Dread Zeppelin

So way back in early June I was invited to participate in an exhibit Origami as Fine Art being held at Kinokuniya Book Store in NYC just off of Bryant Park. Kinokuniya is a great place, BTW, full of all things Japanese, from manga, anime and robot kits to origami books and specialty papers, and all kinds of other stuff. The exhibit is really nicely put together by Sok Sung and Paul Frasco, and features a great variety of models from a good number of artists. I’m honored to be included among this elite set. The exhibit runs for another two weeks, until mid-July. You can learn all about the exhibit here:


The curators asked me to contribute a Zeppelin. This was on the list of models I’d been meaning to refold out of nicer paper anyway. Last year at convention I picked up a couple sheets of paper specifically for this. The paper is blue, and strong and heavy like Wyndstone, but sparkly like it has flakes of mica embedded into it like Origamido paper sometimes does. I have no idea where it came from or what its called, but it turned out to be up to the task.

As I mentioned before, this is a very challenging and labor intensive model, and I only ever made one successful instance a few years back. I first made a study out of draft paper, and then commenced to fold two Zeppelins in parallel. The thinking was, if I messed one of them up I’d still have a good’n, and if they both came out good I’d have one for myself. The prefolding took a couple sessions and the collapsing took a couple more, since I wetfolded as I went, doing first the nose, and then collapsing the tail. This was all a very delicate operation. I also custom built two new stands for the models. As June progressed I went from staying up late once or twice a week to work on these to practically every night.

In the end I had a bit of a problem with the model staying puffed out at the transition from main body to the tail. I realize now that I should have wetfolded an internal flange of accumulated layers of paper to relieve the stress at the point. I may yet go back and fold yet another Zeppelin now that I know what I’m doing, and so I can be at peace about it. For one of my models I tried to wetfold the hull at that point. This turned out to be a mistake, and I ripped the paper pressing it from the inside with chopstick to shape it. At least I was able to patch it so it doesn’t show. The other one turned out better an the problem was largely solved by good ol’ fashioned wrestling the paper into submission. I had to re-open the tail after it had been wetfolded, but it worked out okay. So the better model I donated to the exhibit, and the other one is the one you see photographed here.

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