Modular Origami

Last week at Origami Minnesota, we had a swap day. People brought in books, diagrams and paper that they had no intention of using in the near future and then people like me claimed them! I got a few new books, of which I am excited. One in particular I wanted to write a bit about. It uses a style of origami often referred to as modular origami. Instead of taking a single sheet and folding a whole model out of it, the process involves several sheets, each one a piece of the whole.

The book I now have on the subject is written in Japanese, so I'm not sure what the title is (if you can translate, I'd appreciate it!). It uses a form of modules that each look identical to one another, but combine to build an interesting whole. It reminds me a lot of the days when I played with Legos. Each block was rather nondescript and boring, but several blocks combined could build a spaceship or castle.

As my first attempt, I made a fish. 

It was not the same experience as folding from a single sheet. I made 28 identical pieces and then plugged them together. Unfortunately, just plugging the flaps into the pockets is not that simple. The flaps don't always want to stay in the pocket, especially when there are a lot of flaps in the same pocket. 

I imagine that people who like knitting patterns and cross-stitching patterns would like the designs I found in the book, but I wasn't all that excited, myself. I think in the near-term, I'll stick with origami from a single sheet. Maybe in the long-term, I'll take another look at this style again. 


Robert Lang Lecture

Gustavus Adolphus College hosted a night with Robert Lang as part of their Rydell Professorship program. It was at the Science Museum of Minnesota where he gave us his standard lecture: From Flapping Birds to Space Telescopes. I've seen it once before, but it was nice to hear it again.

Origami Minnesota also had a presence at the event. We have a neat new flyer, which has been printed on origami sheets!

I think it was a pretty great idea. We also taught some people how to fold cranes for the Cranestorm project, which has reached 70,000+ cranes! They still need almost 30,000 more.

If you want to see Lang's lecture for yourself, it's best to try and catch one of his live lectures, but there is a little bit online. Unfortunately, neither of the following links covers the total content of the lecture. :(

=>The IMA lecture is cut short, because they did not get permission to post all of the lecture. 

=>The TED lecture is short because TED limits their speakers to 18 minutes on stage, while Lang's lecture can fill up an hour, easy. 

Still, I hope you enjoy it!


Woven Star

In October I met a woman at the Scrap Paper Airplanes event at the library. She gave me a sixteen pointed star made of strips of paper. It was pretty awesome, but there wasn't time to sit down and learn how to make it just then. So last week, we met at the library and made a few so that I now know how to make them!

This is my first attempt at weaving paper together to make origami. I've always focused on using a single sheet of paper without cuts, for the sake of purity. There's a beauty in knowing that you can fold the model anywhere at any time with nearly any single sheet. The universality is nice. So it's cool to find something that makes me question that puritanical streak.

This star model is woven together out of four strips of paper. I cut mine from a 8.5 x 11 inch sheet, making 1cm strips. A good size strip would be about 1 x 28, maybe a little shorter.

The woman who taught me had learned it from her mother years ago. I did a little research and found that they are often called Moravian stars because of their resemblance to the illuminated decorations. They are also known as German stars, Swedish stars and Froebel's star. I found a good site that talks about strip folding and has information about this star in particular.

These pictures probably aren't enough for you to divine the fold pattern, so if you want to try your hand, I recommend these diagrams

Good luck!