Origami Jewelry Using Sonobe Joshie’s Jewels:

 

Origami  Earrings Take It to the Next Level:

Origami forms can be taken a step further by using them in jewelry constructions. One of the best forms that works well for earrings, necklaces, and bracelets is Joshie’s Jewel made from the Sonobe base.

First Things First:

In order to begin you will have to fold up a couple jewels which require six Sonobe parallelograms, three unit for each jewel. Once you have formed your jewels, you are ready to go to the next step.

What You Need:

You should have on hand the following items to complete your earrings: earring hooks (I found a package of them at Walmart), some thin silver jewelry wire (also at Walmart), a large needle,  some colored beads, a pair of needle-nosed pliers, some clear fingernail polish or spray on clear acrylic, wire cutters, and a lot of patience.

How to Assemble:

Cut off a couple strands of silver wire. Thread one end through the needle and bend it over. Place one bead on the wire and twist it so the bead stays in place at the bottom of the strand. Poke the needle through the jewel from the bottom up out a top point. Pull the end of the wire out of the needle and place another bead on the wire above the Joshie’s Jewel. Now, thread the wire into the earring hook and twist it to secure the wire to the hook. Cut off any remaining wire.

 

Seal the Deal!:

After you have constructed two earrings it is time to seal them with a coat of clear acrylic spray, or paint the surface with a coat of clear fingernail polish. This will make the form more rigid and render it water-proof. It also gives it a shiny surface.

 

Now All You Need is a Pair of Ears!

These make great gifts for birthdays, and other special occasions. You could also just surprise a friend with them or give them to a young person who might want to learn how to make her own. I bet the guys would quickly make friends with a girl by giving her a pair of these. He could also make a pair for his mother, a sister, grandma or a teacher.

Try Other Origami Folds:

There are also many other origami forms that would be delightful in earrings. Butterflies, Birds,  Sonobe cubes and more complex forms. The trick is that they have to be small which requires more skill to fold than larger forms. Take a look on-line under “Origami Jewelry” and you can see many other types of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more.

Sonobe: The Origami Unit That Changed the Art Form

Over the hundreds of years that origami has been developed one unit caused a stir in the origami world. It opened a whole new three-dimensional way of viewing the art forms that could be created using multiple units combined together.

 The Sonobe Cube

 

The Sonobe Base:

 

Where It All Began:

It all began, (we think), with Mitsunobu Sonobe when he first published a cube form made from his units in 1968. Once this came out many other origami enthusiasts decided to experiment with module unit Origami. The Sonobe base unit was the key since it could be combined in many ways.

Joshie’s Jewels

Soon thereafter, a new form was developed using only three Sonobe units. Toshie Takahama, in 1970, developed a hexahedron that became know as the Toshie Jewel. It is actually used as a jewel in necklaces and other ornamental structures. In order to form these units the central axis must be inverted so that the middle point goes outward, just the opposite of the former form. This was exciting because it suggested the base could be varied to create more construction possibilities.

The Octahedron Was Formed Using 12 Pieces:

After Joshie’s Jewel came more elaborate designs like Steve Kimbal’s 12 piece Octahedron ball.

These lovely forms were ideal for mobile applications in that they could be hung from a string allowing for circular motion. When strung on string many can be combined to form interesting hanging forms.

This Was Only the Beginning!:

Since the 70’s and 80’s, many new forms have been developed including forms using 30 pieces, 90 pieces, 270 pieces and more. Some create elaborate geometric shapes that have inspired architects and others in building forms. Others have experimented with variations in the forms to create wonderful patterns.

Here Is A Thirty-Piece Form:

 

 

New Surface Treatments:

Once the basic parallelogram shape was established it became obvious that many different color patterns could be developed using two-sided paper. By altering the surface color patterns some amazing designs become possible.  I have only experimented with 6 of these so far, but am interested in finding more and even developing some of my own. Below are a few variations combined in a similar cube form.

