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BOS is 50

Highlights from British Origami 110-119

Creative method and approach August 1983
Dave Brill relates how he sets about creating a new piece.

I could really write a 10 page essay as it's very difficult to generalise, but here goes.
  1. Decide on subject. May take weeks or months. For me the choice must display some aspect not previously portrayed in origami attempts at the subject by other authors, if the choice is not totally new in itself.
  2. Make rough drawings of subject to get to know about its form, shape, decide what I want to show in the paper version. Draw from photos or from life. Look at photographs (which may have been original situations in the choice)
  3. Begin folding, design new base or sequence. Must make economical use of paper. No wasted flaps or multi-thicknesses.
  4. Trial and error. Each new paper sheet must employ some revision and hopefully some improvement over the previous. Can be a long step: weeks/months! Leave it alone for a while - weeks maybe.
  5. New ideas or solutions to technical problems often arrive when am otherwise occupied e.g. sleeping, mowing the lawn, walking to work, in the shower etc. and not consciously thinking about the problem in hand.
  6. Refinement: fold subject again and again - mainly to satisfy myself. No improvements or only minor improvements at this stage.
  7. Drawings of sequence come at the very end or maybe never! Drawings fix a design too much and I prefer it to be continually in flux.
  8. Try different papers to try and establish a preference.


Creative method and approach October 1983
Martin Wall writes about the way he creates a model.

Creation is not an accidental process. It begins by looking at a subject and thinking of ways to create that subject. It is a logical process involving breaking down that subject into a number of simpler forms. I would not consider any folder who started from the base before the subject a true creative folder. Creation is a logical scientific process.

I look to a subject and unfold it in my mind right back to the square if possible - I try to break the model down into a sequence of simpler stages. When I pick up the piece of paper the model and the folding method are already there in my mind. I then fold the model straight out. This "first attempt" will normally be very close to the final model.

Once a model is folded, it is not complete. the folding method will use a number of "short cuts" (several folds made simultaneously) which will not be in the final folding sequence. The next stage (the longest and most important) is to devise an elegant and flowing method of getting to the finished model. This method must be simple, enjoyable and have no inelegance of compromise on the folding. Ideally, it must not be repetitive, it should have some element of surprise (the unexpected!) and each of the stages should be appealing (attractive to look at - the diagrams will be inviting). This stage is not really completed until the model has been taught. Many folders omit this stage - without it it's not a compete model.

I should have put this first! Every creator will set his won "condition" o the model: i.e. it must be one-piece, uncut, from a square, economical in use of paper etc. The more stringent these conditions, the more challenge in the creation. These are the guidelines in which the model will be created. In my view there is no room for compromise in those aims. (it's like being given clues to the answer of a mathematical puzzle).

A good creator must be very self-critical. If there is something that seems "not quite right", try and find a way out of it. There is always a way. I normally create several quite different models when approaching a subject.

Creation begins in parts. I look at a subject and break it down into sections. How can I create the head, what do we need to create the hind legs etc. You siplify the mdoel into a base; this is not a base in the sense of a Japanese base, but a combination of points and shapes from which you know you can create each of the individual parts of the model. I then try to think of a way of creating this base. Creation begins from the square!

Creative style: most good creators do not enjoy folding other people's models: the will be interested in seeing how a model has been thought out, what techniques have ben used. Folding is unnecessary and too laborious; the model can be thought out in a few moments from looking at the completed model. I see how other folders (like Max Hulme, Dave Brill) tackle their subjects, but do not normally fold the models or get too engrossed in their approach. It is very easy to get influenced by another folders style and this can make it very difficult to create in one's own style, without unconsciously including some of their ideas (it clouds the mind). For this reason I normally avoid folding other peoples models when I'm in a spell of creating.

I create most models in a few minutes, perfecting the method takes more time. I go through periods when models and ideas will flow at high speed. My crocodile I thought of while dozing off to sleep. I had to get up and fold it there and then in case I'd forgotten it by the morning. At other times I can think and fold for ages with little success.

Finally I'll just note down some of the things that are uppermost in my mind when creating: the points that I think are important in my creative style and approach.

  1. Method: I think the method is equally if not more important than the finished model. I try to create a simple elegant sequence of folds to the completed model. (I don't for example like the folds of John Richardson or John Montroll because these are technique with little thought for the elegance of the method.
  2. Contrast: Many of my models involve making use of the contrast between the two sides of the paper. Several are "two-subject" models, utilising the different colours for the different parts of the model. Others (eg. optical illusion modules, greetings card) use the contrast for effect. Other examples: Panda, Hand with greetings card, ship, seal on a rock.
  3. Economy: The model must be economical in the use of paper. There must be no unnecessary creases, paper or folding steps.

I do not always achieve these aims, but 1 & 3 are the most important of my aims in creating. The other limitations I impose are; one piece - no cutting or gluing. Square only, except when economy of paper dictates. These limitations create a stimulating challenge.


Three Piece Crease June 1986
Solution to a puzzle

Following the folding puzzle set in last issue's "Paperweight" (by folding, produce creases in any oblong of paper so that after two cuts have been made along the crease lines the paper will then consist of three pieces, which, re-arranged will form a squares), two solutions have been submitted. This is by Anthony Mosquera. His solution is a variation on one submitted by Robert Lang and actually published in the next issue.

Trivia fans: BO 119 was in fact the second 119 issued. There was no BO 118!


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