Arches, Loops and Louvers

When any graphic is stretched over a three-dimensional folded Kirigami form, as I enjoy doing, its basic property of being anchored upon a flat ground plane is undermined. Pure visual form is bent or ‘refracted’ by clinging to the physical lattice of linked planes. A graphic form may be fragmented by the physical form, but it is not necessarily subverted entirely.  Instead, a tangible form and a graphic form can be merged in a way that develops new insight about them.

Here is a ‘popup’ base, made up of a group of five half-arches. The outer four parts intersect in the middle, where they form a secondary folding axis, upon which a fifth half-arch pops up.  I’ve shone a luminous aura of concentric, circular color fields over this form. This picture shows a captured image in Adobe Illustrator, as rendered in 3D using the Origami plug-in.

Form_color_from_Origami_adjusted_2

 

Such a simple, static thing, although pleasing as such, could serve as a good base platform for something more complex. I wanted to couple a translucent graphic image to it that would cling to it very loosely and lightly. Some great potential pairings were found when I considered images created by a 20th century master graphic artist, Josef Albers.

My first piece here references Albers’ woodcut, “Embraced” (1933). Albers’ graphic art is known for implying a third dimension in subtle and ambiguous ways. He would differently shade adjacent areas within outlines, so a shaded areas could belong to more than one plane.

Arches_Embraced_160PPI

 

Albers_Encircled

My second piece here references Albers’ lithograph, “Shrine” (1942).

Arches_Shrine_11M

Albers_Shrine

 

 

In these Kirigamis, you as a viewer are invited to reconstruct the referenced graphic, which cannot be seen in its entirety from any single angle of view. As if refracted through prisms, the lines can variously appear both broken or continuous, depending on a specific angle of view.  Albers’ consciously ambiguous shadings can still be enjoyed in the Kirigamis, but a viewer has to actively move his or her their head (or turn the piece) through a wide range of viewing angles (say, 60o horizontally by 30vertically) to take in all of these new implications.

The animation camera does a part of this work for you here. Such optics can be sensed by viewing my animations, yet they do not give you the same perceptive experience as does active viewing.

The outer color field also shines through from within both pieces. It can be glimpsed between the slats and in the wider openings, where it blends visually with the surface color field. Like the drawn graphic, it leads the viewer to look for the blending effects as seen from different angles. It’s other role is to show a positive space inside of the form, not a shadowy void.

Albers himself was fascinated with paper folding, and he gave popular classes about it.

 

A technical note. I conceived this form using a program called Popup Card Studio, which I learned to use by following a series of online tutorials. I applied graphic overlays to it in Adobe Illustrator. Popup Card Studio provides a built-in tool for drawing half-arches, which are made of steps. The step risers are designed to become gradually smaller toward one side of a half-arch (two half arches are usually joined at the top to make a full arch, but not so in this construction). 

I use the word “referenced” above to mean that my use of these graphics is consistent with the legal concept of “fair Use”. These pieces transform the viewer’s personal action toward and  perception of those referenced graphics. 

Flags in a sea breeze

 

frames-tone-crop-900x827_pixelsIn this paper sculpture, flags are flapping as though in an onshore sea breeze. They are seaman’s international maritime signal flags.  The borrowed painting, The Calm Sea was painted by Gustave Courbet in Normandy in 1869.

I played here with a formal model which was seen in a graphic art textbook.

Jackson 5.1.2_2B seven base folds

I re-arranged the elements to synchronize the 3D form with the picture. A second picture layer is attached behind the first layer to fill in the openings where the flags were folded out.

frontal view adjusted

 

Fibonacci x Kirigami

In a salute to the Armenian heritage of a clever and lovely woman, to whom my dear son, Peter, is engaged to be married, this Kirigami glows with the colors of the Flag of Armenia.

RedBlueCopper_3x2

Another one, made previously, now looks subdued by comparison:

GreenBlueCopper

Acknowledgements  The form is one of Guy Petzal’s simpler Ullagamis. A single piece of paper was cut and folded to make each model (plus the mount). The dots embody a mathematical pattern known as a golden ratio Fibonacci sequence, also seen in nature in  sunflowers or pine cones.

Harmoniously Askew

Emma visited the “Defibrillator Performance Arts Gallery” in Chicago with Joshua, where he took this photo of her.

In Chicago March 2017

It’s almost like a charmed stage set, with lovely highlights and shadows, the bow arch and the shadow profile of her, even the little puff of vapor. And so, I’ve rendered it as a  Kirigami!

