Origami

Or so the Mantra of the Origami Purist goes. I can't say I stick to all those rules, though. Often my models start with a square, but by no means always. I try and avoid cutting the paper once I have started folding, and I try to avoid using glue, but sometimes, just to get the job done, it is necessary. And noone else seems to mind too much ...

On the right are pictures of some of the Origami models I have made recently. Most of these do not involve cutting or glue. Click on the image to get a better view.

Don't forget to visit the 'Photos' section of the site, where you will find a larger collection

In the 'Links' section of the site you will find an 'Origami' category - search that for links to other websites with origami content

If there is anything you would particularly like to see here, feel free to let me know via the feedback page.

World Record for number of Origami Elephants

I contributed to the recent shattering of this world record, in a bid to raise the elephant's profile in the world. See the new Blog section for more information.

Videos of me Folding

You can see examples of me doing origami made by an organisation called Video Jug here.

This site will let you view four videos for 'free', after which it asks you to register - also free - but they have quite a few examples of me demonstrating paper folding techniques.

More recently, I did a gig at BBC Essex, which was videoed and can be seen here.

Models

The models I like to make range from the very simple to the extremely complex. I enjoy making action models, and models that have a surprise of some sort. I have had the occassional phase of modular folding, but generally find this very tiresome after a while. My many favourite designers include Robert Lang, John Montroll, David Brill, Robert Harbin, Eric Joisel, Marc Kirschenbaum, and many Japanese folders.

Famous Origami Designers whose work I admire

Here are some of my favourite origami designers. To avoid repeating stuff already out there, I will include links to existing sites (either their own, or Wikipedia or somewhere ...).

I no doubt will be adding to this list over time ...

Materials

All you need for Origami is some paper, clean hands that work and a bit of patience, care and precision when folding.

An interest in problem-solving also helps as following the diagrams for a model involves lots of little puzzles, You are constantly asking yourself 'how do I get this thing in my hands to look like the next diagram ?'

Persistence will help too, as often with more complex models, your initial efforts may split apart or tear, or just turn to mush. As with many things in life, the more you practice, the better you will get.

Just refuse to surrender ! It's only paper, after all.

I use a variety of different papers, ranging from ordinary photocopier paper through various types of specially made origami paper, to tissue foil, which I make myself by sandwiching aluminium cooking foil between two sheets of tissue paper. You can get the foil from your local food or hardware store, tissue from any good art supplies shop, and some spray mounting glue to hold the layers together again available from an art supply shop. Some people use wallpaper paste instead of spray glue. I haven't tried this though.

Books

When I started folding in the mid-sixties, finding books on origami was very difficult, but now there are many thousands of books on the subject, The British Origami Society (see below) has what is believed to to be the largest collection of origami related material in the world, which members can borrow by mail-order. If you want to buy your own books, Amazon carry a wide selection of both books and paper. For more specialist materials, check out the 'Links' section of this site, or use Google to search the interweb.

Click on the 'Library' tab and this will open up my list of origami books. If you are looking for something specific, put this in the 'Keyword' field, and hit 'Search'. The system will then search the library for your keyword entry, and display the hits highlighted so you can see them easily. I have included in the 'Comment' column all the models for each book, so it is easier to find what I have 'in stock'.

Commissions

You can use the feedback page if you want to engage my Origami services. I am happy to get involved with anything with a paper-folding slant to it, including workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, advertising, teaching and so on. I am extremely reliable and very easy to work with. Although I do not rely on Origami to provide me with an income, I want to be fair, and will turn down work if the fee for a commercial engagement is unrealistically low.

Please also be aware that I prefer to work in a friendly, colaborative way. If you engage my services after being sent a quote from me, you are entering into a legally enforcable contract, which I must insist on being settled in full as agreed during our initial negotiations (provided of course you are completely satisfied with my work. If this is not the case, please tell me !). I mention this because I have done work for some clients who have subsequently been reluctant to pay, arguing that 'it is just paper', and 'what are you going to do about it ?'. It's not just the money, but more the principle, and if such a situation arises, I will not hesitate to stop all further work, request that any models sent to you are either returned or destroyed, approach the Small Claims Court for settlement, and ensure you are put on a 'black-list' maintained by the BOS. I am sure it won't come to that.

Whilst I don't charge as much for my work as a lawyer, I do think my skills and knowledge are every bit as specialist.

If I can't undertake the work myself, I can help you with my extensive network of Origami enthusiasts to find someone suitable.

The British Origami Society

If you would like to know more about Origami, have a look at the British Origami Society website. As a member of BOS, you will receive a bi-monthly newsletter containing news and other information about paper-folding from around the world contributed by a membership of around 700, access to one of the largest origami libraries in the world, and many other benefits. BOS is probably one of the most active of the Origami societies, and surprisingly, we have more foreign members than British ones. In the Spring and Autumn, we have our convention weekends, when we all get together to learn more from each other. We have folding sessions, where we teach new models, and we usually have a famous folder as a guest to show us their work. Between the two big conventions, there are also mini-meetings in various parts of the country, usually held monthly.

Eric Joisel's Grave

Eric Joisel was a friend of mine who I met at one of the BOS conventions, where he was a guest. We became fiends, but then he fell victim to the evil weed, developing lung cancer, which eventually killed him.

I don't often tell people what to do or what not to do, but in this case I will make an exception. DON'T SMOKE !, or as Eric would put it, FUMEZ PAS !.

It's expensive, antisocial and not clever, and it can be very debilitating. It brought Eric to a premature end, and also killed my Dad.

Anyway, rant over. If you would like to see the grave of Eric Joisel and his family, look here .

