Sunday, December 24, 2006

WCOG Christmas Meeting (December 9, 2006)

Yami, Joe, and myself had the opportunity to work a "gig". The pay would have been good; but the only problem was, it conflicted with the WCOG, last meeting of the year gathering. As Yami put it: "Screw the job offer. The origami meeting without you is no good. You should film the last meeting of the year." So, Yami knows best.

The December meeting saw the return of Phu Tran. He sounds busy, but I hope he doesn't stay away for too long from the Guild. Since Ben Muller and Jared Needle no longer come, it's nice to have some artists who are into complex origami add their talents to the group.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Breathing Life into Origami (the Japan Expo 2006, LA)

12/03/06 Here's a video from NewspeakTV:

For a larger screen, just click on the screen, and it'll open up a new browser, with a direct link.

It's not completely "child-friendly"; fortunately, for you visitors who are strictly origami-enthusiasts, I appear in the video during the first couple of minutes. It's pretty funny, throughout; but for all you kiddies below the age of 13, be responsible adults, and abstain from corrupting your young minds with inappropriate videos...until you turn 14. As for the rest of you: well...I'm pretty sure your minds are all quite corroded by now. So enjoy!

*End Update*

Joe abandoned Yami and I, to work in another booth on behalf of his church, I believe. And he was only at the Expo for a few hours on Saturday.
Yami had what he called a "senior moment", when at the end of the day, Saturday, as we were packed up and ready to leave, he discovered that his keys were missing. We did everything short of calling for his auto service to come open the trunk door of his car. We didn't figure to do that until we came back the next day. *Groan*. What a relief, though, that he still has his keys. His next assignment: make duplicates! All of his keys, including his apartment key were on that one ring. This video focuses mainly on people's reactions to the Robert Neale bunny bill and flapping butterfly. One of the things that I love to try and capture is the magical effect origami has on people. Their joy expresses itself in their spontaneous reactions. Some of the best reactions, as usual, have been when the camera wasn't ready. I tried to get Yami to film me when I had a large audience; and another friend to do so when I went out in the middle of my area and launched the cicada boomerang glider far and wide, and still had it return back to me. But I guess my camera's too difficult for others to work with. I guess it's getting old, because the button gets stuck; and only I know how to jiggle it just right. One thing you don't see, is that I don't have the dollar butterfly pre-made. I fold it for the guests, on the spot, telling them about how we were going to bring their dollar bill to life. After I fold the model, I have the audience guess as to what I've folded. 98% of the time, they guess that it is a butterfly. I have a way of giving them a subliminal hint, if they are having trouble guessing. Works every time. The reason why you see so many people in the video blowing on the dollar, is because when I hold it up, I tell them that they must blow on it, to breathe life into it. Both Robert Neale models were introduced to me 5 years ago, by Joel Bauer, who did a magnificent job of selling their virtues to me. In his masterful hands and presentation abilities, the magic is there.

Photos can be found here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There's "supercomplex", and then there's SUPERCOMPLEX EXTREME!

on exhibit at the Weisner Gallery, MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

You guessed it. Folded from a single square. Unbelievable! Click the photo to be led to the source. If you're not familiar with Brian Chan's work, you need to visit his flickr album and website.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cherin & Ward's Palehua Wedding

Yami, Joe, and myself were invited to help celebrate the marriage of Ward and Cherin Watanabe on October 29, 2006. This video encapsulates some of the fun we had with the guests. Photos can be seen here.

The song is by Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom; called "Palehua". Cherin walked down the aisle to this contemporary Hawaiian song; and its echo lingered in my memory such that I asked her for the name of the song and artist. 2 days later after ordering it from Amazon, we have music for the footage I took of the origami aspect of her wedding.

Joe is simply amazing! I think he precreased 200 of his boxes for the guests.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Aquarium of the Pacific ~Autumn Festival~ November 4-5, 2006

I've been backed up on getting these videos out. Yami, Joe, and myself have been kept very busy. Besides time, I've been having difficulty figuring out music to go with each video. There really isn't much in the way of music for paperfolding. So some vids sit on the shelf, ready to be rolled out as soon as I figure out a theme. And most all of these need music; since I take 10-20 second clips, the natural audio just would come out incomplete and choppy.

I skipped ahead to the most recent festival we've done: The Aquarium of the Pacific, from the previous weekend. I believe it's my 4th or 5th time; with Yami and Joe, it's our third. If you want to see what we did in 2004 and 2005, just click away.

I took too much film footage. Since editing is so time-consuming, I took the easy way out and included most all of it....which makes for a very long video. YouTube only allows for a 10 minute maximum on videos; so I had to upload it to my account. The music choice is mostly because of the length of the video. Since I used Jaws music to bumper the previous two videos, and since it's an Aquarium setting we're dealing with here, I included it again, along with another John Williams classic score.

