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.