You Can Find More Examples:

If you are interested in exploring  Sonobe Unit Origami, I encourage you to go on-line and see what others have done with this exciting base unit. Some have even designed patterns for hanging on a wall or even becoming a wall. There seems to be no end to what you can do with this origami creation.

Strength In Unity:

As I work with these amazing paper constructions, I am reminded of the need for others. In I Peter 2:5, God’s Word tells us that each believer in Christ is like a living stone that must be combined with others to form a house, His Church. “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” As I form each structure it has no integrity or strength until the last unit is added to the mix. When altogether you can actually make the structures better by adding pressure to the outside, just like a snowball. When together we can withstand the pressures that come our way from the outside and even become stronger.

 

Here is a side-to-side comparison of a twelve piece and thirty piece ball.

Slithering Snakes: Origami Serpents

SSSSSS-Snakes!

 

One of the interesting things you can make with the left over scraps of paper is snakes. These were all made with left-over strips of paper from other origami projects. All you need is a long strip of paper and knowledge of how to fold pop and hood folds, and snakes are in your future.

Bend Them Any Way You Want To:

As you can see in the above photographs, you can make the folds bend in many ways to create just the look you want. Some are just up and down diagonal hood and pop folds. Others, like the pink one, are developed by combining folds that bend back over previous folds and then back out again. Experiment and you can create several different snake types. I even made some with Cobra Hoods.

Stick Your Tongue Out!    Add A Tongue and Eyes:

If you take a small piece of red or pink paper and slit it down the middle, leaving only a tiny section still attached, you can make a tongue. Curl it up and add a drop of glue and insert it into the head to make the tongue. The eyes can either be added with a felt tip or you can cut smaller pieces of paper and glue them onto the form. You can also add spots by using hole punched paper. Just a tiny drop of glue holds them in place.

You Can Vary The Sizes:

Depending on where and how you want to use them, you can make them any size depending on the piece of paper you start with. I recommend you start with a long strip of paper. Once you reach the size you want you can cut off what’s left and have a snake just the right length and shape.

Use Them To Illustrate a Story:

It’s interesting to note how many stories involve snakes. Usually the snake is the villain! One of the most interesting stories is found in the Book of Genesis at the beginning of your Bible. It is the story of the Garden of Eden and the fall of man. We also see snakes on a pole as Moses raised them up to ward off the plague that was harming the Children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. The serpent being lifted up was a type of the future raising of Christ on the Cross. All who looked on the serpent in faith were healed. (Have you ever seen the medical symbol with a snake on it?) All who turn to Christ as their salvation receive eternal life. In the New Testament we read the story of Paul in the Book of Acts, who was bitten by a poisonous snake after surviving shipwreck and an amazing storm. After he was bitten, the natives of the island where they landed stood around waiting for him to die believing that he was bitten at the direction of an angry god because he was a prisoner. Little did they know that he was only a prisoner for sharing his faith, not for a terrible crime like many of the other prisoners on board the ship. Of course, our loving God (not the angry pagan gods) was quick to use this as an opportunity to allow Paul to share his faith with others on the island. As a result of this snake encounter many came to know the Savior as LORD and Master of their lives.

Isn’t it interesting to note that God can use even creatures despised by many to teach us important lessons. Take some time to look at some of the snake types and recognize their creative beauty. So many interesting patterns and behaviors. Just remember that the reason so many despise them had to do with man’s original sin in the Garden. Even snakes were created with a purpose!

Origami Fainting Goats

Got Your Goat

I recently went to a new coffee shop here in Spring Hill, Tennessee called The Fainting Goat. I was immediately interested in the name and looked it up on line and discovered that there really were fainting goats here in Tennessee. When I went to the shop for coffee the first time I was inspired by the t shirts and ball caps with goats on them. I went home and decided to create my own origami goats. I actually used a base from a pig model and worked to modify its head to be Goat like. Here is the finished product:

I added some horns to make them more goat-like. Today I took several to the coffee shop and they thought they looked pretty authentic. I guess You could even make them faint by blowing on them. Ha!

