The same old stuff

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The same old stuff

Postby stuckie27 » November 16th, 2003, 2:07 am

Why do origami artist seem to keep repeating themselfs.

for example Robert Lang he folds the same thing over and over
the Cicada in Complete Origami and two in OI2

lady bugs
ants
tarantuls
scorpions
butterflies
drangon flies
grass hoppers (even tho the one in OI2 has wing)

Another example is Montroll
he has a different elephant in every book one in origami scuplture, aninmal origami, origami for the entheust, african origami.
rihnos appear over and over too.

Why do these same subject keep coming up? is there a lack of animals to fold, or are the artists simply trying to out do thier last piece?
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Postby wolf » November 16th, 2003, 1:33 pm

It's the same in most other artistic endeavours - why did Shakespeare write so many love sonnets? :D

The CPs and final forms of these models are different. Each variant of an animal is an attempt at achieving certain goals - eg for Montroll's elephant in Origami Sculptures, the aim is to get a closed back for the elephant.

Same thing with the insects. Each variant is a new experiment with a different final aim, eg to get more details in, or to get the subject anatomically correct, or to use the paper more efficiently, or to use different folding methods (eg box pleating, non-square paper, foil folding, wet folding, crumpling)

Often, it's the same with folders too - there are some folders who just fold boxes, or dragons, or roses exclusively. Focusing on a theme is a really good way of improving one's folding or designing skills.
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Postby JMcK » November 16th, 2003, 4:05 pm

While I agree with what Eileen says above, it's a relief when a designer who folds unusual subjects, like Jeremy Shafer, appears.

Some of the titles of Kenny's models sound very intriguing too, but unfortunately he has very few photos up on his site at the moment.

John Montroll went for a change of subject matter when he released his polyhedron book. I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, he had finally released a book that didn't feature his usual assortment of animals. On the other hand, I don't think single sheet polyhedrons are that fruitful an area. They're technically very impressive, but they rarely if ever hold together as well as modular polyhedra. And they always have unevenly layered sides - again unlike modulars.
Chris Palmer's polypouches seem to be a better approach for one piece polyhedrons. In their case, most of the excess paper is moved outside of the shape, and forms supporting struts, rather than being tucked unevenly inside the model.

(Sorry, I've strayed off topic somewhat.)

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Postby wolf » November 16th, 2003, 5:55 pm

Oh, I think it's still mostly on-topic. :D

I haven't taken a close look at either the Montroll polyhedra or the Palmer polypouches, but again, it seems that the design motivation for both is different. Montroll's polyhedra appears to be a proof-of-concept; that it's possible to get a regular closed polygon from a square sheet of paper. Whereas with the polypouches, it seems like Palmer is adding functionality to a geometric design.

At this point in time, origami techniques have reached the stage where it's possible to achieve a fairly good level of anatomical accuracy. That's starting to become a problem, because there's too much attention being paid to the technical aspects rather than stylistic aspects. Can you tell the difference between a Lang, Robinson, Meguro or Kamiya insect? I certainly can't, at least from the finished product alone.

On the other hand, it's certainly easy to distinguish most Montroll animal models from other models, since there seems to be a certain caricature aspect to what he does. I figure only very few designers have successfully managed to leave their imprint on whatever they fold. Joisel is one such designer; his models are extremely detailed, and he goes that extra mile to finish his works in such a way that you can instantly recognise it as his.

Same goes for the folders; since folding a model is pretty much a paint-by-numbers sort of deal these days, following the instructions rigidly is just going to get you a model which is going to be nearly identical to the same model folded by another person. I guess it's harder to leave your signature on a model by someone else; and I can't think of any really good ways of doing it yet. Perhaps by wetfolding, foil folding, or finishing. Or maybe by displaying the model; there's a lot of room for creativity there.

