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Card-Carrying Blizzard Book, any size you like

Art of the Fold by Hedi Kyle It's so wonderful to have this book in the world.
Art of the Fold by Hedi Kyle
It’s so wonderful to have this book in the world.

Generalization has a bad rap. We’ve all been admonished with the phrase “don’t generalize.” But sometime generalization is a worthy pursuit. Sometimes when you can come up a way to understand something in a general way, it opens up possibilities.

 

Hedi Kyle’s card-carrying Blizzard Book is an elegant, well-loved folding structure. I wrote a post about this structure about 7 years ago: this post of mine has attracted viewers every single day (nearly 20,000 views so far). What I want to do here, in this post, is to generalize the paper proportions so we can make a card-carrier blizzard book that can hold any size cards, not just business cards.

Determining the size of your paper can be done in one of two ways: 1)referencing the cards themselves or 2)measuring the cards then doing some calculations with numbers. I do it both ways, starting with no measuring tools except for the cards that will be going into the book’s pockets, then I do the math to check and refine.

There’s a video link at the end of this post, demonstrating how to discover the perfect size paper for your cards of choice, but here’s photos and a description, too, because a snap shot may be all you need to see what’ going on.

two widths, one length
two widths, one length, to find the measurement of the short edge of the paper you will need

First, or course you have to know the size of the cards that you want to put into the pockets. These cards will have a length(bottom) and a width (side).

To find the short side of the paper you will be needing, stack two short edges of your cards plus one long edge of your card, then add just a bit more. In the example above my cards are 3.5″ x 5.5″ so I added 3.5 + 3.5 + 5.5 + .5 = 13 inches. This is the short edge of the paper I will need to cut.

Keep in mind that the paper you will be needing will be a long narrow rectangle.

four short edges to determine 1/2 of the paper I will be cutting
doubling the length of the four short edges gives you the length of the paper you will need

To determine the long edge of the paper you will need, measure one short edge of the card for every pocket that you want to have in your book. I usually make books with eight pockets, so I measure four short sides then double this length, and finally add another 1/8″ per pocket. In the example above, the short sides of my cards are 3.5″ so four of these are 14 inches, doubling this makes 28 inches, then I add one more inch and get 29″.

My eight-pocketed book will, therefore, by 13″ x 29″. If I want 16 pockets, like what Hedi shows in her book, I double ONLY the length of the paper. In my example my paper would then need to be 13″ by 58″.

Here’s the video of me telling you all of the above.

 

Addendum: Here’s a video on how to make the blizzard book. The paper I use in this video is 13″ x 29″.

Thoughts

Of Procrastination and Plateaus

Desk

About 10 years ago (maybe more)  I happened to pick out Martha Beck’s Expecting Adam from the local library’s bookshelf, which led me to search out more of her writing. An especially novel and compelling view she wrote about was on procrastination. My interpretation of what she was saying is that procrastination is the way that the wiser part of ourselves tries to protect us from making commitments to directions that are not right for us. After reading Beck, I’ve embraced procrastination like a friend who helps me keep my actions aligned to my goals and values. When I can exercise even a modicum of self-awareness I let my procrastination help me fine tune the direction of my energies so that I am able to resist leading myself astray.

I’ve been procrastinating about posting for the last few week because there is something, other that what I had planned, that I want to write about.

It’s about when I’m plateauing with my work,. Since writing about this feels uncomfortable to me,  I’ve been trying to dismiss the idea of writing this post. After weeks of not writing, it occurs to me that avoidance is not an option.

I want to write about what I’ve come to believe about plateaus, as this belief largely defines the way that I move through my days.

First, a  bit of context.

I am just now finishing up something that I thought would take about 3 hours. Instead it has, so far, taken me 3 full days of steady work. I really am just about done. But as the hours started piling up, as I was feeling like I was making absolutely no progress, I started to think about how often I am in the position of feeling like I am working without any results whatsoever. I make mistakes. I try out ideas that don’t go anywhere. I’m indecisive. I get tired.  My work area gets chaotic and I can’t find anything. ARgh.

Then I clean up my work area. Depending how long I’ve been at it or if I have a deadline, I may then take a break, or may keep working. Maybe I feel frustrated, maybe I’m getting impatient, but what I do NOT do is retreat. This is not procrastination. It’s something completely different. I know this territory well. I am on a plateau.

Here’s what I know about plateaus. It may look like I’m not making any progress. In fact everything that I do when I’m plateauing might be discarded. Actually, that’s what usually happens. But something else is going on. I know that if I just keep working, something wonderful is going to happen. And it does. Every time. Even though it seems like the plateau is lasting forever, it doesn’t last forever.

It seems like everything that I do, everything I try to learn, everything that I create, takes me so much longer than seems reasonable. I stay with things because this is the only way to get where I want to be.  Plateaus are the gatekeepers to my next levels, so I just keep plodding plodding plodding along. Happily, I love where I end up each time.

There. I’ve written this. Now I can get back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hexagons and the Golden Ratio


This past Sunday I brought some hexagons to a nearby library, where a homeschooling group was meeting, hoping to do some math/art. My thinking was to bring something that was playful, hands-on, and that combined visuals and math in a way that would be both engaging and instructive.  The woman who asked me to do this project had seen my post on circles and the golden ratio https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/sorting-out-the-golden-ratio/   and was looking for me to do something that explored this golden ratio idea with kids.


The Golden Ratio is found in nature, and is a darling concept of artists, designers, and mathematicians. It’s also a tricky proportional relationship which is not easy grasp. I started out the session reading a definition of the golden ratio, and explained that, generally, the only people who understand its definition are people who understand it already. I let them know that my aim was to  convey the  message that if they are confronted with a difficult idea, a great way to move forward is to play with the idea. Just play.

Which is what we did.

