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Tuesday, 28 May 2013 02:23

Origami and Smocking – Broadening the Art of Origami Through Exploring The Art of Smocking

by  KDianne Stephens
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Artists have well captured the high fashion of the Middle Ages, incorporating the art form of Italian Smocking, which produces an Origami feel. This sophisticated technique of Smocking (a form Embroidery dating from the Middle Ages/England bringing both form and function), where the color and weight of the fabric can be influenced, with the folds of the fabric becoming the focus, (rather than the embroidered stitches) may offer wonderful ideas to the Origami art form. American and Counterchange Smocking may also bring insights to Origami as well.

Saadya Sternberg, Origami Artist & Curator, kindly shared this picture that gives a nice example of Smocking from the Middle Ages.

Patterns for the art of Smocking can be likened to Origami crease patterns;

the results likened to tessellations.

Origami work inspired from classic Smocking patterns

Mathematician and Origami artist Jeannine Mosely writes “I was inspired by classic Smocking patterns to create this paper tessellation. In Smocking, tiny stitches on the back side of the fabric create gathers that cause the cloth on the front side to form orderly pillows. Recreating these pillows in paper presents a special challenge because the surfaces must be developable. I derived equations to determine the shape and position of the curved and straight creases required for this design. The resulting integral lacks a closed form solution and was solved numerically using Mathematica. I printed the principal domain onto card stock, cut it out and used it to trace multiple repetitions of the design onto a larger sheet of paper. These were "scored" with an embossing tool and then folded.”

Smocking Tessellation 10” x 15" Paper 2011

Herringbone Tesellation 10" x 15" Paper 2011

Exploring the art form and function of Smocking can bring interesting new opportunities to the world of Origami.

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