Sunday, June 16, 2013

Deciphering the Delecat Dollar $hirt and Tie

Happy Father's Day!

In 2002, I was pretty new to the internet and had only gotten into origami (beyond traditional models, which I had done on-and-off since I was 8 years old) around the beginning of that year (or maybe it was 2001?!).  I think my first WCOG meeting was that February.  I never owned a computer before that year and somehow "figured things out".  Soon I had joined the O-List and was using email communications.

On Christmas Day, surfing origami sites on the web, I came across this photo.  I popped off an email to John Andrisan.   In my mail, I mentioned that I had emailed Stefan Delecat about possible diagrams for the model:


Merry Christmas! I was enjoying the pictures up on your website and love that dollar bill shirt with the tie. Very nice. Anyway I can beg for diagrams or directions on how to fold it? I've never seen it before. When did you invent it? It deserves attention.

 -Michael Sanders 
 I asked John if he could figure out the model; or come up with his own version; perhaps one with a bowtie. 

3 hours later, I emailed John again and wrote:
I've made the tie and front of the shirt so far, but am stuck on = figuring out how the sleeves and collar are being formed...I'm close! -Sanders
I believe it took me about an hour-and-a-half to figure out the model, relying heavily upon the printing on the bill (as shown in Delecat's photo) as guides.  20 minutes after I sent the previous email:
John! I did it! It looks exactly like the photo, although from the back I can't say the method is the same. But from the front it looks exactly the same down to the landmarks on the bill. Now, I have to teach it to myself so that I can teach it to what the hell did I just do?

John's reply the next morning:
I've read in Scientific American that the latency time for inter-neuron connection chemicals is around 20 minutes.

 This means that you can remember new things better if you repeat them within 20 minutes.

Have no fear: I did just that, and I got better or more efficient in my manner of getting the resulting model. I folded about 9 of them altogether last night. I still need to figure out a couple of things in order to teach it effectively.
 At this point, both John Andrisan and Jim Cowling were also deciphering the model.

11:05 am:
Here's mine, so far. I'm stuck at the moment, maybe suffering from origami block. And green fingers...
Jim's coming up this way and is working on his version. I hope not while he's driving!
Would you like to meet us for an early supper somewhere not too far from your area? Where do you live?

Jim's model looks different... 


1:49 pm:

Hi Michael,
I will try to get the diagram for the shirt in the next usa convention book. I invented the shirt about 3 years ago and its only published in a german convention book so far.

That Saturday (Dec 28th), John and Jim met up with me at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Los Angeles (I think Phyllis Snyder came with them).  We each independently came up with our own version of the model, which only differed ever so slightly on the way the back was closed off.  Very minor difference.

Initial interpretations of Delecat's model from us

By the evening, John started sending me step-photos of our collaborative methods.

I forwarded photos on to Stefan, who replied with the following:

January 3, 2003 

happy New Year and Congratulation Michael. You've got it. In the german convention book i published the version with the open back. Its more easy to fold than the close variant but I will give both in my diagrams. Unfortunately I was too late last year to get them into the USA book. So I will send them soon to Marc Kirschenbaum. Is it right to send it to him?

By the 2nd Saturday of the month, we were already sharing the model with members of WCOG; and V'Ann Cornelius' group in San Diego.  Because of that, I think knowledge of it made its way to Arizona folders; and after I shared our findings with Andrew Hans, by March, I was reading about people who were teaching and folding it on the east coast.  When I attended OUSA in June, people there already had learned how to fold the model.

We were a bit apprehensive about the step-photos getting "out of control", as we wanted to be able to share and teach; but without trumping Stefan Delecat's attempts at publishing official diagrams (which did indeed see its way into the issue of The Paper by July of 2003) first.

And that, in a nutshell, is part of the history of how this now classic model made its way around the world (prematurely, perhaps).  I see it everywhere, now- only one-step up in commonality to the traditional shirt design.  Even folded by people who aren't regular origami folders.

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