Origami Theory

It turns out that there is a wealth of Mathamatics and Science behind the simple act of folding a piece of paper. Over the last twenty or thirty years many mathamaticians and engineers have focused on different aspects of this art form.

As a result, there have emerged many practical applications, including:

  • Deployment of airbags in cars so that they do not injure the occupants
  • Deployment of solar panels on satelites, so they do not jam
  • self-folding maps
  • Stents
    Axioms

    Seven axioms (called Huzita–Hatori axioms) have been derived to keep the maths purists happy. You can see these described here.

    It has also been proved via a 'thought experiment' that absolutely anything can be folded from a sheet of paper if that paper is thin enough and big enough. The thinking is 'Take a long narrow sheet of paper and wrap the object of interest. Once completely covered, it is always possible to cut the wrapping off of the object so that it will be flat. Any 'holes' can be filled with paper and folded out of the way, to create a model of the original object.' Something like that !



  • ModelDescriptionDesigner
      This is a swan I have made in the style of Golden Venture Origami, believed to have been invented by the Chinese when they were impounded for several months trying to enter New York. The style is after the name of the ship they were on. This is a swan I have made in the style of Golden Venture Origami, believed to have been invented by the Chinese when they were impounded for several months trying to enter New York. The style is after the name of the ship they were on. Mark Plant
      This is another swan made in the style of Golden Venture Origami, that I was commissioned to repair. It has had a bit of a history and was much 'skinnier' than it is now, as it had been subjected to various attempts at maintenance. I had to provide quite a few new modules to bring it back to it's former glory. It is used by a professional artist as her trademark at exhibitions, and so travels all over the world. It now has a proper box to protect it in transit. I should have stuck my business card on it ! This is another swan made in the style of Golden Venture Origami, that I was commissioned to repair. It has had a bit of a history and was much 'skinnier' than it is now, as it had been subjected to various attempts at maintenance. I had to provide quite a few new modules to bring it back to it's former glory. It is used by a professional artist as her trademark at exhibitions, and so travels all over the world. It now has a proper box to protect it in transit. I should have stuck my business card on it ! Unknown
      This is Tom Hull's FIT - Five Interlocking Tetrahedra - a great model, which is made up of 30 identical modules, locked together in a particular way to achieve the symmetry. This is Tom Hull's FIT - Five Interlocking Tetrahedra - a great model, which is made up of 30 identical modules, locked together in a particular way to achieve the symmetry. Tom Hull
      A herd of John Montroll's elephants have taken up residence on my DVD player ! A herd of John Montroll's elephants have taken up residence on my DVD player ! John Montroll
      This frog is an action model - the mouth opens and closes. This frog is an action model - the mouth opens and closes. unknown
      Fred Rohm's model of a rabbit standing on a dice. Fred Rohm's model of a rabbit standing on a dice. Fred Rohm
      These roses are always popular. the vase is a traditional Japanese fold. These roses are always popular. the vase is a traditional Japanese fold. unknown
      This is made out of 30 Sonobe units locked together. This is made out of 30 Sonobe units locked together. unknown
      A parrot that will sit on your glass or finger, using it's spring-loaded feet. Very popular in pubs ! A parrot that will sit on your glass or finger, using it's spring-loaded feet. Very popular in pubs ! Patricia Crawford
      Another example of the FIT. This is one of my favourite models. Does it show ? Another example of the FIT. This is one of my favourite models. Does it show ? Tom Hull
      This model tends to splay apart, so I tried wet-folding it to make it keep together. Seems to have done the trick. This model tends to splay apart, so I tried wet-folding it to make it keep together. Seems to have done the trick. Peter Engel - Origami for the Connossieur
      Bird I designed myself. Bird I designed myself. Mark Plant
      Another cute little model, designed originally by Komatsu. Another cute little model, designed originally by Komatsu. Komatsu
      Down boy ! Down boy ! Patricia Crawford (I think)
      Something for the more romantically inclined. Something for the more romantically inclined. unknown
      A 3D paper swan - very nice to fold, and quite advanced for it's time. A 3D paper swan - very nice to fold, and quite advanced for it's time. Patricia Crawford
      John Montroll's horse from Origami Sculptures - one of my favourite folds. John Montroll's horse from Origami Sculptures - one of my favourite folds. John Montroll
      One of John Montroll's better elephant designs. One of John Montroll's better elephant designs. John Montroll
      Robert Lang's scarab beetle. Robert Lang's scarab beetle. Robert Lang
      The underside of the scarab - so insect-like ! The underside of the scarab - so insect-like ! Robert Lang
      The motorbike from Super Complex Origami. The motorbike from Super Complex Origami. Issei
      The motorbike from Super Complex Origami. The motorbike from Super Complex Origami. Issei
      The same rose model as before, folded using white photocopier paper. The same rose model as before, folded using white photocopier paper. unknown
      Modular Dodecahedran woven from strips of photocopier paper - you need paperclips to hold it together during construction. Modular Dodecahedran woven from strips of photocopier paper - you need paperclips to hold it together during construction. unknown
      Another dodecahedran, Another dodecahedran, unknown
      Constructed using a number of Sonobe units. Constructed using a number of Sonobe units. Sonobe ?
      Four interlocking triangles. Four interlocking triangles.
      Drummer and two guitarists folded on the request of a friend of mine who plays in such a setup as lead guitarist. This is one of my first attempts at using tissue foil. Drummer and two guitarists folded on the request of a friend of mine who plays in such a setup as lead guitarist. This is one of my first attempts at using tissue foil. Marc Kirschenbaum
      A small collection of models A small collection of models Various

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