Popping Up, Re-engineered

I mentioned that when I was in LA I visited the Japanese bookstore of my dreams, Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo. Boy, was I a good girl: I got out of that crack house with change from a Benjamin. Most of my moolah went towards one item: The Art of Paper Folding for Pop-up , by Miyuki Yoshida.

It contains thirty stunning examples of paper cutting/origami pop-up inserts for cards, from so simple I could get it, to those so elegant and complicated that they require the skills of a sushi chef and a mechanical engineer. In fact Yoshida gives her profession as “paper engineer.”  I’m more like a paper hod carrier, an I proved it again today.

You see this is one of those too cool for school “art” not “craft” books. There’s a short author bio and thassit — not one line of type. No dedication, no acknowledgements, and certainly no directions! You’re given the elegant finished product, then you’re on your own.

I chose the first example which calls for but one cut and five folds. I spent some time with a T square and a pencil, a watercolor pencil and a pair of scissors, and loved the result. Here’s a kiss to my favorite card maker:

Cute, huh? A talking mouth or a cheeping beak? But the experience was enlightening: I was making it too complicated and I was doing it backwards! Hey, maybe I inherited one tiny engineering gene from my father, a chemical engineer who spent his professional life in the newsprint business. That makes him a paper engineer, right?

OK, I cheated. Drawing that perfect square on the spine of the card was a pain. Of anyone I know, who owns more square colored stuff? Why moi: origami paper, and thanks to my friend Priscilla, small squares. So I decided to make a trio of cheeping beaks, suitable for Easter or National Poultry Week.

Step one: Paste the squares, diamond style, on the spine of the card:












Draw a faint line in pencil across the center of the diamond. Fold the card, and cut across the line:





















nd here’s the genius part: turn the card inside out so that the colored squares are on the inside. Fold the sides downward , in what in origami-speak is a valley fold. The center lines should be pinched upwards , in a mountain fold, which the refolding of the spine encourages. This is helpful: what the pop-up looks from the wrong side:













Ta Dah!

Yacketty yack!











So, bored during a thunderstorm. I trotted out my essential, in too many ways to mention, paper. I had to figure something out, and realized I was making it hard for myself. Then I conjured my paper engineer and made myself laugh. Funnnnn.






Filed under Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Cool Japanese Stuff, Less than 50 cents, Origami, Paper

6 responses to “Popping Up, Re-engineered

  1. The spaces in my brain allotted to squares and mountains and valleys and sides-of-a-box and which-of-these-diagrams, when-folded, will make this shape? have been for too long greedily filled up with words, so I’ll put all these lovely, incomprehensibly intricate, stunningly amazing, starkly beautiful images in my heart.

    Girl, you DO beat all.

  2. You know, Rachel, origami is a place I go to where I can escape from words — I’d never thought of it that clearly before. Thanks for your wisdom.

    And forgive me, all, for such a visual dog’s breakfast of a post! Something odd happened after I published it, and I can’t seem to fix it.

  3. Sweetpea, you are too kind. Not Wisdom, but trying to explain a great Design Flaw in my brain—I just don’t GET spatial things. My only saving grace in that regard is that I can measure out any amount—t, T., C., into my palm or a container and it’s usually right.

  4. Patty

    Thank you. I love it, it does make one laugh –

  5. kim shook

    Adorable! I actually like ‘fiddly’ things, but am bad at reading directions. I truly believe that I could do brain surgery if someone just SHOWED me!

  6. Kim: that’s the thing about origami — mostly the directions are visual, not written, so it encourages the “show me” part of the brain. Patty, Babe, glad you got a laugh.

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