Yesterday, the exhibits team took down a display of objects on loan from the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD and installed a selection of vibrant origami created by Thomas Hull, associate professor of mathematics, Western New England University. Tom described his origami background and process.
What inspired your interest in studying the mathematics of origami?
Describe the kind of origami you make and the pieces on display.
I like to make geometric origami. That is, I like to capture interesting geometric shapes and patterns in my paper folding.
Two of my pieces in the display are made from single (large) sheets of paper. There is a red piece that outlines a frame of a cube. That is folded from a large red octagon with many parallel pleats made from the sides to the center. I used the pleats to collapse the paper, and then I twisted it into the cube shape. To make the paper stay in this shape, I used an origami technique called "wet folding" where one sprays water on the paper with a fine mister, holds the paper in the desired shape, and lets it dry. Once dry, the paper will retain the shape. The other model, made from blue paper, is similar but I started with a hexagon and made different pleats and thus got a different shape in the end.
Thanks to Tom for sharing his wonderful creations and process with us. His origami will be on display until June, so be sure to take a peek on your next visit!