Posts: blog

More Skin in the Game

I think we may have the beginnings of a trend! A few years ago, a fan liked my Origamido Koi so much that he had its crease pattern tattooed onto his arm. Well, we have another fan of skin, ink, and origami!. Yesterday Jamie Kruger asked to use the crease pattern of my Songbird, opus […]

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Tessellatica and Web-Love from Wolfram

Wolfram gives me some web-ness: Above the Fold: Mathematica Transforms Ancient Art of Origami By coincidence, today I also learned that my 6OSME paper on Tessellatica was accepted (along with some others). So come to Tokyo in August, 2014 to get your free copy! (*) (*) Actually, you’ll be able to get a free copy […]

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Drupalizing

One of my side activities is managing the website of OrigamiUSA, which is based on the Drupal content management system. Earlier this year, we upgraded the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, a process that was not lacking in adventures. At our local Tri-Valley Drupal Users Group meeting, I presented “Lessons Learned in a […]

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My Friend Went to the Philippines and Lost All Her Money and All I Got Was This Lousy Email

The following are all actual emails; only the names have been changed. Thus spake “Jane Doe” <jane_doe@gmail.com> on 9/26/13 5:31 AM: I really hope you get this fast, I could not inform anyone about my trip, because it was impromptu. I had to be in Manila, Philippines for a program. The program was successful, but […]

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Flight of Folds and Shoot of Stars

Incredible photograph by Bill Stengel of our 10′ Flight of Folds sculpture in stainless steel (collaboration with Kevin Box); currently at the Turquoise Trail Sculpture Garden in Cerrillos, NM.

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Folding on the Water

I recently had the pleasure of going on a Lindblad Expeditions cruise in Southeast Alaska where I saw more amazing wildlife that I could have ever imagined. During lulls between bubble-netting humpbacks and beachcombing brown bears, National Geographic photographer Rich Reid was giving tips, techniques, and demonstrations, and at one point he set up a […]

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Speaking of Butterflies

One of the oldest, simplest, and to my mind, most deceptively difficult of all origami subjects is the butterfly. It is so simple, because all you really need are two wings: one can make a quite recognizable one with just two folds. And there are many origami butterfly designs out there, notably Yoshizawa’s iconic creation. […]

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This Doesn’t Taste Right

Photo taken by Mary Jane Kettler of my “Morpho Flight” butterfly at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center last year. I picture the conversation between the two harvestmen as going something like this: “Billy! We got one! and he’s not even moving!” “Wait…something’s wrong…What sort of cruel hoax is this?” (*) (*) Yes, I know […]

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Now, That’s Settled

To recap the story: in 2009, I learned that a painter named Sarah Morris had been taking my crease patterns, recoloring and renaming them, and then selling them as her own work (without credit or permission). Needless to say, that was not happy-making, and after some unsuccessful attempts to engage her in rectifying the situation, […]

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I Get Swag

You know when you’ve really made it in a field when people start sending you free stuff in hopes, I suppose, that your famousosity rubs off on the freebies. My moment of made-it-ness happened a few weeks ago, when I was contacted by the good folks at the X-acto (TM) Precision Instruments company, who were […]

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A Subject that Sucks

…blood, that is. In April, 2012, I was approached by the New Yorker magazine to create an origami mosquito as an illustration for an upcoming article. They knew me in part because I’ve done some origami illustration work for Wired magazine, which is part of Conde Nast, the parent company of them both. (Possibly a […]

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Ghost Deer

I haven’t posted in quite a while, mostly because I’ve been bodaciously busy traveling on assorted origami business. The latest (and current) trip was to set up my exhibition at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX. We set everything up Thursday, then came back Friday morning for some finishing touches. I’d folded […]

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Doodling with Sensei

As you may have seen, the Google Doodle for March 14, 2012 is made of origami and celebrates the 101st birthday of Akira Yoshizawa, the father of the modern origami art. Origami has a multi-century history as a folk art in Japan, and Yoshizawa was not the only, or even the first, of his countrymen […]

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Skin in the Game

There’s an anecdote that often makes its way into business/marketing presentations, about the difference between “interest” and “commitment.” The example given pertains to a bacon-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken had an interest; the pig was committed. This sort of differentiation doesn’t come up in the origami world very often. Most origami aficionados pursue the art as […]

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I Haz a Cover

It is not unknown for musicians to use origami for cover art (Jay Ansill‘s album “Origami,” with a range of Elias figures on it, comes to mind), and I always like the combination. Origami and music just naturally seem to go together. Sometimes that is, for me, literal; the occasional 16-hour day in the Origami-d’oh! […]

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Dogs, Design, and a Farewell

There is an old joke about the difference between cats’ and dogs’ relationships with their owners: to a dog, their owner is God, while to a cat, the cat is God. To our 14-year-old black lab, Meg, every human being she ever met was a God, and they all preached the same theology: “And God […]

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The Two Cultures

In early 2010, I was invited to give a talk at a conference organized by philosopher Rob Pennock at Michigan State University, celebrating the 50th anniversary of a famous lecture by British novelist C. P. Snow, titled “The Two Cultures.” In this lecture, and a subsequent book, Snow bemoaned the widening gulf between the sciences […]

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The Fold: Hexabox

My newest installment for OrigamiUSA’s The Fold is up: Crease Pattern: Hexabox It’s a rotationally symmetric, solid-flanged shape based on a cool idea of Jeannine Mosely’s. Looks like this: I’ve used this basic notion for a lot of geometric solids, including several inspired by Southwestern pottery. Most of the curved ones require their creases to […]

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The Haverhill Fritillary

Some figures take hours or days of careful design; others are quick doodles based on exploration of an idea. My latest posting is one of the latter. It started out as just a technical puzzle: “can I add A to B?” But it turned out to have a nice and relatively novel folding sequence, so […]

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Inside the Origami-D’oh! Studio

Origami-D’oh! (J): What you say when the paper rips after 6 hours of precreasing. It’s fall here in Alamo, and the massive oak tree outside is doing its annual best at burying the Origami-D’oh! Studio in leaves: I sometimes get questions about what goes on inside the forbidden city here. I think people might imagine […]

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 3

The shocking revelation of responsibility Yes: the perpetrator of 9/11 was, indeed: And if that doesn’t convince you this was all planned, well, then nothing will. ← Previous: the horrifying story!

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 2

The horrifying story encoded in our currency! Our story begins with the $5 bill. It was a clear day, and two towers rose into the sky… But there was a cloud gathering…it was a shadow of foreboding. And suddenly, one of the towers was struck near the top! An explosion and cascade of debris! Then, […]

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The Truth that even Truthers Deny! Part 1

How origami and American currency proves that the U.S. government orchestrated 9/11 I know, you read that headline and say, “Whoa. That is some serious qhat you’ve been chewing.” But all I can say is this: if you look beyond the “facts,” and the “evidence,” and the “physics,” and the “rationality,” and the “reason,” it […]

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A Familiar Name

Written in 2009. See also Connections. So here I am, in Ithaca, NY, giving a talk at their Light in Winter Festival. It’s my usual math + origami + science + technology + all-this-stuff-is-tied-together spiel. At the end of the talk, there’s the usual Q&A, and then the formal stuff breaks up and individuals walk […]

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Connections (with apologies to James Burke)

This was written in 1997. See also A Familiar Name. In 1992, I left my job researching lasers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and moved to a small company in San Jose called SDL, which designs and manufactures a wide variety of the type of laser called a “semiconductor laser.” San Jose is […]

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