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:

Flexagons · folding

Video Tutorial for My Flexagon

About a month ago I zoom-taught a group of about 200 people how to make this very sweet fidgety flexagon that I had created. The Museum of Mathematics hosted the event.

As I want to show this to anyone who wants to learn it, I (finally) made a tutorial video of my flexagon.

Start with any square, or the cool graphic above, which is my work. I love this version with the MoMath logo on it.

Here’s the video:

A big shout out to MoMath, who, once again, were a pleasure to work with!

If you make one of these, send photos! Have fun.


Pleated Star and Template

Creating this radial pleating occupied much of this past week.

Would love to see other people make something like this, so am sharing the process and the template.

This began by seeing a folding designed by Anna Rudanksi in Paul Jackson’s Complete Pleats book, page 199…

…and Tomoko Fuse’s infinite folds, Origami Art Works by a Modern Master, page 84.

I tried out a few different ways to set up the folding. The PDF below shows the final pattern I made then folded. The paper is 11″ x 17.” For more about how to make all these creases, take a look at my video which shows how to do this sort of folding.

When I was testing out the folding pattern, I was using a 24 lb paper. I think I would like something slightly heavier if I was making the whole thing out of paper. What I actually used is something that is a synthetic paper, which can get wet, because the finished piece is going to hang on an outside door.

Scoring then folding

I made 10 of these pieces, first scoring then folding.

I did the folding over several days.

Next step was to group them together in pairs, overlapping by 25%. Used linen thread to sew them together, since I didn’t trust this synthetic paper with adhesives. Also did a turn in on the lower (inside) the edges. Not really sure if this was really necessary. For the turn in, I used the method that Joe Nakashima shows in his Origami Fireworks video between 7’10” and 8’20.”

Here’s me with my husband, hoping that eight units would be enough. Nope, needed two more.

Finished piece is 25 inches cross. Rays are every 12 degrees. One step is left, which is to mount it on board so that it can hang up.

I’m quite happy with the way this piece turned out.

Not everyone in my household shares my enthusiasm.

Addendum: If you liked this post and want to consider supporting a children’s Lunch, Learn and Play program in my rural community, please visit this link to discover some math/art that you or some children you know might find inspiring. It’s a collection of math/art cards to color, which I designed and which have a story and the link to the math that they are built with.


Folding, Teaching, Zooming

Fascinated by Folding: maybe that’s what I should called the next set of classes I’ll be teaching at Center for Book Arts, via zoom, over 4 weeks starting afternoons at the end of April or for 4 weeks in the evenings starting in the beginning of May.

Alas, these classes are called Flat Foldable Pleats, and Edge Release Explorations. I don’t think anyone will even know what that means. I’m hoping that the picture will sell the class,

I’ve been taking this deep dive into pleating and edge-release folds, which is a whole different thing than symmetrical pop-ups, which I also love. After playing with unusual foldings, like miura folds, and examining Paul Jackson’s books for years, I started playing around with the idea of teaching these lesser known structures.

My last couple of submissions to the Bridges Organizations Math Art shows, like the piece above, have reflected my interest these pleated folds.

They are fun, challenging, and always surprising. Some of the folds, like the hexagon bellows there with the compass leaning against it, are a bear to fold.

Duck and Fold

Other folds, like simple one above, in which an edges of the paper are released by cuts from the folds they might have been bound to, create gorgeous architectural effects, which become even more delightful with some thoughtful photography.

In fact, many mornings this past winter I would get up to do early morning folding just so that I could photograph the constructions in the early morning sunlight. It was a satisfying way to start the day, especially during those stressful days from early November until mid January.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that it appears that I’m getting the hang of teaching on zoom. I feel like I’m figuring out how to create the feeling of connection that I like so much about in person teaching. One big discovery for me is that it’s great to ask people to unmute themselves for our whole class. Don’t know why more people don’t do this. This leaves the way open for people to interject comments, ask questions at critical moments, and lets me know if my pace needs to be adjusted.

I’m finding, too, that some people who take workshops have figured out how to adjust their cameras so that I can see them AND their workspace. Seeing people’s work and as well as their expressions as they work is such a pleasure.

A year ago I had no idea that I’d be able to do this kind of teaching from a little production studio in my home that I could not have even imagined being there. The twists and turns of life never cease to surprise me.