has been adjusted so that the ink dries between coatings and does not smudge. The shinier the paper, the longer this takes. It is also necessary to allow the paper to dry completely before folding the model or you will add to the smudges.

Here is how this model began its life. Apart from the coloring, there is actually not much that is different between this model and its development.

The three models shown here were printed on different papers: flat white 80#text copy paper, Wausau 70#text Royal Metallics White Gold paper (white with a pale yellow glint) and Gruppo Cordenons 80#text Stardream Opal metallic paper (very pale yellow with a white sheen).

The plain copy paper (front right) worked fairly well. It had the clearest brightest colors and folded well. This example lacks the maroon internal flower coloring which was added to the later models.

The Wausau paper (front left) was the least successful. The ink ran and smudged badly, something which may have been avoided by allowing the printing on the front of the sheet to dry before printing the pattern on the back. One of the edges tore slightly while being folded. The paper is thinner than the 80#text but still holds its shape well. Its main advantage is that it has a slight sheen which shines through the printed colors.

The Stardream paper (center back) was the most successful. It also smudged, but not nearly as badly.
It was good to fold, did not tear and was a perfect weight. The mica coating on the paper makes it water resistant but I think the inkjet colors remain water soluble even when dry. While the printed colors on this paper are the most muted of the three, the sheen which shows through them is wonderful. I would like to think that the mica coating on the paper makes it water resistant but I think the inkjet colors on top of it will prove to be water soluble.

Here are the paper patterns for the front and the back of the vase.

The front pattern is 8 inches wide by a little over 9 inches tall so it will print on either American Letter or A4 paper. Make sure your printer centers the images on the paper. Do a test run to make sure that you put your paper back in the tray in the correct orientation for correct back-to-back printing.

The pattern for the back of the paper has been extended around the edges to allow for sloppy printer alignment. It is about 8.2 inches wide so it should still print on an A4 sheet. Be sure to print the images out in their actual size. Do not let our printer adjust them to fit the page or they may not line up, even with the in-built fudge factor.

Here are the crease patterns. Please note that the crease patterns are shown on the "colored" side of the paper and not the "white" (back) side as per usual. This model is easiest to make if you work from the front.

Start by making the preliminary grid creasings. It should be relatively easy to find landmarks for these on the colored pattern. Next add the mountain creases outlining the three axes.

Begin the third diagram by firming up the creases in that picture which you have already made. Now add the valley fold spokes. These are made by bringing two mountain fold spokes in to meet on the line which connects the center points of the edges. Be careful not to fold these lines all the way to the apex as this will make it difficult to form the "bulb" at the base.

The creases around the edge are formed by halving the tips of the overlapping material which ends up on the inside of the vase. Turn the results over the top to form the petals. Shape them as you wish. Your model is complete. Send me a photo.

This has been a somewhat frustrating model to develop. Wrestling with color printers is not my idea of fun, especially when they ruin perfectly good pieces of special paper. I managed to contribute to this process by making more "fool folds" than usual. The camera angles are designed to hide them. A "fool fold" is a fold you make in the wrong place or in the wrong direction through a deficiency
of brain juice which is at least temporary in nature.

The fact that the color printer is housed in a dark corner of my husband's relatively impenetrable study did not help my humor. Navigating Peter's study needs mountaineering gear, a compass and a good health insurance plan. First he insists on littering it with all the packing boxes which his computer equipment came in. He insists that this is absolutely necessary "so I can move them safely elsewhere". Then he uses the floor as essential "flat space" to store just about everything so that it "can be easily seen". This does not work too well as he is constantly loosing things under the many layers which accumulate on and around the box collection. He would make an excellent member of Monty Python's Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things. It is hard for me not to add to the layers by falling on top of them, which would probably make me an honorary Member.

In spite of the frustrations, the model has been completed. I think the results are worth it. Do you?

It turns out that bulb-like sinkings in vases are not unique inventions of mine. Christine Edison provides details of a Septimus Vase inspired by Phillip Chapmen Bell which also has these items surrounding the basal section.

I had not seen either Edison's or Chapmen Bell's models before I came up with mine. As is often the case, the inventions were independently made in a roughly similar time period.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Christmas Star Box

Several days before Christmas, a number of my friends were e-mailed copies of the crease pattern for my Christmas Star Box. Unfortunately several of these people did not receive it. Either their filters tagged the document as spam because the header contained multiple recipients or it was blocked because the file exceeded the allowable byte limit.

