Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Robert Lang Interviews

I just re-found two pages online hosting interviews with Robert Lang. The first link is from an Open Source conference he spoke at, OMOSC '05:
http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail660.html . The other interview is from an NPR show, at http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2004/11/20041117_b_main.asp .

I may as well include the link to the list of online sites with articles written by or about Lang. It's taken directly from his own site (scroll down to Articles and Media) :
http://langorigami.com/info/misclinks.php4 . There are plenty of good articles to see from there. Incidentally, I didn't realize until I looked at the first link above that there is a biographical article in Wikipedia on him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_J._Lang

Lang's Crane

I realized this past weekend just how difficult a seemingly innocent looking crane can be. Robert Lang's crane in his Origami in Action has it all: 2 open unsinks, a re-sink into a different pocket, and 2 open wraps. The re-sink is particularly nasty. I wonder if this crane is the reason that Anna Kastlunger and Gerwin Sturm dedicated their "innovative folding method for the traditional crane" to Robert Lang at http://www.origamiaustria.at/articles/kranich.pdf ...

Friday, January 27, 2006

HQ PaperMaker

I just found quite an incredible site that sells handmade Thai paper at http://www.hqpapermaker.com/ . The company is based in Thailand so that while all of their prices are incredibly cheap, all of their shipping costs are incredibly expensive (it seem like they only FedEx). Bulk orders would be the way to go, after ordering their free catalog (shipping costs on that are horrendous as well). I need to explore this site a little more ... Too bad they don't have a branch in the US.

Wu's Swan

I love the fact that web archiving exists. I found again today Jake Crowley's old website on web.archive.org at http://web.archive.org/web/20040611091736/home.earthlink.net/~jakecrowley/ . I still find his work to be among the best in the world. His interpretation of Komatsu's tiger is better folded than Komatsu's! Anyway, I realized (probably for the second time) that Jake has a nicely folded Swan designed by Joseph Wu on his old site. Since I was just recently looking for swan models around Christmas, this caught my eye today. I couldn't find any trace of this model in the origamidatabase.com . I couldn't find it listed among Wu's diagrammed models on his site either. Then, searching through Google, I found on Wu's site that he made a Swan as a commissioned work. The model there looks a lot like the model shown in Jake's site, but the paper makes it hard to make a direct comparison. I assume that if it's the same model, a diagram may never become publicly available. Oh well ... Maybe I'll be able to work it out from Jake's picture.

Patricia Crawford and Neil Elias

After just buying Robert Harbin's Origami Step-By-Step and being blown away by the complexity Patricia Crawford's models displayed already in the early 70's, I decided to look into her work a little more. Of course, I'm always reminding myself that Neil Elias was at work creating very complex models around that time as well -- I never seem to remember that such complexity could be found in the world before the 80's ...

Of course, it's well known that Patricia Crawford quit origami design in the 70's. Looking through the Origami-L archives, it looks like there are several theories as to why. Most people say that her husband forced her to quit, but either way, it is then said that she picked up sculpture. What a tremendous loss to the origami world! Fortunately, Robert Harbin (and Neil Elias, more on him in a moment) had made contact with her before she quit designing and chose to popularize her work through his book. It is said that he wrote the book Step-By-Step mainly as a showcase for her work. What a great guy!

Looking in the Origami Database, it became clear that there are only two other books that feature quite a few of her works, Origami 3: The Art of Paperfolding by Robert Harbin, and Creating Origami by J. C. Nolan, both of which have 5 of her works. Of course, there are other places to find her works, such as Origami 4 by Harbin (1), Origami 2 by Harbin (1), New Adventures in Origami (1), the 1980, 1981, and 1984 BOS convention books (1 each), the Origamian vol. 12 #2,3,4 (4), Tanteidam Convention 3 (1), and a Centro Diffusione Origami publication, QQM 16, (1). Of course, all of these books are practically impossible to come by except for some of the Origami 1-4 series of Harbin, which rumor has it from BOS that they will be republished soon. Thankfully, Harbin's Origami Step by Step is currently in print as a reprint, featuring no less than 14 of her works.

Finally, the Origami Database shows two other interesting sources of her works. The first is the BOS Model Library, which has 11 of her models. Basically, as far as I can tell, the list on the Database is the list of folded works that are being housed at the BOS headquarters. So, these apparently don't represent diagrams, just finished models. Finally, the Database mentions the Complete Notebooks of Neil Elias. Assuming that these were simply out of print, I contacted the BOS Supply manager asking him of the item since they included 11 of Crawford's models including other rarities. After sending the e-mail, I realized that maybe the list simply represented all of the diagrams featured in Neil Elias' notebooks that the BOS has possession of -- sort of like the listing of the BOS Model Library. So, I e-mailed him again.

It turns out that Dave Venables from BOS, the man in charge of the Elias heritage, is soon planing on releasing a CD-ROM through the BOS Supply with as many diagrams found in the Elias notebooks such as he was able to acquire publishing rights. My several e-mails must have caused quite a splash since the next day the entire listing of the Complete Notebooks of Neil Elias was taken down from the Database. When I say entire, I mean several hundred. Currently, the list is back up, but clearly stating Not Yet Available in caps.

Somehow, Elias must have been able to make contact with Crawford as well so that he was able to diagram her works. Looking throug the list of models in his notebooks, it's quite impressive the list of models from other designers he was able to get a hold of. The list even includes several Akira Yoshizawa model diagrams! It should be noted, though, that Elias lived in the pre-Internet world, where many famous designers knew each other through snail-mail and sent each other models and diagrams in the mail. Many of these models were not widely circulated or published. So, I'm excited that Elias took the time to record diagrams of all of the models of artists he had befriended throughout the years. It's a nice record of the current status of origami at the time in the world.

I hope that the CD-ROM will be released soon so that I can soon see some of Crawford's other amazing models along with all of the other gems found in there, not the least of which are all of the incredible Neil Elias models. I wonder if Patricia Crawford is still around ... It would be nice if the origami community honored her in some way for her major contributions to the art during the early 70's. Same goes for Neil Elias.