It all started with the stars. For about two years, I'd been working with arrangements of stars working from inspirations in Islamic tile design, or zellij. I had a notion that I'd be able to make zellij Christmas gifts out of dough with melted Life Savers. The prototype runs I made were not a success.
I forget exactly how I bumped into The Artists' Pallet, but they had a Silhouette cutter-plotter that would cut designs out of paper for me. I used InkScape to make a zellij design, cut it out, and glued the result into a cylinder. Voila! Instant votive lamps.
My Dad's birthday is in January, so it was an easy jump to make a birthday votive using a different design based on triskellions.
Arrangements of stars still continued to be an obsession. I'd used Blender and created some virtual 3D models of the stars and decagrams used in the Christmas votives and then rendered them into background screens.
Looking at them day after day, I started to fold them in my head and realized that I could probably fold a star mesh into various platonic solids. I started out with an octahedron, and managed to fold up a icosahedron.
Once I had a star globe, it was a moral imperative that I pose as a Burne-Jones painting.
My sister's birthday is in February. Julie likes fishing and she quilts. For my birthday, she'd made me a fish quilt (which I like very much). I thought she'd like a similar design, and I figured out a kind of light box with nested tessellating fish in it.
On to Mother's day! I returned to the cylinder design and filled a hot pink page with mostly cut-out butterflies. The design was hexagonal, which meant I could play games with alternating butterflies circling around common centers.
I put a smaller blue cylinder inside, which made things purple, and added a few butterflies from a second pink page.
Since last Christmas had been so successful, I decided to do the Twelve Days of Christmas. The Partridge came out nicely, as well as some of the other birds, which lulled me into a false sense of security about working with the other designs. Which were hard. My biggest difficulty was getting carried away with microscopic details--some of which would work if I were using the whole 12 inch square paper, but which resulted in mangled sheets if I scaled them down too far.
My favorite non-bird design was the Twelve Drummer's drum.
These turned out to be more successful than the 12 days. Which was a good thing, because snow and ice pretty much shut down Eugene for a week, and I was only able to create enough of these because they were less involved to print than the Twelve Days.