Trip to Ohio - Part 1

I haven't posted in a while, because I was visiting friends and family in Ohio for a few weeks.  The trip wasn't entirely unproductive, though.  I brought with me a stack of triangular grid paper, some commercial origami square paper, and one of my current drawings with me.  The challenge was thus:  create four new origami tessellations and finish a drawing.  This post shall focus on the origami side of things.

Creating a new tessellation - at this time in my origami career (...origami career?) - is about one part design and one part experimentation.  Quite a bit of my design time was spent trying to create psuedo-fractal patterns.  I started by drawing systems of triangles that spiraled out and became iteratively smaller, but the spiraling design I prefer creates a very unique problem that I haven't come close to cracking.  Once I make some headway and better define the problem I'll write a short blog about it - a very mathy blog post at that.  Though I was unable to create a fractal pattern, I became fascinated by triangular patterns and quickly folded this after a couple hours of finagling.

Triangle Tesselation 1.0

I really liked the way it turned out, though folding the smallest triangles are fairly complicated to fold very precisely.  It reminds me a lot of a simple trellis.  The same pattern was then folded on a larger grid (64 horizontal divisions), which turned out like this.

Triangle Tesselation 1.0, extended

This level of prototyping allows me to see almost exactly what my standard lamp template will look like, as I use a 64-division grid on my lamps as well.  Once I finally got back to Portland, I quickly folded this lamp from that design.

Lamp 02 (2013) - starched mulberry paper
The scale of this lamp is what I like the most.  I was able to make some long, crisp folds after the paper was starched, which makes for some very nice, sharp triangles.  For anyone interested, I have the lamp for sale on my Etsy store.

Unfortunately, I was only able to complete two more designs during my trip, and they look like this.

Star Flower ver 1.0
Star Flower ver 1.1

Star Flower 1.2

Diamond Trellis ver 1.0
The Star Flower pattern is fairly pleasing, but it takes a lot of time to fold and could still use some improvement.  Right now, the stars themselves run into each other and I think it could be improved by framing each star in a hexagon, as in the initial designs, or by thinning the individual petals (using more acute angles).  The Diamond Trellis also can use some refinement to "lock" the paper in place better along the horizontal axis.  It wasn't obvious that there needed to be refinement until I tried to wrap the test piece into a cylinder and all of the diamonds jutted out strangely.

Though I fell short of my goal of four new designs, I did make several more initial design ideas and thought about the process for developing some designs that are currently beyond my skill/patience.

On a final note, I started learning how to use a piece of origami design software called 'Tree Maker' by Robert J. Lang.  It's a wonderful, open-source, tool for making uniaxial bases.  An origami base is simply the starting point for a design.  For example, if you want to create a spider, you need a base with a minimum of eight 'flaps', one for each of the legs, and probably two additional flaps for the head and abdomen.  A generic mammal has a six-flap base (head, tail, four legs).  Without going into too much detail, all this means is that I am going to start designing representational models soon, in addition to the tessellations.  Hopefully I'll have the skill required to bring my visions to paper life, and I will be sure to share the results on this blog (if they are not too embarrassing).

Next entry will be about the drawing, 'The Watcher', I completed whilst I was in Ohio.  I have a few 'in progress' pictures to share, for those of you who are interested in seeing such a thing.

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