The CP was published in Anna’s annual Designer’s Christmas Collection,. Since this magazine is restricted to contributers I am publishing the CP here as well. That way every one can enjoy a belated Christmas present. (I hope this does not contravene the agreement on non-publication of the material elsewhere until early this year.)

The model starts with a hexagon. The CP can be resized and printed out on a laser or inkjet printer. The mountain folds are painted as unbroken red lines instead of the standard dot and dash line which tends to show up poorly on models which are folded from print-out patterns
. Follow the thumbnails for an idea of the collapse process.

Berry's Blog

Apparently my carefully crafted title has been modified in some quarters to Berry’s Blog. This keeps the alliterative nature and has the advantage of advancing its alphabetical order a notch. The disadvantage is that the joke is lost on those who are outside my circle of close friends and origami nuts, many of whom happily share both labels.

People who are introduced to my nickname for the first time usually ask for an explanation of its origins. Like many of these tags, it has a humorous beginning. One of my Australian acquaintances, like many other people, commonly mispronounced my name as “Rose Merry”. Now I may be merry, but it is not part of my name. Nor was this my parent’s intention. They gave my name the standard upper class British twist and pronounced it “Rose-mree”. The last half is unstressed.

This was to be expected as my father was Welsh born and spent his formative language years in England and my Australian-born mother had pretensions toward British literary grandeur and the sanctioned superiority of Buckingham Palace pronunciation. During the Howard era, the Australian Tourist Bureau promotionals glorified the Australian dialect spoken by the least educated citizens of that country. Contrary to the assumptions of most Americans, it is spoken by less than thirty percent of Australian citizens. Until quite recently, a slight tendency towards upper class British linguistic traditions was the standard for public broadcasting. This cultured Australian English is still quite noticeable among the intellectual elite in Australia.

One day my working-class mis-pronouncing friend arrived at my house with a cold. Her grated greeting was further trashed by the effects of nasal congestion. The vocal offering was Rose Berry. Since my friend delighted in stressing the differences between our dialects, the mis-pronunciation stuck. I became Berry to some of my friends.

What should you call me? I answer happily to either Berry or Rose-mree and you are welcome to use either.

I answer to other things as well. During the earning of my first four-year professional degree I was elected as student representative for a time. Unfortunately my full name did not fit on the notification sheet and it was shortened to Ros. Among the playful, this was transmogrified to Rozberry. Don’t call me this unless you know me well and are prepared for the consequences – in both senses

During my time in Indonesia I modified my name to account for the linguistic traditions in the area. I became Ibu Ros (pronounced E-boo Rrrrroz). If you speak Indonesian you are welcome to call me this.

I do make allowances for the linguistic failings of my current climate and have learned to tolerate being referred to as Rose-merry and even Rose-MARE-ee. That last one sounds as if I am some kind of female horse. I have been in the US so long now that I rarely notice when people use these variations. In fact, these days, I am more likely to notice if they get it right.

My husband, Peter, is another story. Prepare to be corrected if you refer to him as Pet-er instead of Pet-ә. For those of you without a background in linguistics, that strange upside down and back the front e-symbol is called a schwa. It is used for the unstressed sound you make for the first letter in the English word "above". Australians use this sound to pronounce the spelled -er combination at the end of words. So do the Brits. While the standard American pronunciation makes more sense in terms of letter-to-sound translation it is not yer standard Ozzie lingo, mate.

If you can’t manage to say Peter's name correctly then you could try conversing by email. This may be your best bet anyway. In fact, his work phone is equipped with a recorded message that advises this and you could find he answers email faster than his phone. Or not. You can be sure that he will not answer either if he is in the middle of a hang-gliding flight. But we are getting rather too far away from the original topic here.

I had best stop before I incur one of Peter's random threats to divorce me. Mind you, I don’t take these terribly seriously as they occur in response to the most trivial of events. Our son Tristan has taken to threatening us with similar consequences if we fail to provide him with sufficient computer or television watching time. I rate his complaints as the graver threat.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Lid for the Barber's Pole Box

Some days things flow smoothly and some days they don't. Today was one of the irksome latter type. Designing a lid for the Barber's Pole Box seemed as if it should have been easy but it was not.

The aim was to make the lid follow the contour of the base and compliment this with an appropriate twist at the top.

