9: Curved Paper

9: Curved Paper

Paper is flat, right? I often think about the similarities of when people thought that the world was flat; but with paper it is obvious, because you can hold it and fold it. I find the ways that artists have figured out how to make curves in paper astounding. And not when you just twist it into a loop, like a mobius strip, but when it is scored on a curve, you can actually coax paper to fold in ways it otherwise wouldn’t.

Scored concentric circles, from Playing With Paper

Eric Demaine and Martin Demaine are at MIT and wrote an interesting paper (with pictures) about the surprisingly old history of what they call curved-crease sculpture, going back to the 1920s at the Bauhaus.
They create paper sculptures and describe how the “paper folds itself into a natural equilibrium form depending on its creases. These equilibria are poorly understood, especially for curved creases. We are exploring what shapes are possible in this genre of self-folding origami, with applications to deployable structures, manufacturing, and self-assembly. This transformation of flat paper into swirling surfaces creates sculpture that feels alive”.

Fuller Craft Series, 2012

Pushing Curves to the Limit series

Richard Sweeney is another big name in this type of work. His practice combines the disciplines of design, photography, craft and sculpture, resulting in a varied output of work including graphic design and public sculpture commissions. Combining hand-craft with computer aided design and CNC manufacturing techniques, Richard seeks to maintain an experimental, hand-on approach, utilising the unique properties of often mundane materials to discover unique sculptural forms.

Icosahedron II 2006, by Richard Sweeney

Birthday gift- Commission for Queen Rania of Jordan, by Richard Sweeney

A confession: when I start writing a post, I have a plan in mind. But then I start researching various aspects of the subject and inevitably come up with even more interesting artists to feature! Like Polly Verity, whom I’d never heard of. This picture is just the tip of the ice berg, too. Click into her website and you’ll find many more amazing curved paper folds!

Curved folds, by Polly Verity

calliper curve variation

Calliper Curve Variation, by Polly Verity

Have you seen other paper works in which paper defies intuition? If so, please e-mail or leave me a comment below.
About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!


  1. carol norby says:

    Check out Leo Monohan he is a dimensional illustrator. Amazing work!http://www.leothecolorman.com

  2. Linda says:

    The feel of movement in these papers is amazing!

  3. Jesper Heine says:

    Hello Helen!
    You mybe will like to se other curved folds.
    Take a look here:
    My last project;
    Curved tessellation lamp
    Have I posted on curvedfolding.com (6 photos)
    (click on the image to see the next photo)
    And the Danish origami association’s website (3 photos):
    (click on images to view full size).
    Here is also a photo of a couple of my previous work/lamps:
    Sincerely / Best regards
    Jesper Heine