Box · Curve Folding

Boxes, with Curved and Bi-Stable Folds

square boxes with curved tops
square boxes with curved tops

I have a few books which present curve folding. Tried my hand at some, but it wasn’t until I read Curved Origami by Ekaterina Lukasheva that it started making more sense to me. Good thing, because her tips helped me feel more confident when I tried to make these little boxes that have a curved closure. I’m referring to this particular folded closure as a bi-stable fold because it has two resting positions, like a wall mounted light switch. You know how a light switch has two resting positions that it clicks into? That’s called a bi-stable switch: two stable resting positions. I like folds that do that same double-resting position thing, especially when they seem to click into position.

Two resting positions for the closure fold

Even though other things I read might have had this same information, what Ekaterina Lukasheva’s book impressed upon me the most is the need to create a template for the curved fold, and to score the curves using this template. While she recommends making them from the plastic cover of an old spiral notebook, I also make do with cutting them from thick paper which is not as good, or as sturdy, but it does work.

Here’s a PDF of the template I made for these boxes. It seems to me that, between the photos and the template, that you’d be able to work out how to make the box. Let me know if I’m wrong about this.

Truffle boxes
Praline box from Ed

Now here’s a little backstory on the boxes.

I was visiting with book artist extraordinaire Ed Hutchins. Before I left he handed me two little boxes of pralines, packaged in these adorable little boxes. The candies were lovely, but it was the packaging that enchanted me. In fact, I let my husband have the chocolates because I wanted the boxes to be emptied.

Here’s the large piece of paper that’s printed with a couple of the boxes that I folded up. It was fun to figure out the graphics. If you use my PDF above, use a cover weight paper, and perhaps do your decoration on the back side of the copy, so that the lines are hidden.

I chose to make the floor of the box by folding in the bottom squares, with the triangle flaps sandwiched in-between. This is not the way the boxes that Ed gave to me were folded, but there was a precision to those cuts that I didn’t want to get into. There are many ways of folding in box bottom. If you try out this box, and have a favorite way to make the floor of a box, there’s no reason not to do it however you like.

I loved this little exploration. There are other projects I’m working on, but taking some time to reverse engineer boxes, then play around with some patterns is just the sort of summertime project that suits me just now.

One last detail about the curve folding: Lukasheva recommends cleaning up the curved fold by using a tool or a finger nail, but to not touch the curve with your fingers, as it adds unwanted moisture to the folds. I used the edge of my bone folder to smooth the curves, which worked well, but I have to admit that my fingers kept touching the folds. I guess I need more practice.


Origami Pockets and a Paper Pickup Truck

Origami Pockets by Kyra

Today’s post is reposting of someone else’s blog. This is only the second time I’ve done a reposting in the 12 years I’ve been writing on these pages.

Celeste Bancos wrote about the way she and her son journeyed through an exploration of folding and discovery. When I read this blog post last March, I was bursting was pleasure at being at all associated with any part of what they did together. The way they moved with their inquiry is exactly what artists do and what mathematicians do, allowing each question to generate another question, each step making their path increasingly unique. Today seems like the perfect day to acknowledge the unique brilliance of every child when they are given the chance and the support.

Coincidentally, the child I made origami pockets with 12 years ago is just now graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard. Congratulations Kyra!

The Daily Nurture

Now that our foster son Noah has moved out, Luke has been complaining a lot about being bored. I’ve been on the lookout for activities we can do together that hit the sweet spot of being educational enough to feel satisfying for me while not being “too hard” or “too boring” for him. I also want to help him fill out his repertoire of fun activities to do on his own, since I’m not able to spend all day long giving him my undivided attention.

The other day while he was hanging around my desk waiting for me to be done with work, he had the idea to make a pickup truck out of paper. Although I was worried that his ambition would outpace his skill level and he’d end up frustrated and crying, I certainly wasn’t going to discourage him from trying. I helped him collect paper, tape and…

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Change of Season

This past season of teaching has been extraordinary. Working with adults over zoom has been every bit as exciting for me as working with young students in person. I’m so fortunate to have had these opportunities of facilitating projects with so many creative and receptive people.