Making a top which was identical to the base, just shorter and wider, did not work. The problem was that the height of the American Letter sized sheet did not lend itself to this. Making the lid from a square didn't help either. In fact, it caused all kinds of headaches relating to how it interfaced with the twist design in the base. I got tangled up in complex divisions (ninths) and complicated foldings which just added bulk.

Once, when it seemed that I had got something that looked effective, it proved to be insufficiently sturdy: the lid came apart fairly easily.
My policy is to make boxes and containers that not only look good but lock well and don't present problems in use. In other words, they are designed to be functional art forms.

The process was not helped at all by the fact that I was using working paper which was left over from a set of mailed flyers we laser printed a couple of years back. It was stiff and horrible and tore under stress. By mid-morning my temper had began to fray to match to paper.

Finally, towards the end of the day, I came up with something which pleased me. By this time I had redesigned the base and re-thought the lid. The box-and-lid version of the base is now vertically symmetrical, slightly shorter and quite "tidy". It is also extremely sturdy, although a little bulky in places. The base is made, once again, from 4 sheets of American Letter paper (but the pattern will work with A4) and the lid is made from 4 slightly wider squares of paper. The lid is a little too snug, especially for thick paper. Instead of the specified 1/8" I would recommend removing about 3/16th of an inch from the width of the paper for the base.

The box-and-lid has won some "friends" already. Even my husband wants one. Apparently he thinks it will make a good piece to show to his workmates in explanation of what his "crazy wife" does with her "spare" time.

This is not a box for a beginning folder. Like it's maternal counterpart, both the box and the lid are difficult to assemble. Having made several of these things by now, I have discovered a few tricks which considerably help the assembly process, but they are hard to explain or draw. Diagramming this part of the procedure will almost certainly be added to my collection of origami nightmares.

Of course, some of my more talented readers may come up with something elegantly simple which I will wish I had thought of myself. One of the nice things about this art form is that enthusiasts are invariably quite willing to share their insights and expertise with other folders.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Crease Patterns for the Fish Base Box

A reader requested a pattern for the Fish Base Box.

Here are CPs for the items shown in the photos in a previous posting: the main Lid and the Short Base box. Both are made from the traditional paper square and both begin with fish base foldings on two axes.

Photos and CPs for the other formats will follow. Diagrams will take longer and will probably be submitted for publication in an origami magazine or convention collection.

Difficult Divisions in Origami

Easy origami models generally confine themselves to equal divisions which are easy to obtain by simple folding methods, that is, binary divisions in the 2-4-8-16 series. The origami difficulty index is raised when it is necessary to divide the paper into equal non-binary sections.

There are a number of ways of doing this, most of them highly mathematical. In fact, origami may be described, perhaps a little loosely, as a branch of applied mathematics. According to someone named Julie, quoted on the Origami USA O-list lately, you know you are addicted to origami if "you confuse your geometry teacher with origami proofs". To which Andrew Hudson replied: "I did that once. It was awkward. They just don't understand..." Andrew is doubtless referring to those unusual mathematicians who have no background in origami. Of course I realize that there may be some dispute in some quarters over which of the two groups is better described by the adjective.

Other methods of dividing into equal non-binary sections involve trial and error and approximations.

The end result, in these cases, is almost invariably a piece of starter paper with lines which are unrelated to the creases required for the integrity of the target model which may mar the visual impact of that model. Pinch creases and "soft" folding can help reduce this problem but it does not eliminate it entirely.

My favorite method of dividing into non-binary divisions is to use a template of parallel and equally spaced lines which are a little smaller than the divisions I want to make on my model paper. I line one corner of my model paper up against the bottom of the "zero" line and move the horizontally opposite corner of my model paper up until it hits the line corresponding to the number of divisions I wish to make. The paper is held down firmly with one hand while the other brings the corner over to the line marked "one". Line up the edges at the top and the bottom and crease carefully. The resulting crease will provide a relevant division in the middle section of the paper which can be used to obtain the other creases in the series by simple binary folding.

The reason for lining the corner up with the first, instead of the penultimate, line in the required series is that this gives the greatest degree of edge matching area and thus improves the accuracy of the fold.

I like to turn the paper upside down and repeat this process on the opposite end. This gives me two middle section creases to work with.

Here is a sample of the paper division helper template I constructed for my own use.

