Folded calligraphy

A few days ago, in browsing the Roku for something interesting to watch, we happened across the documentary Between the Folds, by Vanessa Gould. This is a short film about the art and science of paper folding. I have played a little with origami in the past, but the level of skill and the intricacy of the patterns shown in this movie was so far beyond anything I had seen before that I felt an irresistible urge to pick up a sheet of paper and start folding.

As it happened, the closest sheet of paper to me was a piece of scrap paper on which I had been sketching ideas for a envelope design for my nephew Matt’s upcoming birthday (Happy Birthday, Matt!). I just started by making semi-random folds, not trying to create anything in particular, but folding the sheet into a fan pattern in one direction, then un-folding it and doing the same with the sheet turned 90 degrees, and finally, I started throwing in various folds that I remembered from simple origami patterns I had learned years ago. My main thought was just to create something with enough complexity of facets and textures that it might enhance or add interest to the calligraphy. Here’s a photo that suggests what can emerge from this process:

This was just a preliminary experiment, but the result intrigues me, and motivates me to want to learn more about the current state of the art in paper-folding. If any reader has had experience in combining calligraphy and folding, I’d be particularly interested in hearing from you!

Four keys

The sketch below is essentially another callidoodle, as it’s just a cleaned-up version of a quick sketch done during Sunday’s church service. The lectionary passage for May 15 was the portion of Acts where Luke reports some of the key factors that led to the rapid growth of the early church following Pentecost:

Pastor Ramon pointed out, though, that none of the four items emphasized above are really “key” in the absence of the word “devoted.” It was because of constant, intense devotion to these four items that the community grew.

My usual doodling tools for the callidoodles are just a pencil and a fine-point black monoline pen, but it’s hard to do layered calligraphy in pure black and white. My original thought was not really to layer, so much as to intertwine the four key words, as you see in the words “Teaching” and “fellowship.” When I brought the sketch home and looked at it some more, though, I decided that there wasn’t enough separation of the words for legibility, so I added a half-tone for the word “bread” using a pencil. If I were to further develop this sketch into a more finished piece, I might run the sketch above across the bottom of the page, and then feature the word “Devotion” as an emphatic vertical element. I’ll have to think further about that.