The spectacular thing that happens to shapes that are scaled by the golden ratio is the way they fit together. This is hard to explain but a close examination of the proportions in picture above pretty much says it all.

Putting this into words sounds a bit incomprehensible, but I will try anyhow.: First, understand that scaling something means you are making something uniformly bigger or smaller by a chosen amount. If there are three shapes scaled consecutively larger by the golden ratio,then the two smaller shapes will fit exactly into the largest shape.

See, like this:

Golden Ratio Hexagons
Golden Ratio Hexagons

A few people who’ve seen these have commented on the beautiful papers that we used. I thought they meant the colors, which is bright copy paper. But now I’ve realized that people like the graphics on the shapes. These aren’t patterned paper, these are patterns made on my printer, printing with black ink. It was my way of easily distinguishing between the shapes, as all the same sizes have the same graphics on them.

Sample of hexagon file
Sample of hexagon file on regular copy paper.

Since I have printer that makes 11″ x 17″ inch copies I printed from a file that has lots of hexagons in an 11″ x 17″ file. This gave me room to print a really big hexagon that I’ve been showing in the photos above.

I know that many people don’t have access to this larger size, so I made a pdf for regular size copy paper. To get the largest size, I suggest cutting out the big half-hexagon, and tracing it twice on larger paper so you end up with a big, whole hexagon.

And since Simon and Vince use A4 I made an A4 file.

Here they are:  use the files for the size paper you are putting in your printer.

hexagpn golden ratio 11 x17

hexagpn golden ratio 11 x17 (2)

8.5 x 11 hexagons golden ratio 

A4-hexagons-golden-ratio

A4-hexagons-golden-ratio2

There is so much to notice in these pieces! First, people seemed to have a hard time feeling finished: the more they did, the more possibilities they saw. There are all sorts of opportunities to talk about equalities. Also, I noticed that equilateral triangles kept showing up. This isn’t something that we talked about, but it could have been. Oh, and see in the photo above how that green hexagon fits perfectly into the triangle?

Doing her own thing
I tried to explain the golden ratio and its specific measurement and relationships to this little girl, but no matter how much I told her about the ratio which we call phi, and how the exponents -1, 0, 1 ,2, 3, 4, and 5 were sequentially applied to the base of 1.618 to achieve our shapes, and that she should be putting phi^1 and phi^2 into phi ^3 she chose to respond to every one of my helpful hints with the words “MY PROJECT!” Although there was ample opportunity for us to chat up the associative property, seeing that if a +b = c, and b+c=d. then a + b +b =d, she still hung on to her insistence of “MY PROJECT!” Obviously she is a renegade.

Not everyone stayed with the program. The young lady above (3 years old) had her mother get her started in the right direction, but then she took off on her own, plotting her own course.

No background!
No background!

I like how this young person (she is 8 years old) decided to cut off the background hexagon.

There are much more I could write about this project, but it’s really about discovery. So I will leave it at this.

 

Just one last note: for gluing, we used glue sticks.

Zhen Xian Bao

Chinese Thread Book Workshop, so how did it go?

Linda’s

Running workshops is absolutely one of my favorite things, And this workshop was a good as it gets.

Two 6 hour days worked out well.

My own big takeaways:

Group folding
Group folding

Although people had their own desk area to work at, I began the day with all of us at a group table, without much personal workspace. We did most of our paper folding in these close quarters, as I think we all enjoyed the close proximity of each other. This made it easier for everyone to help each other, and for me to keep an eye on everyone. We’d spread out at different times, and people would go back to their more spacious desk area now and then for various reasons. I really liked how this worked out.

variation of the twist top box
Alan’s variations of the twist top box

 

Only two of the eight participants wanted to do learn the flower top box, and I wasn’t entirely surprised by this. What did surprise me is that, after showing one person a variation on the design  for twist-top box, numerous people got excited about these variations and tried them out. I’ve played around with these variations (which includes making folds and cuts and the upper edge of the box so that, when the sides rotate down, a surprising patterned is revealed) but I hadn’t tried out these variations using my patterned papers. I was outrageous pleased with how these turned out.

mix and match
mix and match

People seemed to love the patterns on the papers, which were designed specifically to work with the paperfolding that we were doing. The great things about these papers, for me, was that to make the patterns line up just right the paper folding had to be precise. If alignment was off, it was easy to see and easy to fix. It was like the designs were a sentient helper.

Pam's choices
Pam’s choices

People mixed and matched the papers in all sorts of surprising ways that wouldn’t have occured to me. This was so much fun to see. Makes me want to design more papers.

Glue with squeeze bottles, Pat's boxes
Glue with squeeze bottles, Pat’s boxes

I felt like I was making a radical decision in deciding not to use brushes for glueing. Most of the gluing was done with plastic squeeze bottles filled with Jade/PVA. People usef glue sticks just a bit to just secure down a tab here and there. We used double sided tape to attach the covers. All of this worked out really well. Was happy not to have brushes and bowls of glue around.

Mary Anne's pieces
Mary Anne’s pieces

One regret: I didn’t take enough photos. Also, I wish there had been enough time for us to stop and look at what each other did, as a group. I think two of the participants didn’t finish 100% with putting on their covers, though I know that they can do it on their own. I just like to be there when it all comes together just right at the end.

Yeah, I think I need to do some more paper designs. Really love these, but want something new to look at.

Related Posts:

This link https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/category/how-to-construct-zhen-xian-bao/ will take you to four different posts, each of which have a video tutorial near the end of each post, which shows how to make the various parts of the Zhen Xian Bao

Addendum 9/29/2018: Nancy Akerlyi recently taught a Chinese Thread Book.  Take a look at the gorgeous work done by her and by her students at http://www.libertygrovepaperarts.com/chinese-thread-books.html