You can download a PDF of the template here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Barber's Pole Box

Diagramming is tedious and I need to take breaks. Sometimes the breaks interfere with the next session of diagramming. Today I invented another box in a break. This is not an unusual occurrence. It adds another level of complexity to the diagramming task, however, as I am then in a rush to commence diagramming the new item while I am still enthusiastic about it and/or before I forget how I folded it.

Sometimes new designs take weeks to complete. Fortunately the design process on this one was fairly quick. I worked from a proto-folding I made a few days ago in the middle of exploring another idea. I discarded the proto-folding idea after about ten minutes. After another hour I discarded the next version as well. Version three worked out quite well but presented a problem during assembly. This was fairly quickly ironed out to produce version four, which appeared to be a winner.

Here is a crease pattern for version four. It's modular so make four pieces. Unfortunately getting the last piece to slide under its neighbor is not a pleasant process. Sharpen your fingers into long thin points or, if you don't like that suggestion, use a couple of pairs of small pliers to manipulate the paper.

If you are a talented paper folder of exceptional intelligence you may come up with an assembly solution which is less problematic. In this case I want to know about it. If you are a folder of only moderate skill and intelligence and you come up with a better solution I will reserve the right to re-classify you according to the previous criteria in order to save face and refrain from admitting my incompetence.

The Fish Base Box

Today I am continuing to diagram the Fish Base box and its variations. The original lid was rather loosely inspired by a very simple bowl design posted on an origami site in Europe. It would be hard to find obvious similarities between that design and what you see here but it kicked off the creative process.

My design progressed to include an alternative lid which allowed a decorative insert and three bases: one short and two long ones.

In the Beginning ...

Some time in the year 2002 I needed to make an open box of a specific size to fill in a hole in a stationary supplies drawer. I wanted to prevent the existing containers slipping like shoreline surf every time I opened or closed the drawer. I recalled that, at some time in my past, I had learned to make a simple paper box without the need for scissors or glue. I couldn't recall the details so I went searching on the internet to see if I could find some instructions. That was my undoing.

Not only did I find the instructions for the box I was searching for but I found a whole lot more. At that time the Fabric Origami website had on-line instructions for a set of Tomoko Fuse boxes. I downloaded them all and printed them out.

Shortly after this I was carted off to the local hospital with a blocked bile duct and then rushed to San Francisco for emergency surgery. The acute attack subsided and I was scheduled for Monday morning surgery instead of immediate intervention. Feeling almost well, I was forced to wait out the weekend in an un-stimulating hospital room with little to do. I persuaded my husband to bring in the recently acquired origami instructions and some paper. Life was never the same after that.

To begin with I folded every box pattern in the collection and gave the results away to anyone who visited my room and expressed an interest in what I was doing. The hospital social worker said she had never seen anything quite like it.

Within six months of the onset of the obsession I had created my first original model: a box inspired by the traditional origami twist-folded purse. Unlike the original, mine had walls and could hold a lot more items.

I continued to create, concentrating on containers and other items with practical uses.

About a year later I joined the British Origami Society and mailing list and discovered people with whom I could share my obsession. A couple of years later one of my postings was cross-posted to the American O-list and my reply to the reply resulted in the discovery of a group rather closer to where I was living.
Unfortunately there were no folding groups in the San Francisco East Bay and I had too many health and family problems to visit the groups in San Francisco city and San Jose.

I started to photograph my creations and uploaded them to the only forum I had available at the time: the web-based family photo album. You will find it here. This was less than perfect and not visible to the average search engine. My work continued to be largely invisible except to my friends and neighbours.

Once I began to diagram my work and ask for test-folding assistance things began to change. I discovered that there were people outside my immediate community who liked what I was doing and were eager to see more.

Eventually I became a fee-paying member of Origami USA. I attended my first convention in New York (2007) and my second in Vancouver at the end of the same year. I exhibited at the first one and taught at the second. My public origami life had begun in earnest.

I began preparing an origami book several months ago. It is taking a lot longer to write than I expected. There are many days when I doubt my ability to complete it or wonder if such an exercise is really worth the effort.

Meanwhile, completed diagrams and crease patterns are being accepted for publication in various magazines and there are links to my on-line photo album instructions from other web sites.

The resources of the photo album are, however, quite limited. This blog is an attempt to make my work more available to others and to record my creative journey. I hope you enjoy it.