Origami… Clipart… Bliss…


So calming. I’ve missed you.

It’s been too many years. Well, until the weekend just past, that is. I’ve rediscovered you, and mashed you up with clipart, which is another hobby I’ve been tooling with in your absence, and I am well pleased with your love-child!

Come then gentle reader, on a retrograde temporal shift with me, back to Friday, 31st January, 2014.

Picture… darkness, for that’s what’s happening.  My eyes are lightly closed; and I’m on the very verge of sleep. Delightfully, a quasi-dream starts. Paper in our shared memory hands, folding, folding, and folding again. The clean, delightful head-space of knowing the fold so well that I’m coasting in ‘The Zone’, and deeply content with the movement, sans the story-teller who is now half-jokingly claiming ownership of something it knows doesn’t belong to it.

However, what is a story without a little drama, reader?

Enter beloved daughter, and zen-master, barging her way into the bedroom and allowing a warm orange light and household noises to shatter my dream-vision.  She demands that we share a story, and as the ghost-origami evaporates from our phantom fingers. Let’s accept the transition, and put our story-teller to good use.

But… that’s not the reason I re-discovered origami.

Allow us to now skip through the remainder of the night, through to the next morning. Open our shared memory-eyes with me reader, and ease into our Saturday morning with a quick scan of some social media with the phone that now also serves as my alarm clock, sleep and blood pressure monitor.

Experience my surprise of finding a new follower on Google+, and the realisation that her public posts are exclusively origami. Note my confusion. Yes, I list Origami as a hobby, but those trawling my digital footprint wouldn’t know it for the ‘proof’ I’ve left. And yet, there we are.  A delightful entry into Saturday, gazing at picture after picture of the folds she’s shared with the world.

But… that’s not yet the reason I re-discovered origami.

Come now with me to the kitchen. It’s early, and nobody else is likely to stir for at least another hour or two.  We eat a breakfast, you and I, and ponder what to do with the silence.  Origami… why not?  It’s been years.

However, what is a story without a little drama, reader?

So, let’s now search the house over, room after room, wondering where the hell the origami library and stacks of coloured, square paper have gotten to. It’s been years of inattention after all, and with a move of house, that stash could be anywhere.

Sneak quietly through the house with me reader, because I am certain that two bouncy munchkins will amp up the handicap on this rusty skill just a little too much for my liking.  Feel again with me the frustration of over-full cupboards, stuffed with interests that parenthood has had no time to revisit. Finally, sing internally with me, as I find the complete stash in a forgotten nook, and successfully extract it without waking my littlest female zen-master.

But… that’s still not the reason I re-discovered origami.

Sit with me now, and watch me burn through a number of squares, re-doing those beginner cranes until I no longer need the book as a crutch. See the peace doves that follow next, for now I’m moving into favoured folds. Finally, watch me fold the talking frog I hold a special love for.

Beloved Origami Frog

Beloved Origami Frog

And know gentle reader, that THIS is the reason I re-discovered origami.

For half-way through the folding of the frog, the chatter stopped in surprise, as the fingers took off and finished the frog without needing to check with the book. Experience again with me that it wasn’t just the fingers, but the faint mind’s eye view into the idealised construct. Three-dimensional, and calling like a siren to align  the physical paper in my hand match the phantom frog in my head.

Now, let us sample highlights from the day, for they serve to deliver more rewards than just that moment of wonder at witnessing my long-dormant skills come out of hibernation.

The children awake and are gifted with paper animals.

Games spontaneously form around the folds over the day.  Frogs and doves sharing meals of invisible worms and flies. Flapping, zooming, pecking paper. A fascinating circular game of “I completely wrecked it THIS time Dad! Bet you can’t bring the bird back again!”.

Eventually the scamp bested me, though I like to think I gave him pause to wonder how I managed to reclaim the bird from that scrunched ball so many times.

However, what is a story without a little drama, reader?

So… Let’s you and I fast-forward through to Monday night. Hold the memory of a stressful day wondering which event will land first.  The contract extension or the contract completion? There’s a month left of money in the ‘blessed’ till. Share if you will, my  discomfort reader. Know that I’ll likely need to call in the heavy artillery to give the HR team the incentive needed to make the magic of contract continuance manifest.

Note how I’m craving time to myself to unwind.  None of my usual tricks will work tonight, because I’m wound up tight.  I need to taste a little flow again, because there was damn-near none of it at work.

I haven’t engaged in a serious Inkscape project for a while, so I decide on the spot that tonight will be me drawing something.

What to draw?

Hmm… here’s my frog, still mostly in one piece.

Very well. I have no idea how hard it will be to reproduce the frog as vector-art, which is perfect. A stretch goal, but not so huge I don’t dismiss it as too big a leap.

Let us fast-forward through the drawing now. And why not?  Flow was held, and time stood still for me until I was too tired to draw any more. The vectorised frog is in a good place. There are spots that need touching up, but I won’t push it now that it’s suddenly gone from just after dinner to way-too-late for a school night in the blink of an eye.

Programming you see, has taught me the folly of having the story-teller try to fill the gap once the flow departs.

Moments of the story-teller surface through the drawing and quietly murmur things like “Ooh.. clever! I like that!”, and “Alright… I can see why that works now”. I note again, that as the story-teller, I’m just not clever enough to come up with some of these things myself.  The deeper moving currents own the flow, and don’t care a jot that ‘Linds’ now claims what can only be forged in that river of bliss. A place that Linds can see from a distance, but can’t enter without it suddenly all evaporating.

And now, we’re back in tonight.  Small touch-ups are made, and an experiment with a tool called SVGCleaner shrinks the finalised image to a third of its size with no visible degradation of quality.

I am well pleased with the end result.

Vectorised Origami Frog

Vectorised Origami Frog

Now gentle reader.  Now… we are done.

Origami… Clipart… Bliss…


2 responses to “Origami… Clipart… Bliss…

  1. That rocks … As Do you


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