The one thing I'm excited about is David Brill's wedge flexicube. It is awesome! My first one, I had to apply some glue, as I used paper that was a bit thick, and it didn't hold together well. But the rest (and I've made several, because I like experimenting with color combinations and paper-type; plus, I know I'll be giving them away to friends) came out great! I purchased a copy for Joe Hamamoto as well. (He loves the David Brill double star flexicube). You can get a copy here, at the BOS website.

As usual, many of the most exciting moments are when the camera's not running. My cicada boomerang glider generates a lot of interest. It never fails. People always want to fold it after I toss it around. I know it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye; but I must say, it's highly entertaining to watch paperplanes whacking unsuspecting passersby....or seeing them duck for cover. Not when I throw it, but when other people throw their planes, and they don't quite have the hang of how to make it come back, yet.

As always, Joe was well-stocked on his free giveaways. One of these days, when I get a better camera that takes longer clips, I'll let you hear some of his humor. Yami's as well. They are extremely entertaining and highly popular with everyone.

My own favorite giveaways remain Arai's spinning top. I've learned to do Yami's method of stacking several sheets together, to expedite my time. I'll fold about 4 or 5 layers together and do the base; then separate the sheets for the last several steps to fold the top. The sacrifice on neatness is minimal, when I do this. Great model, and I can probably churn 'em out in 3 minutes, tops.

More photos here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Format "The Compromise"

From Robert Lang to the O-List:
A couple of months ago John Montroll and I were approached by a music video producer who wanted to fold some of our designs for a music video. Dave Brill has kindly pointed me to a link to a page with a link to the now-completed video; it's here.


(The video itself is 35 MB, so don't try to watch it from dial-up.)

Robert J. Lang

Hat tip: Gilad Aharoni for the YouTube link.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Using Paper Cranes to Educate on Avian Flu

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan and six children showing off birds made of origami paper, which are essential props in a public-service announcement on avian flu prevention.
Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan and children co-star in avian flu awareness ad

Watch the public service announcement video showing Jackie doing origami, by clicking on the photo. (Photograph by The JC Group/Mysak)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

WCOG April 8, 2006 Meeting

I've been behind in doing the monthly WCOG music vid journals of our club gatherings. But having read Andrew Hans give a brief report of OUSA (I decided kind of last minute that I wasn't prepared to go this year...breaking my 4 or 5 consecutive years of attendance), and making mention of Yami Yamauchi showing off his magic rings, I got the inspiration to put together a video. I decided to do the April meeting, because I remember it being chock-full of magic show-offs, puzzles, and tricks. We even did some origami. Marcee Raffel (bless her soul!) called me from the late night folding in NY, while I was in the middle of editing the video, tonight. Yami said he brought 200 of those ring packages with him, and already gave them all away. Everywhere he goes, he is always generous; always entertaining folks. The beautiful young girl toward the end along with her gorgeous grandmother are very dear to me. Emily is another one of my gymnasts, and is very special. I'm always happy when my gymnasts also share my love for paperfolding.

April photos may be seen in the WCOG 2006 album.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Instructions for $ Hexagonal Box

06/13/07 Update: Please view the video at Metacafe. I will be taking down the LiveDigital upload, soon.

This was kind of a spur of the moment thing. Half of the footage is shot at WCOG; as I was teaching it to Jimmy Taggart, Pam Miike expressed interest in it. I had her film part of the steps to folding the lid. I then went back and had Yuki Kelly film the beginning portion of the lid (the lighting is rather dark). The footage I filmed on my back porch on my own turned out surprisingly well, considering I just rested the camera in front of my chest, and tried to keep my hands in view, but not so close as to be out of focus. Even though my camera is a 2.0 megapixel, the resolution looks rather clean, crisp, and clear. I could probably re-shoot the lid like this...but that would entail more work! Hopefully, this is sufficient.

I realize that I didn't do much in the way of explaining the diagonal crease lines that forms the top of the boxlid, and the bottom. Hopefully, people are bright enough from viewing what I'm doing, that a little brainwork and close observation will carry you through the day. I will have you note, though, that on the lid, where the 1st 7th is unequal to the other 6 segments, when you set in the diagonal crease, it does not touch from opposing corner to corner. Use the last segment to lay over it as a template (with its diagonal creaseline already in place), and then set the crease line that way. If you squint your eyes, you can see me doing this in the video. Good luck, and let me know if you are able to successfully do this, and what level you'd rate yourself. It'd be great if even a novice could follow these directions.

Fold neatly....and for the most part, set your creases in sharp. This will especially help you when you have to hold the two ends together and spiral the top/bottom to lay flat. You might use a clothespin to hold the two ends together while you do this.

