I wanted to build another sculpture with extremely small leaves. I’ve encountered an issue when making such sculptures in the past. It seems that as I get toward the ends of branches the high-density leaf structure I had planned fails, and I end up with more widely spaced leaves than I wanted. I thought that perhaps I could split the end of each branch to overcome this issue. What follows is an explanation of what I did.
When we complete a branch network there are often highlights which seemed to appear spontaneously. Sometimes these are caused by changes in color of the newsprint below the surface, but more often they are the result of the way paint adheres to exposed hot melt glue. Acrylic paint doesn’t stick to hot melt glue very well. It kind of smears across, rather than being absorbed by, the surface.
I’ve often admired these color changes. To me they make the sculpture look more beautiful and complex. I had some spare time this week and wondered if I might be able to create highlights deliberately. I discovered I could, and what follows is an example of creating discrete highlights on trunk and branch networks. I share this information freely with the hope that it will improve your work as it has mine.
-Benjamin John Coleman
Makigami is a new material made from recycled newspaper. Here’s more detailed information about it:
This blog post describes how to create a complex origami bonsai sculpture in a vase. This vase is made of glass and has a smooth surface. With little or no friction, how can we create a sculpture that won’t require some heavy medium inside the vase, or fall over in the slightest breeze? The answer involves a little bit of ingenuity and craftsmanship.
As part of the book release of Origami 101, Ben Coleman was invited to Etsy Labs to do some folding in Brooklyn, New York. Click the link to view:
Listen to the broadcast by clicking this link:
I was doing an Origami Bonsai demonstration some months ago and asked the audience why I vary the leaf size. One respondant suggested that it makes my work look more natural. While both my books discuss varying leaf size from the perspective of depth enhancement, this participant made a really good suggestion that i fnally a time to try the other day.
The plant pictured above is a hybrid combination of an ice plant, a cactus, and a christmas cactus. A typical ice plant has vastly varrying leaf sizes, so I made made squares that greatly differed in size. The resultant sculpture is quite interesting. The large variations in leaf size add a lifelike component to the work.
Large variations in leaf size can be combined with depth enhancement too. To combine these features, assemble your sculpture with the smaller leaves tending to be rear-most and larger leaves tending to be front-most.
You can create marvelous dishes in which to “plant” your Origami Bonsai creations. Roll some thick makigami stems and mold them around a large diameter tube. Also roll some unmolded, straight makigami stems. Use the straight stems as legs, and the curved ones for the surface of the planter.
Use hot melt glue to assemble the curved makigami stems onto the “legs.” Then apply a coat of wood glue and paint. You can also experiment with stems that are tapered on both ends for a different look (not shown).
I recently made an Origami Bonsai chess set. The kings and queens of the sets were very similar, and I wanted something to differentiate them. I added thorns to the queens by using discarded trimmings of branchlets to their stems.
The picture above is of both queens in the chess set. The thorns are painted yellow on each of the queens.
You can sell your origami bonsai sculptures on Etsy. When visitors click the “Buy a Sculpture” option at left they are taken to an Etsy search that looks for origami bonsai sculptures. Just make sure you put “origami” and “bonsai” in your key words when you list an item on Etsy.
It costs only 20 cents to list an item on Etsy for four months. The typical origami bonsai receives over 100 views over this period, so if you want to sell one of your creations, Etsy is kind of a “no-brainer.” When you add an item to Etsy, make sure you include the words “origami” and “bonsai” in the keywords section. This will allow Etsy to list your sculptures when perspective customers click “Buy a Sculpture” at left and when they click advertisements in Origami Bonsai Electronic Magazine.. If your item is made entirly from Makigami, include the keywords “makigami” and “accessory” to obtain the same benefits from magazine ads.