Crease Is The Word



Something new for our paper vocabulary

Just when I thought I might know all the ways to work with paper, I discover something completely new to me: tessellation. Wikipedia defines it as a tiling or " a collection of plane figures that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps."

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While it has it’s origins in mathematics, the word for these puzzle forms has been used to describe graphics such as the wonderfully complex workings of Escher, and as I’ve recently discovered, insanely complex paper-folding art. I found a wonderful blog that introduced me to this rather scientific practice, with content created and maintained by a Mathematics teacher in a CPS high school. Christine Edison both blogs about and creates some fascinating paper manipulations that blur the lines between science and art.

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It seems like one would need a strong sense of spatial relations to come up with these paper folds, as evidenced by the process shots of one of the projects that Miss Edison (I love how formally she refers to herself – it IS a site for her students, after all) posted, but I don’t think we need the mathematical adeptness to appreciate them. Her tessellations run the gamut from candy-like boxes to Giger-esque scales, and all sorts of forms that look both biological and scientific at the same time. With that kind of cross-referencing, it’s small wonder that you can be confused about whether this is art or craft.

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Regardless what kind of discipline you think these paper explorations should fall under, the forms are just amazing to look at because they’re so intricate. The ones I’ve sampled here are just a few of Miss Edison’s works, and you can explore the definitions and explorations of tessellations (try to say that several times quickly) on her blog, Student Flotsam and Origami Jetsam.

Some practitioners of this kind of paper folding sell their work online, but for an elegantly practical example of a kind of tessellation, you can pick up one of these flower-like gift boxes from Kate’s Paperie. The unique aperture-like closure makes the box a gift in and of itself (and a reusable one at that), but it would be great for ‘wrapping’ small tokens like jewelry or even candy. You can find them at the gift-wrapping sections of your nearest Kate’s Paperie store – click here for locations.

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George G., Creative Director At Large, is a New York-based art director whose work spans everything from store display to interactive media. Also an accomplished artist, his illustrations have been published and exhibited in various galleries in New York. Being a self-professed design junkie, he is constantly on the lookout for what’s new and fresh in the worlds of art and design.

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