Which brings us back to the longstanding art vs craft debate. My view on that is, there's no point ranting about ignorant public thinking that origami is either a kid's endeavour or handicraft, if the practitioners of the field don't try to make their work as unique as possible. What the public sees is the final product; folders can discuss the relative merits of box folding vs traditional points, but the public doesn't see and/or cannot appreciate the folding process. Designing and folding technical origami is still just crafting, when there's no distinguishable style to speak of.
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Postby Joe the white » November 16th, 2003, 6:03 pm

Sometimes designers just like to fold their favorites or personalize their art. I mean, Robert lang is some sort of scientist (I can't remember what) and loves to fold what interests him,so its not hard to see why he folds extremely detailed insects. Jeremy rides flaming unicycles and he folds clogged arteries,"running" cars, and other "eccentric" stuff. Maybe the last elephant Montroll folded just didn't have the right amount of trunk space. Maybe those lang insects needed another 50 steps and a few more double closed wrap tripple bypass unsinks. I know I have folded so many dragons I cannot count them all, and one day I may graft them into one big dragon just to satisfy my dragon creating need. Oh well, no one will really know till someone asks them.

P.S. Off to probably make another dragon after getting over a nasty virus and maybe e-mailing Robert Lang to see why he folds so many of those insects.
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Postby stuckie27 » November 16th, 2003, 7:14 pm

that brings up another point, the fact that origami artists are so accessible. On the Olist we have
Robert Lang,
David Brill,
David Lister (who either knows a lot, or likes to write a lot).
Daniel Robinson,
Joseph Wu,
nick Robinson,
Ronald Koh,
Peter Farina,
Nicholas Terry,
Leong Cheng Chit


Here just on this site we have
Tom Hull
Gilad, who to me is a famous folder because of his website and he is published in the tant #9

Looking at other art forms I would have to say that this accessibility is un heard of. Maybe modern Origami simply has no been around long enough to become respected as an art form.

To tell the truth I really could care less, I like to fold because it alleviates boredom, it keeps me thinking, and is fun.
The major benefit I see from origami going mainstream is more published books, but still I have over 40 books under my belt and I will be buying ODS pretty soon too.

There in no way is a lack of diagrams out there so I am happy.
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Postby saj » November 16th, 2003, 7:27 pm

Don't forget the man himself - Robert Lang!
His screen name is the bugfolder. He has only 1 post :( , but I hope he posts more!

Dr Lang is a laser physicist, and I guess the reason why he has created so many renditions of the same subjects is to maybe create a better folding sequence, (or make it harder :wink: ), use a different technique or simply because he stumbled upon the design and wanted to diagram it.

saj

PS- John McKeever is one of the most talented folders I have met so far (close competition to Dave King). He's on this board as JMcK.

David Lister makes very long psots because he knows his origami stuff!
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Postby Bugfolder » November 18th, 2003, 4:59 pm

Stuckie27 asked:

"Why do these same subject keep coming up? is there a lack of animals to fold, or are the artists simply trying to out do thier last piece?"

There's certainly no lack of animals to fold. Over a million species of insects alone! But speaking for myself, I fold the same subjects multiple times because I have a particular fondness for the subject (cicadas, turtles, "samurai helmet" beetles) and/or because I have an idea about how to do a better one.

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Postby JMcK » February 21st, 2004, 5:29 pm

wolf wrote:At this point in time, origami techniques have reached the stage where it's possible to achieve a fairly good level of anatomical accuracy. That's starting to become a problem, because there's too much attention being paid to the technical aspects rather than stylistic aspects. Can you tell the difference between a Lang, Robinson, Meguro or Kamiya insect? I certainly can't, at least from the finished product alone.


Well, some of Kamiya's models stand out because of the extreme level of detail, like his famous wasp, and some of Meguro's are notable for the absurd number of appendages, like his mother crab with children. But you do have a point.

wolf wrote:On the other hand, it's certainly easy to distinguish most Montroll animal models from other models, since there seems to be a certain caricature aspect to what he does. I figure only very few designers have successfully managed to leave their imprint on whatever they fold. Joisel is one such designer; his models are extremely detailed, and he goes that extra mile to finish his works in such a way that you can instantly recognise it as his.


