This is what happens…

…when Caltech doesn’t give me any work for the first two weeks:


Of course, since I took that picture, several more models have been added to the collection. I’ve been going through the nicer-looking models on Most of the ones I’ve been doing are listed under ‘complex,’ with a few under ‘intermediate,’ but I can for the most part place them into categories as follows:

  1. Straightforward and elegant. Which is not to say easy to fold with little prior experience; it merely means that I could understand the instructions, didn’t run into any problems in the folding, etc. These tend to make nice, simple-looking, and furthermore, recognizable models the first time around. (This category includes the eagle, caterpillar-on-a-leaf, and chameleon near the front of the picture, and probably the shark, as well.)
  2. Hard, but elegant. Similar to the first category, but requires either a long period of staring at the diagrams from oblique angles in an attempt to make sense of them or else going to outside help, such as youtube videos of the folding process. Of course, this category depends on prior experience, but there are definitely some folds out there which just can’t be portrayed in a 2D diagram. (This category includes the dragon, pegasus, horse, and perhaps the wasp in the back, although that might fall under category 4, below)
  3. I’m stuck. Of course, anyday now these models might move to category 2, but as it is, these are the models I’ve tried and altogether failed to make. For instance, there’s a sea-turtle pattern that looks nice, but halfway through, having apparently understood all of the instructions hitherto, my model inexplicably no longer looks like the diagram (Sea turtle not pictured… maybe someday I’ll put up a picture of its current state… I think I threw away the blue crab.)
  4. Straightforward in theory, but impractical. That is, I understood what I was supposed to do, but couldn’t do it. You know how they say you can’t fold a piece of paper in half 7 times? This category includes all of those models which want you to make clean creases through 30 layers of paper (not as many as 2^6, but still impractical). (This would include such nigh-unrecognizable models as Dr. Octopus, an alien as from AVP, and the grasshopper, as well as an unrecognizable unfinished model on my desk, whose instructions started asking me to pull out almost non-existent flaps I couldn’t reach.) Many of these, though, might benefit from the art of wet-folding, which I have yet to try. I’ll post more when I get around to it.
  5. I suppose there’s also Technically Interesting but not particularly pretty, which includes the hedgehog and maybe the armadillo (and to some extent the shark, though it actually looks pretty nice if you squint at it). These tend to take a long time, but end up pretty angular and not so lifelike. On the other hand, if you need something to do with your hands while you talk to your friends, try folding 200 hedgehog spines (not on the hedgehog pictured here, but the more complicated model, which I foolishly gave away–so of course I had to make another. But I wasn’t foolish enough to make the complex version twice).

If people want, I can post pictures of individual models with little blurbs about what I did and didn’t like about them, the things I changed/ignored, etc.


5 Responses

  1. Caltech should know better: put that many smart, creative people in one place with nothing to do, and superpowered origami is just the beginning…

    I’d love to see pictures of each one, if you get a chance–I think most of the really impressive effects are lost at this resolution. There’s a “gallery” function (see e.g. the latest round of tapestry pics below) where it posts a row of reasonable thumbnails that open up into high resolution pictures–something like that would work nicely, I think.

  2. Is the site always this slow? It’s pretty hard to upload pictures when each page takes three minutes to load (and the flash uploader doesn’t seem to work on my computer, so I can only do one picture at a time anyway)

  3. Eep. I never consider the amount of time it takes to do anything on my computer as a serious indicator of how long it really takes, so I’m not sure… I’m really sorry, though.

  4. I don’t know: the flash uploader works on my computer, but it still takes about a minute to upload each picture. The pages are a little slow, but not that slow. Perhaps you can set your browser not to download images until you click each image?

    Wet-folding, wow! I am now imagining origami turning into advanced papier-maché. Can wet-folding be done in a way that doesn’t cause dried-wet-spots on the paper, and does it even work for origami paper? (I don’t have any right now, else I’d try it.) 加油!(A Chinese expression of encouragement used in positive situations mostly, some negative. Literally “add oil”. All the Chinese at school has reminded me of my favorite expressions.)

  5. It’s the “Connecting to” stage which takes a long time. Maybe the flash uploader does work, but I’ve never seen any indication that its actually getting anywhere (there’s no “upload” button, so maybe it’s already trying to upload things, but I can’t tell that anything’s happening)

    Anyway… I’ll post about my wet-folding attempts soon.

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