Here is some of the work made by Karen Quigley over these past six months. Karen not only joined Susan Share and me for Zhen Xian Bao & Beyond, but she also was in my 5-week Paper Unbound class, my 12 weeks of Accordion 101, and even did the Weave through Winter month with Helen Hiebert. It’s particularly interesting to work with people who have acquired many skills as they bring
their own ways of working to whatever they do next.

Generally, teaching ends for me in June. This year it’s a bit earlier, but I started a bit earlier too, with the 12 weeks of Accordion101 classes starting in November, overlapping with Paper Unbound classes then going into Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond, which I co-taught with Susan Share. It has been six months of teaching and designing and co-designing projects, all in this unfamiliar Zoom format, trying to do my best while so much was changing. Every week, for months, what was happening with the teaching felt new.

Here’s what’s behind my zoom desk, which is just barely representative of all the paper play that has been happening in this room.

Even though figuring out so many new work flows and methods is exciting, it’s also challenging.

An art-in-Ed project, interrupted by the March 2020 lockdown. This was to be a book report in flexagon format, with attention to symmetry, fonts, and title design.

The arts-in-ed work I’ve done in schools, also gave me opportunities to try out new ideas, as many of the teachers I collaborated with trusted my judgement. I could evolve the work according to what I determined would support the classroom objectives while still exploring ideas that piqued my interest. The way I would teach the structures and content that we’d do year after year would change a little here and there, improving in response to what I’d observe in the classroom. Mostly, unlike in this new Zoom world, things changed incrementally. Each school year up with me feeling jazzed up about the work that had been created and what I had learned from the kids, from the teachers, and from the work the kids made. Still, at the end of the season I would seriously be ready to turn inward, ready to be without an outside structure.

Looking closely and enjoying geometric constructions, Paula Krieg

Now, at the end of this Zoom season, even as I am still thinking about and looking at the exquisite work that I’ve seen done over the past six months, I’m getting excited about letting go of a schedule and just tinkering with the ideas in my head.

To be continued…


The Two Mouth Masu

The Two Mouth Masu

As Susan Share and I are nearing the end of the 12-week CBA Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond class that we are teaching together, the people in our class have acquired so many skills that we now want them to get the hang of playing around with what they know.

This week’s class was such fun for us. Susan and I prepared projects to teach that required that people already know specific folding methods which we then morphed into something else. What was so much fun for Susan and me was that we could just say, “ok, now fold this kind of structure to this point and then we’ll do something unexpected.” In any other setting we’d probably spend 40 minutes or so just getting through the first part of the instruction, but, no, instead, we could just sit back for a couple of minutes while the people in the class simply did what they know how to do.

A Selection of Models of the Two Mouth Masu. Hopefully you can imagine that these close down flat. If not, watch the video below.

The point of this week’s session wasn’t really to make what we were showing. In fact, Susan and I showed things that we’d never shown to groups before because we basically came up with the projects just this week. What we were trying to convey was that, with all these skills that people in our class acquired (along with ones they already have) that they can ask new questions of the folds that they already know how to do.

Aerial View of the Two Mouth Masu

My favorite moments this week were when we would show something that we know could be challenging, and everyone would just get it.

A number of questions were asked about the last structure that was taught this week, specifically, did it have a name and where could they find directions for it? The only directions for it in existence are the ones given in class, and there was no name for the structure. I am changing both of the facts today.

My Two Mouth Masu thank you note to Susan

From today forward this structure is the Two Mouth Masu. All of the photos in this post are this one structure. It begins like a masu box, which is a square origami box, but closes and opens in an entirely different way. It’s like it has two pop-up mouths. I’ve decided to make a video of how to make it because I’m afraid I will forget how to do it, or how to best teach it. So go grap a lightweight foldable piece of paper and enjoy a peek into one of the things we did during Session 10 of Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond.

The video: