The Trident Closure

As the first day of teaching Zhen Xian Bao in Depth approaches, I am in constant planning mode. I scrutinize very clever bit of paper engineering that I come across. My husband has recently taken to buying packs of Trident gum, which are packaged in a variety of ways. The pack he brought in last night caught my eye, so I’m recreating it as a cover/closure that I may or may not use in a class.

Tools needed, with paper recommendations

The fact that Susan Joy Share, who co-instructs the ZXBinDepth class with me, knows and creates such a wealth of closure solutions makes it unnecessary for me to work out any more. Last year Susan showed our classes some examples of what people call Nag Hammadi closures, named for the methods used on some ancient books found in Upper Egypt. She also developed some a gorgeous crocheted closure that seems to grow out of the cover it is on, as well as demonstrating ways to use magnets to make our folded forms shut with a satisfying click.

Folder with Closure for a mini-Chinese Thread Book

With such a treasure chest of methods that are already part of our plans, adding the Trident Gum packing option seems dubious. Still, it’s so darn sweet that I’m going to park it here.

Here’s the video of how to make this:

Zoom Meeting

Folding for Ukraine

Folding for Ukraine

Here’s an event that deserves its own post. I very much want to spread the word about this opportunity to show support to Ukraine while at the same time spending time with some incredibly special people.

This Sunday, January 29, 2023 the organization Folding Didactics is hosting a day-long conference, Folding for Ukraine, They are asking for a mere donation of  2 $/€/£, which will go towards the work they do to show solidarity with the Ukrainians struggle for freedom.

Paul Jackson

The cause is stellar, and so is the line-up. Three of my heroes in one zoom event! Paul Jackson, whose books I’m been devouring for years, will be there.

An Origami Snake that I learned watching Dr Lizzie Burns during a live folding session in March 2021

Dr. Lizzie Burns, whose approach to teaching paper folding completely captivated me when I found her during the early days of Covid lock down days, will also be presenting.

Joan Sallas

Joan Sallas, a highly skilled folder, passionate scholar, and delightful instructor, provides the final workshop of the day. Joan recently showed his amazing collection of Zhen Xian Bao to a group of Ukrainian teachers, which I was lucky enough to have joined through zoom. Joan lives in Spain, gave his presentation in French, which was then translated into in the language of Ukraine. It was amazing to see many of the Zhen Xian Bao in his collection. I have been a fan of Joan’s research and instruction for as long as I’ve known about him. He will be talking about methods for teaching folding, which is something I absolutely don’t want to miss.

Nick Robinson, Lee Armstrong, and Micheal LaFosse will be presenting earlier in the day. I don’t these three gentlemen, but am looking forward to getting to know them.

The final event of the day will be Ukrainian teachers talking briefly about their work and their experiences in using origami during the war.

As I’m waking up here in New York at 7am Sunday morning, the folding event will just be heading into their 3 pm afternoon break. When they resume at 4 pm EEST/ UTC/ GMT+2 time it will be 8am here. Fortunately, Folding Didactics will make the recordings available to registrants. Needless to say, I’ve registered. Hope you check it out, too.

Folding For Ukraine


Excavated Dodecahedron

Just hearing those two words together, excavated dodecahedron, was enough. No question, had to make one.

A regular dodecahedron is 12 sides, with pentagons on each side. Popularly known these days as D-12 among those who roll dice.

My excavated dodecahedron has the silhouette of a D-12, but the faces are pushed in. The sides of each cave are made of five equilateral triangles.

When I first started building dodecahedrons from paper, I found it really helpful to know that each point of the D-12 was flanked by three and only three pentagons. Armed with, and delighted by, this bit of enlightenment I made my pattern for the excavated dodecahedron from four copies of 15 equilateral triangles arranged together just right – see below.

The above image kind of looks like there is a hexagon in the middle of the pattern, but I’ve colored it to show that said hexagon is three pairs of parts of five-faced arrangements. Here’s a PDF that you can use to make your own, just remember you’ll need four copies of it. There’s no real directions with the PDF, but you should be able to figure it out from the photos as long as you keep in mind that each vertex is surrounded by just three pentagons. I’m calling each caved-in face a pentagon.

I think the top view is my favorite angle.

After I finished up making this D-12- in-grays today, I posted about it on Twitter (yes, I am still there…)

I actually had a question that I was hoping that someone over there could answer. I was wondering what it would look like if those excavated faces were popped out instead of in. The first thing my wondering made me do was to see if it could even be made. It could. It looks like a dodecahedron that is considering becoming a star.

These are so dimensional that they don’t photograph all that well, but maybe you can get the idea of polyhedra with 60 faces.

Well, my curiosity about the name of this shape was, like, instantaneously satisfied. My friend who goes by the handle @HypercubicPeg sent me a link to this magical looking paper Elevations and Stellations, giving me the confidence to call my shape an elevated dodecahedron. I love that name. I like when things have a name. But that’s not all. @emacdo, Ethan Macdonald, who has a glorious website tab labeled Polyhedra wrote “It has at least one name – hexecontahedron (60-faced polyhedron)” then followed with the tweet below:

All in all, it was a successful Sunday morning.

