Turtle In a Tree

I recently folded one of my Snapping Turtles for the Origami USA annual Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History. Every year the origami society does a holiday tree decorated with origami. This year the theme is Origami Around the Museum, which opens up a wide range of subjects. I dropped the model off there today at lunchtime. It’s exciting to see the tree coming together, and it’s also really nice to take a walk thru Central Park on a crisp fall day.

I’m also really happy with the way the Turtle came out. I folded it out of a sheet of golden-yellow Tant paper that I bought from Nicholas Terry’s Origami Shop last fall. I can’t say enough about how great this paper is for complex models. It comes in nice big sheets (35cm square) and is a good deal thicker and stronger than kami but much thinner and more workable than Wyndstone or Canson. For the style of model I design it’s great; foil or wet-folding are completely unnecessary. I also came up with a subtle but important improvement in folding the shell. At the end where the shell becomes 3-D, instead of doing simple crimps around the edge, I do a fold — I don’t know if there’s a name for it but I’m going to call it a sink-crimp and if you’re an origami person you’ll understand. It works great and locks the shell together really strongly.

This is as good a time as any to update you on the progress of my book. I’m in the middle of three diagrams now, for my Moose, for my Adirondack Chair and for my Elephant Mark II. Actually the first two of these are nearly done, up to the point where the model becomes 3-D. The Moose turned out to be pretty long and complicated at over 60 steps! Perhaps unsurprisingly, the steps get hard to draw as the model progresses, especially at the end. Alot of the time I work on the book late a night, and often I’m tired, so I’ll do something less hard but still productive like the beginning or middle of another model.

I feel like I’m falling a bit behind the pace I’m setting for myself, although it’s still pretty good, given how busy we’ve been this fall. I had hoped to have 8 to 10 models diagrammed by the end of the year; and I’m on track for 6 by the end of November, and 2 to 4 in a month is unlikely. I guess when this set of three is done I can go back and update some models already diagrammed into the new format for the book and that will speed things up compared to doing tons of new drawings.

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