Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Papercraft in Review

 I realized that I've done a lot of  papercraft in the past year.

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.

We were having an Opera Themed Birthday party.  I wanted to go as Orpheus, so I designed a laurel wreath to wear.   I printed out six or so leaves which overlapped and then discovered that the ends of one leaf would slide through the cut-out veins of another set.  I was able to roll the leaves into a extended spiral, lock them together, and then glue them in place.

There weren't too many opportunities for decorative paper arts until my Mom's birthday came around.  I wanted make something that was kind of Japanese.  Mark said that the result looked like either a Parcheesi board or else like a kind of Bauhaus-Edo thing.  However, I'd managed to get the color scheme right, and Mom liked it.

At some point I decided that I really needed an Egyptian Eye of Horus for my new office.  I wanted something like the Eye of God over Saint Teresa of Avila... at least I think that's the name of the sculpture.  I could never quite find the photo I'd seen once on the internet or in an art book or something.

For Halloween, I'd been fiddling around with bats.  I thought that it would be easy to map a circle of bats to a polygon, but then I realized that I'd made a clockwise circle... which meant that the design was chiral... which meant I had to really think about how I was going to put the bats together without getting them crossed instead of overlapping.

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.

Working on the Twelve Days became sort of like--well, like work.  So to take a break from them, for fun I started to work with a reindeer design I had.  I had a favorite paper punch which stopped working, so I used that as a base, fixed the horns, and then played with various leg placements.  The result was a reindeer trifold.

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.

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