Origami Moneyfold: Hexagonal Box Out Of Money

(Don't forget: There is a "pause" button).

I've been experimenting with different sizes, including making a box within a box within a box. I forgot to include that clip at the end.

Those with foreign currency, noting the method used, or being familiar with Tomoko Fuse-style boxes, can probably figure out how to fold the model, adapted to their bills.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Westland Origami Workshops

Nina Rosen invited me for what I think is my 3rd year out of 5, doing origami at Westland School, off of Mulholland, here in Los Angeles. It all started with one of the parents at Santa Monica Gymnastics Center seeing my origami Christmas tree display in the office; something that I put up every year. She put me in contact with Nina Rosen, who was her son's teacher at the time.

This year, Nina set up something different: instead of one demonstration/teaching session, we set up four 2 hour workshops. So what I tried to do, was build a progressive lesson plan.

These workshops were conducted back in February and March. I began with your typical introduction, showing off traditional models and the evolution into modern origami. In each workshop, I brought something new to show off. I began with teaching Yami's banger, which transitions nicely into a moving mouth. Fairly simple. I also taught Yami's spinner that day. The kids seemed very excited after that first day.

The second workshop, we did a simple swan from a kite base, and covered the reverse fold (required for the head and neck). I encouraged the students to experiment with proportions and go off onto tangents to come up with their own swan/bird by incorporating reverse-folds. Charles Esseltine granted me permission to distribute diagram copies of his delicious french fries. I can't think of a better model to teach that has the simplicity of the traditional papercup, with the joy and ease of shaping the bottom by denting it with your finger; and what beginner can't like fan-folding the fries into 16ths, without having to be perfect at it, and still end up with a great-looking origami model? We covered the waterbomb base, and incorporated it onto index cards for the jumping frogs. I then brought back the previous workshop model, the moving mouth, setting up a big version of it as the target for jumping frogs to hop into the mouth of.

The third workshop, I opened with a demonstration of Kenneth Kawamura's Butterfly Ball (using printed paper created by Lar deSouza). It was a way to revisit the waterbomb base from the previous lesson. We made waterbombs. I think we also did cranes, as I showed how the waterbomb base can be turned inside out, into the preliminary base.

There had been a request for folding paper planes, as I think the first day, I had demonstrated the boomerang cicada glider I like to do. So we did that toward the end, and had a blast flying them around outside on the playground. It was a bit windy, so the breeze sometimes picked the gliders up for a long flight. The kids loved launching them from up high, on the slide.

The last workshop, I taught the Thai tulip, which starts with the waterbomb base I had been hammering into their heads. We also did the 20-piece modular flower. That kept 'em busy.

At the end of each workshop, I had giveaway models for them, including stuff Joe Hamamoto had made, and three of my favorites: the LaFosse butterfly, Arai spinning top, and 22 Montroll horses- my all-time favorite- for 22 wonderful kids, who I hoped I had inspired to continue exploring the magic and fun of folding with paper.

For more pictures, go here.

05/22/2007- It would seem that there are some parents who are angry about the YouTube video. Therefore, the video is now on a private setting, as well as the Westland photo album. I will only make these accessible to family and friends. Sorry.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Youtube has disabled my account, due to some crackdown on copyrighted videos that I've had uploaded for months. So none of the videos on this blog will work. I hope to get things straightened out.

UPDATE: I have opened a new account, as YouTube hasn't responded to my e-mail. Being the impatient guy that I am on this, I shall begin uploading the vids all over again. Be patient, and hopefully I will get it all done by the end of the weekend, and it should be like nothing ever happened.

4/11/06- I have a new account. It will take me a while to re-upload all the videos, so be patient.

April 16, 2006- Happy Easter! Pretty much all of my videos are back up (or in the process); anything over 100 MBs or over 10 minutes in length, I have posted through, as YouTube is now also enforcing a policy of videos being under those amounts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Japanese Commercial with Origami

I found this video at It appears to be a Japanese commercial for Filemaker Pro. I believe the racer is by David Brill. How much of it incorporates actual origami and how much is just computer animation? Does anyone know what artists contributed to this video, if any?

Also, check these videos out:

When Good Frogs Go Bad

Robert Lang Interview

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Chronicles of WCOG (January 2006 Meeting)

You can see photos here. Just look for the album labeled "Westcoast Origami Guild 2006".

Just realized that I forgot to link
this other video in the "Festival" archives, from last February. It's from a Chinese New Year Festival Yami and I did at the Chinese-American Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 Rhombic Calendar

Lar deSouza posted the following to the O-List 5 days ago, and I just now took a look at it today:

Happy New Year to one and all!!