There’s just one more delightful thing. It seemed to me that my elevated dodecahedron would likely play nicely with my excavated dodecahedrons.

It turns out my hunch was entirely true. My collections of dodecahedron-based polyhedrons fit together like peas in a pod.

One last photo, because I like it so much. Here’s the inside of the excavated D-12 as it’s coming together. Cozy looking in there?

Finally, Happy Birthday to my dear friends Cynthia and Susan. They don’t share a birthday, but close enough.

Yikes! Onw more thing: I’m teaching a three session zoom class at the Center for Book Arts soon, that’s completely focuses on looking at making these kinds of solid forms. It’s a super fun class. Realm of Solids Registration open until February 16, starts February 23.

Community · Thoughts

Getting Together

Logo for Rotary Arts, drawn by Angela Krieg

My twenty-something daughter is now Boston-based. She recently sent me a link to an Instagram account: Rotary Arts. It’s a group of young artists who have come together, meeting, posting, and being in touch with each other. They have a fun logo, which my daughter designed, of a rotary phone and a banana. Fun, to remind them of their intent for coming together.

Increasingly, I’m noticing ways that people are creating connections. Belonging comes in many forms, some with intentional design, others that form organically.

The group my daughter is a part of seems to be a bit of both: intentionally formed, and organically growing. I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through the group’s Instagram feed, looking and the art and reading the prose. There is a reassuring sense that they are in this together.

A page of my drawing in my twitter friend Clarissa Grandi’s Artful Maths Acitivity Book, my review of which is embedded in her linktree

I write this as my twitter community, which I stumbled into eight years ago, has been disrupted. It’s meant a great deal to me to have felt a sense of comradery there, hence it’s kind of surprising that I’m not more upset about the disruption. I think that this is because so many of the connections that I made there are now solid on their own. Just because that platform is no longer what it was doesn’t mean that the people that I felt happy to know no longer exist. Even though communicating is less frequent and not as fluid, our rich history feels like a solid foundational piece of my being. Even if it’s not out there, it’s still in here.

I am looking around at what other people do, and how they do it. I’m enjoying learning about organizations who not only keep in touch with their members, but also offer regularly scheduled member events. Providing a platform where members can independently connect with each other is an added plus. If you are someone who wants to mention such an organization, please write about it in the comments sections below!

I’ve long admired how artist Helen Hiebert creates community. If I were to mention everything she does, this post would be way too long, but here’s some things that I’d like to highlight.

Woven Paper, upcycling an Aboriginal Art Calendar, by Davida Feder, 2022 Weave through Winter

For the fifth year in a row Helen is offering a Weave Through Winter class, where, throughout the month of February, she offers daily prompts and pre-recorded instruction. I mostly know about this class because of the people who sign up for the class year after year, and seem enjoy looking forward to it as much as the actual class. The format is a good one: a month long during deep winter, then it’s over.

Helen also does a year long class, which she calls the Paper Year. What I like about this, besides her wonderful content, is that people sign up for one year at a time. I have to say that I like offerings that have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I have a bad attitude towards subscription communities that lock you into a current price that remains good only if you remain in the group indefinitely, though if you stop following for awhile then re-join price is higher. To me, this feels punitive. What Helen does, which is a one-year at a time choice, feels much friendlier.

Super sweet chicks sharing their warmth
Cozier Together

Helen and I haven’t taken each other’s classes, mostly, I think, because the busiest parts of our teaching seasons overlap, Still, she has a platform where I can feel part of her circle, which is her Facebook group The Paper Studio. Every Friday she asks what people are doing with paper. Sometimes I’m more active on that page than other times, but it’s always nice to know I can jump in anytime.

The way I’ve been doing something in terms of creating community is this cool idea that Susan Share and I came up with while teaching our lengthy Zhen Xian Bao classes: we do our best to facilitate the people who are taking our class to meet up together on zoom outside of class time, to fold together. Last year every one who was taking the class, as well as “alumni” from the previous year were invited to join in whenever a fellow student would step forward to zoom-host a session, which generally happened on Saturdays. Lots of people would show up for these sessions, and everyone enjoyed them a great deal. The only problem was that, although people loved joining in, barely anyone wanted to host, so some weeks there’d be no meeting. (Thank you Amy B for hosting so many times!)

Twist Box on Rectangular Tray, Zhen Xian Bao, Paula Krieg

This year we think we’ve found a solution to the hosting issue, as there is one person who will be taking on the hosting position. Now that we have even more alumni, and a great new group starting soon, I will be interested to see if these people continue together after the class is over in mid-April. If their meetings continue, they will find their own form.

Son's cat, staring me down
Groups are not for everyone. I respect that position.

Something I’ve found helpful to realize about groups is that participation is important.. As well as initiating interactions, its at least equally important to respond to others. Acknowledging interesting input from others strengthen the whole community, What’s good for the whole community is good for each individual.

Now, if you would like to be a fan of the Instagram group that my daughter is a part of, this, again, is the link; I recommend it.