We Got Oliphaunts

Last weekend was the 2107 Origami USA convention in New York City. It’s a bit more low-key now that it’s out in Queens, but still a great time, and St. John’s campus is a great venue.

I had been thinking that I didn’t have much new to put into my exhibit, but I ended up with a good amount of great stuff. For the last month or so I had been meaning to get around to developing some new model ideas but I’ve been busy with work and graduations and stuff. Nevertheless, I recently finished the draft of my Airplanes and Spaceships book, and had five new models from that plus a few others that I’d never really folded a nice version before. So I made a collection out of 8” squares of so-called shiny paper. I folded another batch out of 6” shiny lotka paper for the model menu. Both very nice and very effective.

Both my classes went over really well. One class was the new Airplanes and Spaceships. I had diagrams and the class folded the models well, and along the way proofread them and found a few corrections.

The other class was my War Elephant a.k.a. Oliphaunt. This is an older model but I always thought it was cool. I only ever folded one satisfactorily and alot of the details were improvised. At the time it pushed the limit of my abilities. So the goal was to get it to the point where I could reliably reproduce it, teach it and eventually diagram it. In the last few weeks I folded quite a few studies and began honing in on the trouble spots. With a complex model like that you may have to fold for an hour or more before you get to the point where you can try out a solution to a design problem. Unlike with a computer there’s no save and revert, so if it doesn’t work you crumple up the paper and start again. This process can take some time.

By the start of the convention I was getting close. I’d completed several studies, although the best one, which I used for the model menu, was a bit sad looking and I didn’t have one worthy of putting into my exhibit. I’d created a CP and pretty much worked out most of the issues except for a critical series of steps steps to separate the head from the shoulders. With animals this is very important to the whole pose and attitude of the model; it can make or break it. For this model there’s alot of layers at that point, and crumpling it down was the easy way out.

We had to take off early on Saturday to go to a wedding on Long Island, so by Saturday night I’d run out of time to work on it any further. When I went to bed I meditated on it, which led to a lucid dream. When I woke I (felt like I) knew what to do.

When I teach supercomplex models soemtimes there’s only maybe two or five people in the class. This class was very full, to the point where I ran out of handouts and people had to share. And everyone in the room was actually and advanced folder too. When I got to the critical step I had all the proportions worked out and all the precreasing done, but had never really attempted the collapse before. So I told the class to do the collapse however they thought was best. Then I looked around at everyone’s result. I immediately saw that three people folded the correct solution. Everyone finished the class with a good looking model.

Since my Airplanes and Spaceships books in now with the publisher I’m in waiting mode. There will be some revisions, and the photography is still ahead, but it’ll probably be a year before it hits the shelves. I’m free to invest some creative energy in some other project. Since the response to the War Elephant was so strong I decided do an ebook with Brian of a half dozen or so complex to supercomplex models with a fantasy/mythology theme, including my War Elephant and Medieval Dragon.

I’m off to France and Switzerland in a few days for the Origami Creators Conference. That should be a good time and give me alot of opportunity to develop new ideas.