Monday, January 20, 2014

Origami tessellation: Star Puff

Star Puff, by Ralf Konrad.  Sourced from Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs, by Eric Gjerde

This month I present something a little different.  Rather than modular origami, I show an example from an entirely different branch of origami: origami tessellations.  It's sort of a hot new topic in origami.  To create an origami tessellation, you need a "molecule"* of folds that can be repeated indefinitely, tiling the plane.

Coming from modular origami, tessellations seem a little crazy to me.  Instead of folding thirty pieces of paper ten times each, I fold a single piece of paper a hundred times!  Typically, you first make a dense grid of creases, and then you "collapse" the model into its final form.  None of this "step by step folding" nonsense.  It's quite difficult, and I think I might have the wrong kind of paper for it.

Also I think it's harder to take good photos of the finished product.  Or maybe I'm just terrible at photography.

So.  Origami tessellations.  Many (but not all) origami tessellations are based on pleats.  A pleat is two parallel folds--you can see many pleats radiating outwards from the Star Puff design.  When two pleats intersect with each other, you can make pretty designs.

The Star Puff is based on a hexagonal grid of pleats.  You can see this from the back side.

 Star Puff, back side

Each hexagon in that grid is outlined by pleats.  At the corners of the hexagons, we have intersections between different pleats.  Additionally, I've puffed up a few of the hexagons creating the titular star puffs.

*OrigamiUSA called it a "molecule", but if it were up to me it would be called a "unit cell", like in condensed matter physics.


miller said...

Wow, this seems like it must require much larger paper than you typically use. Or is that really 3 inches by 3 inches?

miller said...

I think it's 4 inches across, when folded. Before it was folded, the paper was about 6 inches across. I've seen videos of people using much larger paper.