Drawing Machines: Early Semester Folds and Pleats

Miura Ori:

I have some low and some high resolution, Miura Ori tessellations in the series. It’s a repeated fold pattern with some points popping in or out and can fold completely flat.
At first my motivation for creating this fold was for class work but when I got a hang of it, it became something I really enjoyed. I enjoy the intricate fold techniques and the precision that this fold’s functionality depends on. I began trying to make higher resolution versions and started one where the fold begins from both sides: creating a V like shape (top right corner).
After we had learned the fold in class on four fold lines: I tried with eight fold lines and then sixteen. I made around ten of these folds in the first week and as I got into the higher
resolution folds, I started to find new techniques in making the shaping of the paper much easier. I tried folding all the lines in the correct way and seeing if that would make shaping the paper easier. This was too time consuming and didn’t work well enough. I figured out that it’s easiest to form the points if the folds are very sharp and every other point is first popped
upward.
This project was one of the core introductions I had to folding technique and one of my favorites we’ve learned so far. The sharp likes and shadows are particularly interesting to me.

Spiral Pleat:

The spiral fold consists of horizontal pleats, diagonal pleats, and then a back and forth folding of both into one another to make the spiral.
I began the process of learning the fold on a high resolution scale. Because of the small scale of the paper and the high resolution of the folds, it became incredibly easy to fold a pleat the wrong way or to miss a pleat entirely. This process, although difficult helped me to quickly learn the technique.
Like the Miura Ori series, the spirals I made were another one of the initial folds I learned and really enjoyed creating. The intricacy and necessity for attentive folding is something I look forward to exploring.

Geometric Paper Fold:

This fold began with 15 horizontal folds and 15 vertical folds. The squares created from this process were folded diagonally (some up, down, or not at all).
My motivation in creating this fold was the fun I had with the Miura Ori fold. I enjoyed the intricacy that it required and wanted to take this a step further.
After completing the folds (horizontally, vertically, and diagonally), I worked on getting the lines to pop into the right direction. After getting most of the pattern folded in the right direction the depth of the folds really started to show. The sharp lines create beautiful shadows and the folds look particularly interesting when the edges of the paper are pushed closer together. The depth of the project is what’s most interesting to me: looking at it from different angles and under different lights is my favorite part about this fold pattern.

Fabric Pleat:

At first I was planning on using fabric pleats in my conference project so this was a trial run for different patterns I may be able to recreate with paper.
I made folds horizontally and evenly spaced folds across the page. Then I pinched the folds together to make a flap and folded the ends of the flap down in opposite ways on each side. I repeated this for the whole page: creating a water or gill-like structure.
This was the first fabric pleat I attempted with paper. I’ve always loved sewing so I enjoyed bringing this element into paper folding. The stiffness of paper creates greater tension in the middle of each flap and sharper shadows; it becomes really interesting to light the pleats from different angles and see the shape of the shadows change with its movement.

Self Portrait:

The self portraits we made in class were 8.5×11 and 8.5×8.5 printed photos folded into various techniques: some learned and some adapted or created.
I was, at the time, working on a fabric pleating with paper so this became one adaptation of those folds. The others I attempted were experimental: folding without a particular goal and trying things along the way.
For the fabric pleat I made folds horizontally and evenly spaced across the page; this version of the fold allows for pleats to overlap and be uneven in width. I pinched the folds into vertical pleats and cleated various straight/curved lines.
This project was the first experimental project I did for class. It was challenging to create without folding rules but also exciting to improvise new fold techniques and combinations.

Author: Madelyn Shih