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William Shen-Costello
Ryujin 3.5, 2023
Tracing Paper (120cm x 120cm)

This origami dragon is one of the most intricate and time consuming models ever designed. It consists of a long scaled, snake-like body which contains several hundred individual scales, two sets of legs and claws, and a detailed head with numerous horns. I remember from the first time I saw it I could never wrap my head around how something so magnificent could be created from something as simple as a square of paper.
While normally I would look up a tutorial in order to help me with the basic folding processes, this one however had no instructional help available at the time except for its crease pattern, essentially a map of every fold that needed to be made in order to fully collapse the structure. The crease pattern was box-pleated meaning every fold was based on a gridded system. In the case of this model, there needed to be a 96 x 96 square grid.
Before I could even reach this daunting task, first I needed to actually prepare a sheet of paper suitable in size for such a project. With so many intricate folds, it required a square of paper over a meter across since the finished piece would have shrunk significantly. For my first attempt, I used Wenzhou rice paper. This proved to be very difficult as it became very flimsy and tore easily. It became so discouraging to work with that I abandoned the project half way through. I would revisit this endeavor the following summer, this time using tracing paper which is a thinner and sturdier material to work with. Finally, after almost 100 hours of labor, the project was finished.

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