A lot of the designs in Montroll's first couple of books have an almost hieroglyphic-like quality that's oddly appealing. But I find a lot of his creatures to have a "blah" factor - they have enough features to be recognisable as a hippo or whatever but are quite wooden looking. I particularly dislike most of the models in "Mythological Creatures and the Chinese Zodiac" - there are so many stumpy-legged, thick-layered cupboard base creatures in that book.
Still, Montroll has created a lot of brilliant designs, like his Stegosaurus, the blue shark from "Origami Sea Life" and the (unspotted) giraffe from "African Animals". And he's been a big influence on a lot of other designers, like Lang and Kawahata.
Oh, I agree that Joisel is a brilliant and unique designer and folder.

wolf wrote:Same goes for the folders; since folding a model is pretty much a paint-by-numbers sort of deal these days, following the instructions rigidly is just going to get you a model which is going to be nearly identical to the same model folded by another person. I guess it's harder to leave your signature on a model by someone else; and I can't think of any really good ways of doing it yet. Perhaps by wetfolding, foil folding, or finishing. Or maybe by displaying the model; there's a lot of room for creativity there.


Oooh, I hate the paint-by-numbers analogy. I think there is a fair amount of room for variations and personal touches when it comes to folding a lot of models. Think of the Robert Neale dragon, Kawasaki's rose, Maekawa's devil, Kawahata's yoda and Joisel's masks. Gilad Naor made the point somewhere that once you've folded the base for a model you can pretty much ignore the rest of the instructions and finish it to your own taste.

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Postby Joe the white » February 21st, 2004, 9:29 pm

After I got Origami Sea life, I found that I could point out Montroll's models from Lang's fairly easily. For the most part this is because designers use the main techniques, but a few are a "signature" to a certain one, just not usually by a name, like Montroll's move for making eyes, Hans Birkeland's move for making fingers, or Kawasaki's twist. When I design I use many designers' best techniques and a few of my own. In example, monkey 3.0,its face has a Joisel-ish style, the body is slightly traditional, and the hands/toes use a Lang/Birkeland-ish style.

As for the actual subject, I recently borrowed Origami to Astonish and Amuse from the school library, I found that the written information was
worth the year long wait (along with the models), but Jeremy Shafer folds quite a few non-ordinary origami models... then again designers do play favorites. Have any of you folded something you didn't want to fold, without reason?

Hmm, one of the next challenges we have should be to fold a certain model and compare each others differences.

Just rambling...
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Postby wolf » February 21st, 2004, 10:13 pm

JMcK wrote:
Oooh, I hate the paint-by-numbers analogy. I think there is a fair amount of room for variations and personal touches when it comes to folding a lot of models. Think of the Robert Neale dragon, Kawasaki's rose, Maekawa's devil, Kawahata's yoda and Joisel's masks. Gilad Naor made the point somewhere that once you've folded the base for a model you can pretty much ignore the rest of the instructions and finish it to your own taste.



I was trying to avoid the music analogy. :)

These models are fairly old though. These days, the trend seems to be towards complex, many-pointy-bits type models. By the very nature of the design, such models often don't allow much variation in the end product. Sure, it's possible to change things technically (Kamiya's wizard, eg), but the final folded product still doesn't bear the mark of the folder, only that of the designer. It's like in classical music - if I just listened to a CD of a Vivaldi piece, I can't tell if it was played by Nigel Kennedy, Vanessa Mae or some third-rate violinist. It's very difficult to perform a rigid work like a Vivaldi and leave a signature style (or I just have a bad ear for music :shock: )

