Friday, May 20, 2011

plastic-gami



Back when I reviewed the Gakken Origami Lamp, one of the coverings suggested as a lamp shade offered by the mook's editors was a variation on the Celes origami, using shaped pieces of very thin laminated wood.



While wandering the alleys of Shimo-Kitazawa, I encountered a similar concept, slightly modified, using soft vinyl.



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The kit mook has instructions for three different lamp shade patterns - the Celes, Checker and Earthen. Of the three, I consider Earthen to be the most uninteresting, but the folding instructions looked complex enough that I was considering trying it anyway. It uses 6 sheets of square paper, and when I found a pad of square origami paper with 48 sheets for 100 yen at the Japanese version of the Dollar Store (100 Yen Shop; 100 yen = 1.20 USD) I figured it was time to take a shot at it. Unfortunately, the paper is very thin, and one of the corner points tore through simply during the course of folding it. The pattern for each unit is still confusing, even with English instructions. I wasn't paying attention to the time, but I think it took 2 hours to finish it off. Things did finally speed up when I figured out the trick to getting the pockets to shape up right (you need to reinforce the creases along the main edges of the pyramid when you create the hands at the end). The finished Earthen is actually very fragile and will pull apart fairly easily. Gakken recommends using glue to hold the units together. My suggestion is that you use at least bond-level paper, although construction paper might be a little too heavy if the starting squares are too small. My paper was 15 cm by 15 cm; a larger size might be easier to deal with when you try assembling the finished units.



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Next, I tried a twist on the Celes pattern, literally. I was wondering what would happen if you started out with a slighter longer strip of paper, such as a 1:7 ratio (the smallest usable length is 1:6) and then give the strip a half-twist in the middle. I didn't want to go to 1:8 because I'd done that before with the normal pattern and the result looked too boring. Unfortunately, after cutting out all of the strips and folding up some of them, I discovered that the paper doesn't twist well at a 1:7 ratio, being just a little too short. The paper will either tear, crease, or force the the Celes to self-disassemble. So I went with a simple fold along the length of the middle section of each unit. Unfortunately, because of the way the units interact to form the Celes star structure, half of the units will want to self-disassemble anyway, regardless of which direction you make the fold in. The final result comes out looking squashed. From one angle, it looks fairly interesting, like a big aspirin, but it's nothing like what I was hoping for. Final assessment - Fail.

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