OrigaMIT ‘17

Last weekend I went up to Boston for the OrigaMIT convention. It seems to get a little bigger every year and is always a lot of fun. This year I only taught one class. It was my Oliphaunt, an elephant with extra tusks and a castle on its back. I taught it last June at OUSA and it was very popular, particularly for a supercomplex model. It was popular at MIT too and the class was full. Everyone finished with a fair to really excellent done model. I ran out of 15” foil, since I passed a supply of it around at the start of the class. It’s my go-to paper for experimenting with ideas at this level of complexity, so I need to replenish my stash.

In the week leading up to the convention I began folding an Oliphant out of a sheet of 22” or paper I made by laminating a really nice textured paper I bought a while ago to sheet of gold foil. The textured paper is soft almost like cloth, and has a red and gold pattern, very Indian looking, very beautiful. The foil is for added stiffness and sculptability. I got most of the way through folding it, up to finishing stage, and ran out of time. However I did manage to finish off a mostly-done Oliphaunt out of marble Wyndstone paper that was originally intended for the June convention. That provided something new and nice for my exhibit, along with a selection of airplanes and spaceships from the photoshoot for my book.

When I was setting up my exhibit, at the table next to mine was some kid’s display that featured a whole bunch of models from my book, the Fox, Bear, Narwhal, Turtle, Turkey and a few others, all really nicely folded. It’s a really nice feeling when you’re able to reach people thru your creativity.

There were some interesting lectures. Tom Hull, Erik Demaine and Jason Ku have all been up to some cool stuff. Erik is obsessed with making weird cryptic fonts. Erik and Jason have been working on an origami file format, which is pretty intriguing. It’s something like my proposed OrgamiXML format, but in json a probably bit more in-depth. The intention is to support interoperability between existing origami software packages including Tomahiro’s Origamizer and Robert’s TreeMaker. I really want to check it out and see if I can bring it into Foldinator. It’s been a long time since I worked on Foldinator and at this point I probably ought to start over again in javascript.

There was good hanging out my origami friends, catching up. Someone has always just got back from a convention is some faraway place. Michelle came along this year, telling people about her school robotics club how she’s learning to program. There were a few people there who are also into robots. Now she’s setting her sights on the idea of trying to get into MIT.