Two by Martin David Kruskal

The “Geometrics” group of models starts with these two by the son of Lillian Oppenheimer: Bichromatic Square and Tripod.  Both sets of diagrams are hand-drawn with hand-lettered instructions which I found a little hard to read.

I thought I remembered having seen the Bichromatic Square in the past, and I was right – the identical model is shown in “Origami for the Connoisseur” by Kunihiko Kasahara and Toshie Takahame, where it is called Coaster #1.  It seems to have been independently invented by Toshikazu Kawasaki, and is used as a demonstration of what Kasahara calls “Iso-area folding.”  By whatever name, it’s technically interesting to fold, but the resulting model is rather plain and won’t impress non-folders.  Paper with contrasting colors on the two sides is essential; I used a 6″ square with blue and fuschia-red sides.

The Tripod’s instructions are in a very unusual format, with the first page having three columns which give the folding directions in verbal, geometric, and diagrammatic form.  Folding presents no challenges.  The creator recommends using the finished model as a stand (as shown above, right), or building modular models with it.  I thought it needed some visual interest, so I used a 6″ square with a garish hexagonal print straight out of the Op-Art 1960’s.





Tropical Flower

Paper choice makes this model stand out

Ed Sullivan; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B+

The biggest problem I had with this model wasn’t the creator’s fault.  These early Collections suffer from occasional bad collating, and this model was the victim.  The diagram appears in the “Flowers” section, between the “Leaf and Stem” and the “Tulip”, which really should have followed each other since they were shown together (as already noted).  Far worse, the second page of diagrams for the Tropical Flower were far in the back of the book, adjacent to Sullivan’s other model, “Jelly Belly Holder” in the category “Other.”  The only hint is in the attached letter, which mentions “two new folds” with a few remarks.  The diagrams are hand-drawn but clear, except for the first one which shows the pre-creases — it took me a little thought to figure out the landmarks for some of the creases — and the last one, showing the finished model in a rather poor sketch.  Once the diagrams are located, the model presents no particular difficulties in folding.  The creator advises the use of the “new shaded papers.  I’m sure Mrs. Oppenheimer has them.”  Assuming he meant harmony papers, I concur.  I used a paper with a contrasting color in the center, and I liked the results quite a bit.  The paper shown below is 6″ harmony, shown both unfolded and with the finished sample.

Pick a pretty paper for good results



Leaf and Stem, and Tulip

A sign of Spring

Leaf and Stem by Alice Gray; Tulip by Joan R. Appel; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: A-

These two models definitely belong together, and are shown together in the Leaf and Stem diagram’s drawing of the finished model, but are inexplicably separated in the Collection by another model’s diagram.  They are both very simple, with the Leaf and Stem being folded from a kite base, and the Tulip from a preliminary base.  Diagrams are very clear, with plenty of explanatory text for beginners, and shading distinguishes white and colored sides.  I folded the Leaf and Stem from 3″ kami, and the only problem I had was that the finished model wants to spread open more than I’d like. I made the Tulip from some 2″ harmony paper which was an ideal choice for this graceful model.  This particular paper had most of the pattern at the center with plain corners, which I thought worked particularly well to simulate a real tulip’s shading.  This was a welcome model to fold on an especially cold Valentine’s Day.

Blossom (and Display Corner)

Ranana Benjamin; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B-

The models are grouped by subject categories in the 1982 Collection, and now that the Animal section (by far the largest) is complete, I’m moving on to the four models in Flowers.  This simple blossom is folded from a 4 : 1 rectangle, and I wanted to use a bit more interesting paper than the plain kami and foils I used for the animals, so I dug through my stash and found some 4-1/4″ wide “Seaspray Paper Ribbon” from the long-extinct Loose Ends company.  This paper glistens and is crinkly in the lengthwise direction, with some irregular pleats.  It wasn’t an ideal choice, being a little too large and a bit too springy to work well with this model, but I enjoyed trying it out.  The diagrams are hand-drawn with text comments as needed, and while a little sketchy, they had all the information needed.  The folder may stop at step 5 for the Display Corner shown at left above, and in my example the springiness of the paper kept the model from sitting flat.  There’s no real lock, so I’d recommend displaying it with a trinket with some weight (I used a souvenir from Mars, PA for the photo).  The Blossom is then created by squashing each of the three sides, as shown in the right photo.  The creator recommends adding a stem through the center, and I agree that would improve the Blossom.  I’d also suggest a smaller paper; 8 x 2″ would be about right.  This model might work well with patterned papers, such as gift wrap or chiyogami.

Zebra (or Donkey)

More like a white-faced horse

Stephen Weiss; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B+

This is the last of the animal models in the 1982 book, and I really liked it, even though I struggled with it.  The proportions are excellent, something a lot of equine models don’t get quite right, and the slender legs and tail look very good.  The creator suggests 15″ paper, and I’d recommend the largest, thinnest, and most moldable paper you can get.  In my case that was 10″ foil, and I wished for a larger square.  Diagrams are hand drawn with explanatory text, and the folder is advised to pay very close attention to whether the line indicates a mountain or a hidden foldMy first attempt went wrong at step 7, where the model is folded in half down the spine, and a lot of things have to be shaped all at once.  I missed or misunderstood the instruction to “reverse-fold the inner triangle”, which resulted in a major tear and a quick pitch into the circular file.  Though the move is both diagrammed and noted in the text, it’s a little difficult to understand and the front legs will not swing into position unless it’s done right.  In the next step, I had to make a couple of tries before realizing that only the inner point gets reversed for the head, even though it is indicated fairly clearly in the drawing.  Final shaping as shown in the next-to-last drawing went quite well, though the many layers of the front legs made narrowing difficult.  I’d love to try this with a really large piece of black-and-white striped paper, and will be looking for some the next time I visit a specialty paper store.


In this case, a whale is a fish

Traditional: 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

I’m not sure why this was titled a “Whale”; I’m pretty sure it’s the fish for which the fish base was named.  Diagrams are obviously aimed at the absolute beginner, as it takes 9 steps to explain the fish base.  I used 6″ kami, though I think simple models like this look better in smaller paper (larger paper is easier to photograph, though).  It benefitted from a night under a heavy book to help it lie flat.  This model would work well with mixed media craft projects, and would miniaturize well, so it might be a good choice for artists trading cards.

Two Swans

Oddly, they’re both from 6″ kami

Ranana Benjamin; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

The “Easy-Easy Swan” (left) and “Saucy Swan” (right) are both simple models that are small variations on bird models we all learned as beginners.  “Easy-Easy” starts with a triangle made from a square cut on the diagonal, while “Saucy” starts with a fish base.  The hand-drawn diagrams for both models are a little confusing in that the shading leads the folder to think that both sides of the paper might show.  I chose a paper that was blue on one side and magenta on the other for “Easy-Easy;” I needn’t have bothered.  Although the diagrams are very much in the quick-sketch style, they present no difficulties in following the folding sequence.  “Easy-Easy” wanted to tip forward until I adjusted the neck position backwards a bit, and “Saucy” looks a bit unstable, though it is folded as the diagram indicates.