I did this not because it was particularly wanted by anyone, but simply as an interesting challenge—possibly one not attempted before. As documented elsewhere, I wasn’t experienced at designing origami models at that point. I broke it down into chunks, trying separate “J” and “S” designs. To keep things simple, I started with pixel-like shapes for the letters (90° angles only), then chucked in some 45° angles if I could get away with it.
After a fair bit of trying different techniques and refining folds, I ended up with the most efficient models I could think of. (“Efficient” in this case means using the smallest possible starting size of paper. Every bit of paper tucked away out of sight is effectively wasted; efficiency is minimising how much paper is wasted.)
But trying to combine the models together into a single “JS” design was beyond me. The differences in fold placements combined with the off-centre placement of the letters was too much. I knew I had to be missing some fundamental design technique that would unlock what I wanted to do. In the end I put it aside for a while… which became several years.
Over a few years I’ve been building up a list of subjects I could attempt to design. This most recent lockdown is when I finally decided to bite the bullet and make a proper go of it.
Well, this is the first attempt at doing that. After deciding I wanted to primarily design Australian animals, the question was which one to start with. The title of this post not withstanding, the answer was… a box jellyfish.
I was intrigued by the combination of a small, cube-like body and incredibly long tendrils. (The tendrils of an Irukanji box jellyfish can be over 100 times longer than its bell.) I had an idea in my head of how to do it. But once I started trying it out, the limitations of paper thickness started to interfere with the shape I wanted to achieve.
In the end I got… some kind of jelly-like creature, but it wasn’t entirely what I was aiming for.
Realistically I knew that that approach was a bit of a dead-end, so I moved on to animal target number 2.
Actually a platypus this time
I love platypuses (or platypodes, but never platypi) as a distinctly Aussie creature. But I hadn’t seen any great representations of them in origami. This became my main focus. To avoid burying the lede any further, I ended up with something I’m really proud of.
Opens blog, blows off the dust, sweeps away the cobwebs.
Apparently I haven’t published a blog post in 2 years (something something pandemic). Time to see if these old writing muscles still work.
During 2020–21 I withdrew a lot from doing tech stuff. Online-only meetups were unenjoyable, and I stopped watching video recordings from conferences, stopped working on my own open source stuff, stopped writing blog posts. What little coding I did do was limited to simple scripts, or very occasional contributions to the MDN compat data project. (In fact, that was a topic of a different blog post that I never got around to finishing.)
With enforced working from home and spending all day staring at a screen of code in my room, I really didn’t want to spend more time doing the exact same thing at night.
What I did instead was throw myself back into the world of origami.