A sort of purplish Red Bull

Neal Elias; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

I made a very poor choice of paper for this somewhat challenging model, using a 7″ x 14″ piece of kami.  I needed every bit of this rather large paper, but the model really calls for Japanese foil paper to permit the many sharp points and detail finish folding to come out well.  As it was, I omitted all the final details that would have given the model some curves and three-dimensionality, since the kami simply wouldn’t mold that well.  The diagrams are excellent; shading to indicate the colored side is not shown in every step, but is there when it is helpful.  Aside from molding difficulties, the only problem I had was in step 21 (of 23 total), where a mountain fold to shape the chest causes an unruly mass of pleats under the neck that were difficult to hide.  I liked the white horns and the aggressive stance of the bull very much, and would be willing to give this model another try in foil paper sometime.

Blow-Up Bunny

Quick and easy

Traditional Chinese paperfold via the Origami Center of America; 1982 Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

This familiar fold is a slight variation on the classic Waterbomb.  The diagrams are very clear and include somewhat inconsistent colored/white side shading (the shading in omitted in the drawings that detail the waterbomb lock).  My sample didn’t come out looking quite like the final drawing, in that my Bunny’s ears consistently stood up higher away from the model’s back than I expected, but it still gives a good impression of a rotund little rabbit.  I found that the model doesn’t appreciate overhandling, as I destroyed my first sample during my attempts to make it look more like the picture, but folding a second model takes only a few minutes.  This would be a good model for teaching a beginner — who can resist the fun of inflatable models?


I didn’t need two colors

Ranana Benjamin; 1982 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B-

After several pages of front matter devoted to the people and organization of the 1982 Convention, the book leads off with animal models, starting with this action-model dog.  The diagrams have shading, leading me to believe that a 6″ piece of dual-colored paper would be a good choice, but the shading in the drawings has nothing to do with distinguishing the white from the colored side of the paper.  Only a tiny bit of the reverse shows; I suppose you could say it was the dog’s paws (yellow on my otherwise brown sample).  Folding is for the most part landmarked and clear enough, but the last steps forming the head are not explained at all well — whether due to poor reproduction of the original or poor choice of words, I’m not sure.  The head lifts up and down for the “barking” action.  The model is a good enough minimalist representation of a sitting dog, and the action works OK if you grip the model correctly, but I wasn’t terribly enthused by the design, and the diagrams could be much better.

1981 Summary and a Look Ahead

I’ve finished folding my way through the 1981 OUSA (FOCA at that time) Convention Annual Collection:  22 models, four of which offer variant versions.  I recommend Convention books for this sort of a project; it has remained interesting to me because of the wide variety of difficulties, subjects and folding techniques.  An added bonus in folding from an early book like this is the chance to try out the works of creators whose names have since become famous: Alice Gray, Max Hulme, Rae Cooker, Fred Rohm, and Patricia Crawford are some of the luminaries in this volume.  Keith Walker is a name I hadn’t known, but I found his two designs delightful, especially his Dragon.  Some types of models that are common today are absent from this era:  tessellations, very complex models, and modulars (with the exception of the glued-together Module Star).  Nevertheless, the designs weren’t uniformly simple:  Hulme’s Jack-In-the-Box, Rohm’s Stag, and Crawford’s creations are all sophisticated models that are handsome and intriguing to fold today.

In looking through the next few volumes of the OUSA Annual Collections, there are instances where diagrams are repeated from one year to the next.  For example, Alice Gray’s Fish and Flying Goose are printed in both the 1981 and 1982 volumes.  I won’t be folding or reviewing these models a second time, but I’ll note the duplication in passing.

Next post, we’ll be returning to the Eighties, beginning the journey through the 1982 OUSA Convention book.  Models were grouped by theme, such as Animals, Flowers, and Geometrics.  Ranana Benjamin’s Barker (dog action model) will lead off.


Happy holidays!

Joan R. Appel; 1981 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: A

The 1981 Convention book ends on a high note with this seasonally appropriate (three days before Christmas as I write this) model.  I wasn’t sure what the results would be since the diagrams do not include a drawing of the finished model, but any ambiguities in the art are amply explained by the extensive text instructions.  Stiff translucent paper was suggested; I used 9″ tracing paper, which should have been stiffer but worked well otherwise.  The model begins with concentric pleats, very much like a six-sided version of the Temko “Wing” aka Hyperbolic Paraboloid (reviewed here earlier), but the resemblance ends there.  After the pleating is complete, all that is left is to give the six arms some shaping.  A couple of variations are suggested, but I didn’t experiment with them.  The finished model is very 3-D and would look great as a hanging decoration or gift ornament.

An angled view, showing how 3-D the model is



Does anybody know what time it is?

David Shall; 1981 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: C+

The diagrams are clear and the fold comes out as you’d expect, but I thought it was kind of a pointless model.  I used a 10″ sheet of American foil for an adult-sized watch as the instructions advised.  Shaping the face of the watch was made difficult by the paper thickness; I experimented with reverse-folding rather than mountain-folding the four corners, but I didn’t think the results were satisfactory.  I did like the use of contrast between white and colored sides of the paper.  The lock joining the two ends is very secure.  Although I usually avoid marking the paper (unless I am deliberately embellishing the model), in this case drawing the clock face improved the model greatly.

Too plain without the face markings


A bigger sheet of paper might have helped

Patricia Crawford via “Origami: A Step By Step Guide” by Robert Harbin; 1981 OUSA (FOCA) Convention Annual Collection

Grade: B

This is probably one of the better known models from Crawford’s body of work, since the Harbin book has been reprinted and is widely available.  I had a bit of a sinking feeling when the first step said “Begin with fold 2 of the Mermaid” — which is not in the Convention book.  I luckily had the Dover reprint of the Harbin book, so I was able to confirm that it starts with a diagonal fold followed by valley-folding the two acute corners down to the center to form a square from which an asymmetric stretched bird base is formed.  Most of the folding is fairly straightforward, but I never did figure out exactly what was supposed to happen with the hind leg shaping.  I was completely unable to form the ears in the way shown, due to paper thickness problems, and my sample suffers for it — the head would look much better if I had succeeded in the last tiny valley folds, but even starting with 10″ Japanese foil, I couldn’t do it.  Tucking the head closer to the neck might have helped, but I doubt it.  It’s a pleasing model despite my problems, especially with the color change for the horn.