Friday, July 24, 2009


I made this paper quilt while listening the FM Serious Music program. I have named it after the host who happened to be presenting the program when I finished it: Paul Bachman. Perhaps his colleague, Vincent Caruso will have one named after him next time.

What appropriate names these guys have. Caruso was a famous singer. There were several Bachs. Johann Sebastian Bach had two wives and 22 children. CPE Bach was one of that multitude. PDQ Bach, on the other hand, is advertised by his promoter Peter Shicklee as being the "last and also the least of Bach's sons". In spite of his exceptional pieces for four handed organists and his extraordinary compositions for rarely heard instuments, such as the left-handed sewer flue and the American Police Horn, his works are rarely heard on the FM classical music programs. A pity.

This is not any indication of favoritism on my part: they are both excellent presenters. I have had the pleasure of being entertained by the two of them while I traveled from San Francisco to Los Angeles last weekend for my annual "pilgramage" the Origami Teach-in at the Japanese Gardens in the grounds of the Long Beach campus of the University of California.

It was a very long drive since I went the scenic route: along the 101 Interstate and some back roads between it and the I5 as it came into Los Angeles over the mountains. The I5 is a much quicker road but it is rather boring for most of the way. The San Joaquin Vally, being an ancient sea bed, is quite flat. I swapped speed for beauty, and enjoyed a great deal of classical music along the way as an added bonus, thanks to Paul and Vincent. Thanks guys.

There are similarities between this paper quilt and the previous quilt and between them the flower ball kusudamas I have been creating lately. They all have "carrier" units which hold decorative units as well as provide a firm link with the connecting pieces.

The back of the quilt is interesting in its own right.

This kind of paper connection can be used to paint a picture or write a message with "paper pixels". This kind of project takes a lot of pieces and demands quite an investment of time. I have a project of this nature in mind for next November's Pacific Coast Origami Convention (PCOC). With some enlisted help from folding groups in LA, SF and San Jose, I hope to finish it before this event.

As luck will have it, PCOC is in my home city this year. It is close enough to drive there and back each day. I may need sedatives, though. The parking in SF is almost non-existent which is a problem for someone like me who cannot walk great distances. Then there is the peak period traffic density between the city of SF and the city of Danville, in the East Bay. Still, that is probably the better option than trying to take the BART there and back with a suitcase of display items accompanying me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I have been working on a quilt this last week. Like many of my designs, it grew out of another project. Something about the way I was connecting a kusudama set off an idea which I modified and followed.

While the model could theoretically be continued until it was huge, I stopped at a 4 x 4 quilt. By this time I was getting quite bored with the repetition involved. Now I know why I don't specialize in modulars and huge kusudamas with umpteen tiny parts.

I would rate this as an intermediate level project. The quilt is easy to fold but the flower buttons are a little tricky to slot into place. Not fiendish, just annoying. The model is very firm and will take quite a bit of handling. It will NOT fall apart.

Storing it posed a problem. What I needed for my projects were several large pizza-shaped boxes. Unfortunately you cannot buy nice blank ones anywhere unless you buy about a thousand of them at a time, pay for all the ones you don't want and for the postage as well (which is usually about as much as they charge for the boxes themselves.

I solved the problem by taking myself down to the local pizza palour, explaining the situation and asking, nicely, if I could please have 5 large pizza take out boxes with absolutely no pizzas in them. The woman helpfully found 5 such boxes, charged me a dollar and told me, on my way out, that I was not the only person who had come in looking for take out boxes for storing items. So there is an idea for others to try out.

The model is made up of several different sections. The apparently continuous background is a trick of the eye caused by some careful designing. It is achieved by inserting or connecting several red pieces to the cream and fawn pieces. One of the pieces is simply a small square which is inserted into a host piece. One piece slots inside another which hides the connections underneath. The red "button flower" was invented to hide the gaps left by the intersection pieces between the units.

I have included a "cutting diagram" which shows the number of pieces needed for a module, and their relative sizes. The one shown was made from pieces which were 6", 4.5", 4" and 2.25" (for Americans who cannot cope with decimals this translates as 6", 4-1/2", 4" and 2-1/4" respectively).

The next diagram shows the crease patterns for these pieces. Naturally, the inserted "floor" of the top unit has no creases. I have added it there to remind you that it exists. :-)

The partially completed model gives you some idea how it is constructed.

The last photo shows all the items needed to make two modules. As in my completed sample, I have exchanged the colors of the nested squares on the second module. This picture provides a little more information about how the pieces are assembled.

The large square is folded first. The four side connectors are attached next. A triangle point is inserted into a side which is then folded under. This secures the connector to the square.

The connection is strengthened when the sides of the corner squares are turned under, and again, when the smaller square, with its added red floor, is slotted into these "picture corners". The connectors are shown upside down (revealing the pre-folding pattern) as well as the right way up for insertion into the carrying square. One piece is shown connected. Another is shown ready to insert.

Finally, cover the holes at the intersection points by carefully persuading the reluctant points of the flower button to slide under the edges of the corners of the surrounding squares. Cuss if it helps. I simply use a kitchen skewer and the discarded handle piece of those plastic milk bottles.

You can sometimes find the latter implement in the bottoms of the milk refrigerator in supermarkets. If the store takes its cleaning seriously you may have to ask the store manager or the milk department to save you some. At least some of the bottles arrive at the supermarket outlet with this molded piece still attached to the handle. The store generally pokes them out because the customer cannot otherwise pick up the bottle by the handle.