Be Inspired

Origami is such a wonderful medium. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I often see something and think of how I could fold it up with paper. Think of the many origami bases and you can probably choose one that fits the subject the best. Some models may require more than one piece (compound folds), but many can be made with a single sheet of paper.

 

Share With Others

I have discovered that giving Origami to others is a great way to make friends as well as encourage others to enjoy the hobby and art forms of origami. Today I also took one of my Christmas trees and gave it to the librarian as I checked out some books. I also often use Origami to tell others the stories from the Bible while sharing my faith.  Just about everybody loves Origami. Why not fold some up and find some one to share with.

From Pig To Goat:

Above you can see the pig fold on the left that was used as a base to create the goat. The only part that needed to be modified was the head region.

Waxing Eloquently: A New Way to Treat Origami

 

Wax Covered Origami

I recently experimented with encaustic wax while in Texas. We took some of the Stars I made from recycled paper and painted over them with hot wax.

Melt Some Wax:

After selecting your origami star, heat up the wax.

Select Your Colors:

Next, you select the colors you want to use and cover the form with several layers of wax brushed over the surface.

Create Texture:

After the coating with a thin layer of wax you can create texture. By letting some of the wax drop onto the surface after painting them with a coating of wax I was able to develop a nice texture.

 

Adding Pigment:

After letting that dry we rubbed over them with a pigment. Next you use canola oil over the surface and then rub off pigment except where it stays in the nooks and crannies. Here is what the finished product looks like:

Waterproof and Rigid:

Once coated the stars became rigid and shiny. If you add a thread loop you could use them as Christmas ornaments. They would also make cool mobiles. You could just use them as set apart art forms or mount them in shadow boxes.

The Blue and Yellow One Has a Yellow Bottom and Multi-colored Top. I dropped yellow over the blue base color. It works best when the wax cools a little but is still runny.

Here’s a Walking Stick Not Used for Hiking

Stick With Me!

 

One of the most interesting of all insects is the Walking Stick. It so closely resembles a stick that it can hide in plain sight. It is good that  God has given these insects this talent for hiding since they are considered fine food  for birds and small mammals. Could you find it when hiding in the sticks?

Hint: Look for antennae.

With the Sticks Gone:

 

When alone, it looks like this:

Family Ties:

The walking stick insects belong to the family of insects known as the Phasmidae. These insects are mostly found in the southern regions of the United States and many forms exist in the tropical regions of the world. Some grow to immense sizes. Some are as small as 1/2 inch, but others reach sizes over a ft. in length. One of the newest species, found in Borneo, out-did the others in length. It was actually 22 inches when its legs where extended. Wow!

I’d Give An Arm or a Leg for That!

One of the most interesting things about these insects is that they often drop a leg when some other creature is attacking. They have an amazing God given ability to regrow these parts through regeneration. Since these insects must shed their skins several times during their development, whenever a new skin is in place it is complete with the missing legs that were broken off in the earlier stages. This process is known as molting and is used by most insects in their development.

Why Are You Eating Your Old Clothes?

Immediately after molting is the most dangerous time for walking stick insects. At that time their skins are very soft an need to harden in the air for a time before they become more durable. Many of the tiny nymphs actually eat their cast off skins since they are a sure sign to predators that their owners are nearby. In this way the protein that makes up their old skin gets recycled as well.

That’s Nothing! Wait Until You Learn About This Trick!

One other amazing feature of these insects is their ability to reproduce parthenogenetically, without the need for males. Since this is possible, the majority of stick insects you will find are female. However, they still can mate with the few males that are out there. When they do only about half of the babies will be male. A captive walking stick insect can give birth to around a hundred female babies. “Why so many?” You might ask. Even though these insects are good at camouflage, they still are eaten by a wide variety of other creatures. Only a small portion of the offspring will make it to maturity.