Emma-at-gallery

The flowing waters behind the pop-up form may evoke her feelings for the ongoing  performance. Might this piece also try to infer his feelings (the photographer’s) for her?

This is my first use of skewed forms in a one-piece, right-angle pop-up (a Kirigami). Without the photo on the front, it looks like this.

Basic form

The concept is shown by a simple design diagram, as the form is visualized when opened out flat. It would be so before doing the physical preparation for folding (that is, before cutting and scoring).

Diagram of Kiri

 

 

Call me Trouper

This old guy is a large Amazon Green parrot named Trouper. And vocally militant he can sometimes be. I had some fun scrambling his portrait to caricature my impression of his ‘dark side’. He looks so much sweeter in the original photo shown here [in my blog].

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His claws and beak have drawn blood. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” – Lewis Carrol

With my apologies to his indentured  caregiver, N.L.P.

nlp

A quickly paced technical tutorial on the method that I used in Photoshop is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMXt4KDXk7k.

 

 

A cache of sunny cubes

A second sister to my recent prior floating cube piece. The whole relief is an intact, single piece of paper. A second flat graphic, attached behind the relief one, fills in the gap from which the relief sprang forth. It is not a pop-up.

A wider view is here.

floatcubes02_17

Copyright William James 2017, general reproduction rights reserved, but images may be pinned or linked out elsewhere if  this post is credited as the source.

Crystalline Kirigami

Three paper shells comprise this crystalline 3-D model: the folded surface shell, folded middle shell and a flat back shell. It has two, nested interior volumes. One is behind the front shell, and the other, behind the middle shell.

In the digitally designed model, these shells were a sequence of three planes. Those  planes were linked into one continuous, accordion-folded zig-zag. I suppose the product of this interesting method could still be classified among all other Kirigamis, although some might surmise I’m bending the definition to fit. In the digital model, as visualized with the origami plugin, it is one inflected but unbroken object. I had to print, cut and fold three separate paper prints to make it, in practice. It would have been too cumbersome to handle with two hands, otherwise.

pyramid_quilty_1024_6841_pauses

My recent post showed the same Kirigami form in a single shelled design. I imagined there still could be a way to impart more depth and volume than that one had. The outer ‘butterfly wing web’ was a fun design project while learning how to make a color gradient mosaic in Adobe Illustrator.

Strathmore 451-1 paper, watercolor textured, 8″ x 9″ unfolded; Epson P-600 pigment ink printer. Copyright 2017, rights reserved by William James. It’s OK to pin or link images to a noncommercial blog, and please credit this post as the source.

 

Cubes let the colors out

As always in Kirigami, only one sheet of worked paper makes the 3D object, and it is still intact. The folding of all the forms out and forward from the prime axis leaves a hole where that material was lifted away from the middle of the paper. The piece shown here is attached to an identical sheet behind it. This is done to fill the hole as though the sheet were both cut and uncut, and it enhances the 3D effect as follows.

Turning the piece,  one finds many unique angles at which the eye projects from a color streak on the 3D figure, back to its place of overlap on the two background planes. Follow the colored stripes outward as the colors merge in certain frames.

airy-cubes-v2

The cubes are sitting in a sunny space where they may be grazed by color streaks. Or, maybe the colors have just streaked out of them because they were opened?

 

 

Imagine that!

This Kirigami is bit of a mechanical puzzle: how can this airy thing be folded up from one piece of paper?  I had found this interesting model on Pinterest:

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As a novice paper folder, I wanted to diagram the underlying architecture of this piece. Once I had grasped its plan, just to make sure that I had really understood it, I added a fourth floater:

cubes_fold_mount_gif

Notice the lines behind it? That’s the blueprint for cutting and folding it. It’s  clearly shown here:

cubes_illustrator_fold_pattern

The pop-up action mechanism is revealed by comparing this diagram to this partially folded state:

cubes_partial-fold_gif

This material is Frosted Gold, Canford Card; I think it would also look cool in sheet brass. The diagram is available from me upon request.

My learning curve has been greatly eased since I’ve started using an extension called Origami in Adobe Illustrator. It simulates folding of the working model (here, the ‘top’ is to the right):

origami_view

It can zoom, tilt and rotate the working model. Mistaken lines in one’s structural diagram are all specifically located, so it is a  great tool for self-directed study.