I've skipped doing this the past couple years, but then there's been
others who've taken up the slack. For those not familiar with
it, our late dear friend, Thoki Yenn, worked out how to skew the
angles to fit a calendar onto Nick Robinson's most excellent rhombic
dodecahedron. With vector software it was a simple matter for me to
fit things neatly and convert it to a pdf format. Interested folks
can find the file here.

It's six letter sized pages, each with two months on it, and a last
page with Nick Robinson's diagrams (unaltered) in case you can't find them.

I know I've seen these at WCOG meetings before, with John Andrisan always coming out with interesting printings. But I had never taken an interest, really, until now. It's really a cool concept and a nice, fun, easy fold. Thanks to Lar and thanks to Nick and Thoki!!! The photo is taken of the one I folded tonight. I used semi-glossy all-purpose photo paper. It folded very nicely.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A wallet/cardholder

While surfing on Technorati, I found The Fitful Flog and tried my hand at The Three Card Monti. Here is my result. Read Oschene's description of his model.

His purpose in making this was to cut down on the number of cards he has to carry in his wallet. I liked his idea of attaching the savings cards barcodes to it.

Update: step-photos are now available.

Origami Computer Animation

Found this when ChildofSai posted his new origami video to Origami-L.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Year of the Blog

Er...I mean dog...Happy New Year of the Dog ( beginning January 29th). Yami invited me to help him and Joe out last year, at the New Otani Hotel. It was much the same this year, with me once again teaching among other things, papergliders. I also "taught" the 20-unit flower. Joe taught a cute barking dog action model (Jan 29th being the start of the Chinese Year of the Dog). Yami mostly entertained people with his ring and chain trick. He must have been practicing that diligently since the last time I saw him, as his "batting" average improved quite a bit. When it fails, he usually tells the woman he was showing it to, that he gets nervous in the presence of beautiful women. His friend Hideko did most of the teaching at his table (teaching Yami's doodle bug). Joe gave away FIT's to the fortunate few who were last to leave us. As usual, he had plenty of giveaways that he folded for the purpose of sharing origami with the world. One of my favorite parts is the free meal at the end. We buffeted at The Azalea Restuarant. If anyone ever hangs out with Yami and Joe, it's never a dull moment. Yami showed off to the waiters and to patrons. Joe and I passed around origami giveaways. After my meal, I folded up my napkin into something inappropriate (Won Park showed me this at OUSA2002) and discreetly dropped it into Yami's lap. He stood up and proceeded to show patrons at the next table; then pointed to me and said, "Michael made this." I was mortified. I didn't get a very good shot of the "improper napkin-fold", but you can see a half-drunk Yami pose for the camera with it (it had kind of come undone, at this point, and I didn't think to refold it for the sake of posterity).

How to make the 20-unit flower

Phyllis Snyder of the Westcoast Origami Guild says she and Fumi Wakao were taking a class at the University of Irvine. They met a man who asked if they knew how to do a rose. Phyllis showed him a version of a Kawasaki rose. The man then showed what appeared to Phyllis to be the simple 2x1 3-unit flower with the twist tie. But the one the man was doing went on...and on...and on. 20 units total. He didn't invent it; but he did reverse engineer it. And apparently, it was originally a ball, from which he did the single pipe-cleaner twist-tied rose. The past year, this model has made it's way around from when Phyllis taught it to friends at the Matsuri Festival in Phoenix, to it being taught at OUSA2005. Things travel fast.

If anyone can identify the creator, it'd be much appreciated. As far as I can tell, it's gone the route of the 3-unit flower, and traditional models.

I've had some requests on how to fold this model. Since the assembly might be easier to show than to diagram, I thought I'd video it with my digital camera, and see how that works.

It's a roughly made video without audio instructions. The model itself is simple, but it may need experienced folders to follow the directions (I did make this for some O-Listers). It was a quick make while "on the job" at the New Otani; so the camera work was done on the fly, by whoever I could grab to film it. So forgive the lack of close-ups and more detailed, spoon-fed instructions.

What I love about teaching this model, is that I can teach people in bulk, with newcomers joining in at any given point...because it doesn't require me to be "hands-on" the entire time. You teach the simple unit, very easy to do, and that keeps the folder occupied for the next 10 minutes, folding 19 more. When someone new comes to learn, I can delegate teaching authority and ask one of the students, "Hey, can you teach her how to fold the unit?" or "Can you show her how to assemble the pieces?". It helps me, and it helps the folder who wants to be able to remember and teach her friends later.

If anything in the video is not clear enough, or if you have questions, you might consider leaving questions and suggestions in the comment section on this post, since your comment might not be a unique one, and will address what others are wondering about, themselves.

Again, I am just assuming that the experienced folders will be able to fill in whatever blanks are left in.