Here is a baby one I found on a Coleus plant on my front porch. It is only 1/2 ” long.

Another Cool Trick:

It has been observed that these insects further their deception as twigs by moving back and forth with the wind like the surrounding vegetation. By rocking back and forth they look just like part of the plants they are on.

What About Offensive Weapons?

Though the walking sticks are exceptionally good at hiding they still are not defenseless! Some species, mostly tropical, even have the ability to shoot out a foul-smelling fluid that is also very bitter and in some instances even irritating to the skin of the predators seeking to eat them. This fluid is often aimed at the eyes and can cause discomfort though usually not lasting effects on the creatures sprayed with it. The species in the U.S., however, are not usually known for this behavior. 

As you can see in the above and below picture, this walking stick is not harmful.

We Don’t Bite….Just Tickle!

Is It Raining?

In some areas of the forests the dropping “seed-like” eggs of the walking sticks are so numerous that it sounds like rain drops falling. The tiny eggs fall into the leaf litter below and hatch out in the Spring time. (It has been discovered that a few species of walking sticks actually produce a glue-like substance which they use to attach their eggs to stems and leaves.)  When they emerge, those on the ground,  crawl up trees in the surrounding forest and feed on leaves. Walking sticks are vegetarians, herbivores.

Calling All Ants!

Some walking sticks have a neat way to get ants to protect their young. So how do they do it? The eggs of some species of walking sticks are covered with a fatty tissue called a capitulum at one end. This substance is highly desired as food for ants. When an ant finds the egg she takes it back to the nest where just the capitulum is eaten. The rest of the egg stays inside the ants’ nest where not many predators will wander due to the stings of the insects in the nest. In this manner the walking sticks remain protected until they hatch and climb out of the nest and into the trees around.

If All Else Fails….Just Play Dead!

Some walking sticks actually have another trick up their sleeves. They have discovered that by playing dead birds and other creatures find them uninteresting as food.  This behavior has a special name. It is called “thanatosis”. Now there’s a word you don’t hear every day!

What Else Can You Find Out About These Strange Insects?:

Some of this information was found by reading an article written by Debbie Hadley entiltled: 10 Interesting Facts About Stick Insects. You can find this and other articles on line with a simple search. Why not do some research on your own to learn more. See if you can find some in your neighborhood. Hint: I often find them in the fall on the outside of my house. It seems they are near the end of their growing seasons then and climb high to drop their eggs. They are much more visible against the siding of the house. 

 

Origami Octo-Wreath and Candle Holder

It Has Come Full Circle:

In a recent post I showed you how to make Eco-Balls from an eight-sided base unit. While experimenting with this base I discovered an even more delightful way to combine them to create a full circle wreath.

Divide and Conquer:

In order to create this form, however, I had to alter half of the  the eight-sided units I used to create the ring. It takes 18 units to complete the wheel. To form the linking unit I only glued it part-way leaving those units divided into two swiveling halves. Then I took the solid units and glued them in-between.

 

 

It Takes Patience and Time:

Though this project is time consuming and requires a little patience the end form is worth the effort. It can be made any size you desire according to the size of the original squares of paper used to fold the units. It could easily function as a wreath to use on a doorway or as a base to surround a candle. In what other ways could you find to use it?

Let It Shine:

Two Is Better Than One:

In the candle holder above I used two rings: one large and the other smaller. You can also use just a single wreath as below.

The wreaths can be stacked to create a pleasing form that could also be placed around a potted plant or flower vase.

If you haven’t already viewed my earlier blog post on the Eco-balls, you can look there to see how to fold the base units. Let me know if you find other ways to use this form.

Eco-Balls: Neat Way to Recycle Paper

 

A Fun Way to Recycle Paper:

If you have left over paper with interesting colors or designs, this is a great way to turn it into a cool project. This project makes a nice finished decorative form. It has 24 different surfaces that can be decorated or to which a message can be added. They are sturdy enough to use as a throw- and- catch ball as well.

