Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852), German educator, crystallographer, and originator of the kindergarten concept, was one of the first to point to the creation of folded patterns like these featured here. Using white paper only, Fröbel created his own unique collection of folded forms of beauty, as he called them.
In the book Extreme Origami, author Kunihiko Kasahara displays and discusses a small collection of colorful square patterns made from the windmill base, also known as “Fröbel’s basic form”. Kasahara goes on to point out that it is possible to make infinite variations from this basic fold by slightly changing the way the top flaps of this base are folded.
Taking inspiration from Fröbel’s work, I have folded about five hundred variations myself. What fascinated me in these forms was their graphic potential as individual images. Working in black and white appealed to me for simplifying the examination of structure and essence and the play of positive and negative in these forms.
Video Demonstration – how to fold the windmill base and four variations.
- Read a great article written by David Lister (British Origami Society) about Froebelian folding.
- Here is a link to Ilan Garibi’s flikr page. He has his own colorful collection of Froebel’s forms. He also shows an alphabet based on these forms.
How to sequence or track folds made when doing the Froebelian folds
I set myself to systematically make sets of 16 or 20 based on one initial move. For example, I made a set initially folding the central tips all the way out to the corners and then I did variations from there. Then I did another set, folding the central tips half way to the corners… and so on.
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