We need more Kasaharas than Kamiyas. Complex model design is a dead end route, when it comes to enriching the world of origami. A simple model design has more potential for variety than a supercomplex one.
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complexity and room for creativity

Postby origamicp » February 22nd, 2004, 2:43 am

I must disagree with a few things in the last post. You seem to only be focusing on the end result. This is not what the piece is, I feel that the piece also contains it's entire history, it is not simply the outside look, but it is the location of the layers, the thickness of all the regions, the sequence in which it was folded, the extra creases put in that are visible and invisible, the efficiency of the model in terms of starting size versus finished size, the amount of precreasing involved and related the ease and intuitivity of the crease locations, the allowable paper it can be made of, and many more things...
I have spent much time with Dr. Lang, and he has done a good job of pointing out to me the things he does not like in his own models, and why he is redesigning yet again another praying mantis, or another turtle. He does so because there are so many intricacies in all origami models that allow for so many things to be altered. Almost all of these intracacies are not viewable from the outside as a passive observer. To fully appreciate the model, you must study it's structure, folding sequence and feel as you fold it. As one that has folded almost nothing but super complex models for a few years now, I see and experience constantly the vast amount of room for creativity that these models allow.
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How should origami be viewed?

Postby wolf » February 22nd, 2004, 4:50 pm

The way I see it, there are two aspects to origami - stylistic and technical. My argument is that there is a trend towards the technical aspect, often at the expense of style.

My view is that, there is more value in coming up with a new style than trying to squeeze another 1% efficiency out of a square of paper. In this respect, folders like Floderer, Kasahara and Palmer have contributed much more than a slew of technical folders.

Hojyo Takashi is an exception - by moving away from the standard pointy-bit insect models that just about every complex designer thinks they need to come up with, he has developed a signature style which is unique.

If the technical folding aspect of a model is to be appreciated, there needs to be more communication between the designer and the audience - not just the usual arrogant practice of slapping down a cp next to the finished model. The logic behind the design should be explained clearly. Show the intermediate steps, how they arise from the basic design, and how they contribute to the final model. And if the designer is tackling a subject which others have done before (particularly if there is no essential change in the circle packing) - he should be able to explain why and how his design is different from others, and how it overcomes/avoids the limitations and problems that previous models have.

To a certain extent, the Tanteidan magazines and meetings already do this. There needs to be an English language equivalent of such an origami journal for those folders whose first language isn't Japanese.
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Postby mleonard » April 24th, 2004, 12:43 am

wolf wrote:We need more Kasaharas than Kamiyas. Complex model design is a dead end route, when it comes to enriching the world of origami. A simple model design has more potential for variety than a supercomplex one.


Hear, hear.

"I am increasingly bored by most new Origami. Do we really need another stiff and lifeless animal? or another complex design that is ugly to fold and ugly to look at? ...Creative Origami is becoming a set of cliches. It is becoming derivative, safe, dull and soulless. Where is the spirit? the excitement? the passion? the risk of exploration? Origami is becoming an art for passive robots.

"...My hope for Origami is that the creators will begin to look away from Origami for inspiration, not towards it, because creative Origami will become moribund if we perpetuate the cliches that are stifling us. We need more styles, new directions and a new spirit of creative adventure."

That was Paul Jackson, writing in Der Falter, April 1992. I trust that he will not mind my quoting him at such length. My point is that my position now is more or less identical with that of Paul twelve years ago. I cannot see that much in the origami world has changed. Origami remains insular. As folders we study other folders. As designers we base our work on other designs. The technical aspects of folding - the arrangement of layers, the efficency of the use of paper, and so on - are of no interest to anyone other than folders. We must look beyond this. As artists we must study nature (as has often been said but rarely practised) and also the other arts - most obviously sculpture.

Just been watching Newsnight Review on BBC2 about the new Anthony Gormley exhibition, and had a vision of a new approach to the human figure. I don't know if I can successfully translate this into paper, but I would never have got the idea just from folding.
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