Begin With the Traditional Pinwheel Base:

It Takes Four!

You will need four Pinwheel Base Units to construct this project. All should be the same size.

Once you have folded these you need to pull up a corner point like a dorsal fin on a shark.

 

Assemble the Pieces:

Once you have collapsed all four corners you are ready to slide one side into the other like this:

 

 

It’s Time for the Glue!

Now that you know how to make the pieces, you need to glue them. To do this you need to allow the form to open back up a bit and add glue just on the edges underneath where the form will come together. You have a lot of surfaces to glue so apply only a small amount just on the edges, then close the form back up and hold it while the glue sets up. You need four of these units.

 

The Final Steps:

Now that you have four of these smaller units you will need to combine them to make the ball. Find the side of a unit that has a line down the middle. This is the side you will need to glue. Be sure each time to glue these sides together.

Once two are glued together you have a hemisphere. Create another one to complete the ball.

The Finished Form:

When gluing the two halves together be sure that the two pieces are going in the opposite direction when they come together. You can see that they fit together better this way than the other way which leaves a gap. Add glue and hold the two sides together to finish the form. If you have gaps on the seams you can take a three by five card and put a little glue on both sides of a corner and insert it into the gaps to apply glue to each side then pull the card out and press the edges together to close the gap.

 

This is especially fun if you can find paper with pictures of animals and plants on them. By combining the patterns you make little Ecological Realms that look like little planets. These can be hung from strings and dangled from the ceiling to make nice mobile units. They also make great objects to set into a room to bring out the colors of the seasons. How will you use them?  Have fun!

The Insect Methusalah: The Cicada

Do You Know?

What insect can make a noise louder than a rock concert, equal to a chain saw, and  be heard up to half a mile away?

What insect lives up to 17 yrs. underground before emerging as an adult?

What insect buries itself up to 8 feet underground where it sucks on tree roots?

What insect emerges every 17 yrs. in plague-like numbers in the Eastern United States?

What insect is often fried up and eaten and called the “ground shrimp”?

Cicadas are one of the most interesting of all insects. They come in many varieties. There are more than 2,500 species world-wide. The only continent where they are not found in Antarctica. These insects are often called the insect Methuselah’s because of their longevity.

Now That’s Odd!

Some species can live up to 17 years underground before emerging as adults. These Cicadas are known as the Periodic Cicadas. Other Cicadas have one year annual cycles,  3 yrs. , or 13 yrs. cycles. Did you notice these numbers are all odd numbers? Scientists are not sure why but this seems to be consistent with all the species.

Life Cycle

Where does the cycle begin? The female Cicada makes slits in the outermost twigs of tree branches. She then inserts her eggs. One female can lay up to 600 eggs. About 6 weeks later when the nymphs come out of their egg cases they fall to the ground and begin digging. They can dig up to 8 feet underground to find the juicy roots of trees from which they feed. Their long needle-like mouth-parts stab into the roots from which they extract a constant flow of sap. Depending on their species, they can stay underground for a year or up to 17 years (the Periodic Cicadas). Once they burrow their way back up to the bases of tree trunks, they climb up and split their nymphal skins down their backs and crawl out as adults. This old skin remains attached to the tree. When they first emerge their wings are all crumpled up, but after a few hours they pump up their wings and dry them out and become strong fliers. They then go to the tops of the trees where they spend the adult portion of their lives. This is a short period of time compared to that underground. Usually they are adults for only 5-6 weeks if they survive the many predators that feed on them.

Who Eats Cicadas?

