Eric Gjerde’s Tessellations

Lately I’ve been enjoying the challenge of folding origami tessellations.  From what I can find on the topic, Eric Gjerde is one of the leading individuals.  He has a great Web site where he has posted quite a bit on the topic.  I first stumbled upon his site and work several years ago and the pictures he had blew my mind.  I thought, “Wow, he’s incredible.  There’s no way I’d ever be able to that.”  While, I still think that about some of his most impressive work, I decided a short while later to try and tackle some of the “easier” designs.  That was easy to do since Eric posts instructions for folding several of his designs on his site.  He allows for anyone to go and download the instructions (in PDF form) free of charge with the stipulation that you aren’t doing it for monetary gain and that you give him credit for the design.

Eric now has a book published titled Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs.  I haven’t had the privilege of owning this book, yet, but look forward to it.  The couple of designs that I have folded came from the Web site, and they are a fun challenge.

Once the tessellations are folded, they are visually very pleasing on the front; but if the reverse side is shown it too has very nice patterns.  That would be enough of a reason for me to fold and enjoy these models.  However if you then hold the completed tessellation up to a window, or put it on a light table, yet another wonderful pattern appears.  And yet again a fourth pattern can be seen if the reverse side is seen while back-lit.  All-in-all tessellations are a lot of fun.  Here are some of the first patterns that I’ve folded.

Eric Gjerde Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation 1 copyA Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation designed by Eric Gjerde.  This design has two fairly distinct patterns that are created; the six-pointed stars made by the small triangle and the hexagons below them.
Eric Gjerde Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation reverse side 1The reverse side of the Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation above.  It forms a fun honeycomb pattern.
Eric Gjerde Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation reverse side window lit copyThe reverse side of the Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation back-lit.
Eric Gjerde Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation in progress 4 copyThis is the same piece of paper that’s pictured above of the Double Pleat Hexagon Tessellation, its just in process of folding.  I was half tempted to stop folding at this point with how much I liked the pattern that was created; but I got too curious as to what the final product would look like.  I’ll probably fold another with the intent to stop at this point.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation 1 copyEric Gjerde titled this the Spread Hexagon Tessellation.  This is actually the first model that I attempted a few years ago (not this particular piece of paper; my first one wasn’t nearly this good).  I enjoy how all of the overlapping hexagons spread out and twist away from the top-most hexagon.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation reverse side 1 copyThe reverse side of the above Spread Hexagon Tessellation.  A honeycomb pattern is formed here as in the model above; there are more hexagons and they are smaller here.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation window lit copyThe Spread Hexagon Tessellation held to the window for back-lighting.  By doing this, the twisting effect of each successive layer of hexagons is easier to see.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation reverse side window lit copyThe reverse side of the Spread Hexagon Tessellation with back-lighting.  I love that a totally different pattern is created on the reverse side than what you find on the front; although it is possible to see the same pattern if you look for it.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation Purple corner 1 (2)The Spread Hexagon Tessellation folded slightly differently.  Here, instead of starting in the middle of the paper with the top-most hexagon, I decided to see what it would look like if I started in one corner.  It reminds me more of scales on a fish or maybe a dragon.  I didn’t take a picture of the reverse side, because it looks identical to the reverse side of the previous Spread Hexagon Tessellation.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation Purple window lit copyThe back-lit purple Spread Hexagon Tessellation.
Eric Gjerde Spread Hexagon Tessellation close up 1 copyA close up picture of the Spread Hexagon Tessellation (the white one above).

Here is another link to Eric Gjerde’s book Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs.  You can look inside of the book and Eric has included some impressive gallery pictures of tessellations that he has folded as well as others.  Enjoy.

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