Cicadas have many enemies that feed on them. These include: birds, many kinds of rodents: like squirrels, moles, mice, and rats. Other mammals, like bats, also feed on them. Lizards, and even fish will eat them. Believe it or not, even people eat them! Ever heard of stirred fried Cicadas? About every 17 years when the Periodic Cicadas of the Eastern United States emerge, many restaurants will offer special meals of Cicadas prepared by some of the finest chefs of the world. I have never tried them, but some people call them “ground shrimp”. They usually fry up the nymphal stage when they emerge in large numbers.

Noisy Males

If you hear the noise of the Cicadas you are hearing the males. They have special noise boxes, that are similar to drums, on the sides of their abdomens. These structures are known as “tymbals”. They make noises to attract females as well as other sounds to warn other males to stay out of their territory. Each species has its own unique sound. They can collectively create the noise up to 110-120 decibels. That is equivalent to that of a chain saw, or a rock concert! That’s a lot of noise! Interestingly, if you hold a live male in your hand it will often make this sound to try to scare you away. It is amazing how God designed these insects so they could emit such a loud sound.

Hard to Locate

You would think that anything that made that much noise would be easy to locate. Believe it or not, it is not easy to locate a singing Cicada. This is partly due to the fact that more than one of them are singing at the same time.They are a lot like ventriloquists that seem to send their voices elsewhere. I once heard a Cicada and was only about three feet away and didn’t see it until it moved. The sound seems to come from everywhere at the same time. It’s interesting that the females can distinguish where the males are and find them quickly even when their are several different species in the same location. They can find their mates and reproduce their young. This is the primary purpose of adult Cicadas.

The Better to See You

As you can see in the above photo, Cicadas have two large compound eyes on the sides of their heads. In addition, they have three small simple eyes right in the middle of their heads. If you look closely, you will also notice that they have a tiny pair of antenna. Their legs are jointed and they have claws on the ends of their feet with which to grasps branches and the bark of trees.  Look closely, you may also see the long, needle-like mouth tucked up under their belly. It looks a lot like a bird’s beak. These sometimes are up to a half inch long.

Not Harmful to Man

Though they might look menacing, they actually cause no harm to man. They are very interesting to examine up close.

Interesting Experience

I recall one summer while serving as a camp counselor in Northern California. I heard a cry coming from the mountain top where summer campers were sleeping in a large Teepee. One of the girls woke up and saw a monster crawling up the side of her tent. Because the light from the outside came through the cloth the image of an emerging nymph was magnified and appeared to be many times its actual size. It really did look scary from the inside of the tent. Once I removed it and showed it to the girl and her tent- mates and explained that it was harmless,  all again was calm on the hill. 

Half Wing

Cicadas belong to the insect order Homoptera. This term means “same wings”. The Cicadas have one large pair of wings and one smaller pair. The smaller pair are one half as large as the front pair. Their wings are transparent and veined.  Other members of this order include the aphids, tree hoppers, and leaf hoppers.

 

Waxy Coat

Cicadas are covered with a waxy coat that helps shed water. Their wings also are hydrophobic, and repel water. This is a good thing for the Cicadas because they often live in very moist places. It also keeps their wings ready for flying when necessary to avoid predators or find a new location. God gave these insects everything they would need to survive.

Plague-like Numbers

One of the most amazing things about Cicadas is the vast numbers that can emerge in a matter of weeks! The Periodic Cicadas of the Eastern United States, which emerge every 17 yrs., can come out in numbers that equal up to tens of thousands to 1.5 million insects per acre. That is like the Biblical plagues of the Old Testament times. In these numbers they can be a nuisance, getting squished on the pavement, covering branches of trees and sidewalks. These vast numbers provide a feast for many animals that take advantage of their appearance. In just a short while all of the remnants of these creatures will be gone, eaten and recycled. Their bodies provide nutrients for the soil and food for many fungi and bacteria in the soil.

Now It’s Your Turn to Take Time to Look at and Study Them!

So….the next time you encounter a Cicada, take time to take a closer look. They are marvels of design and very interesting to observe. The closer you look the more amazing they are. They definitely demonstrate the marvelous design of their Creator.