Thoughts on failure

 Paper failures circled

Paper failures circled

Failure is a necessary part of the process of finding new forms.  Two nights ago while working on Waves I, the paper suddenly gave up on two connection points at once with a pop.  I can repair the connections and complete the fold (after all, learning how to repair connections was a part of learning how to connect), but the failure is important.  

I could expound upon failure as so many blogs have in recent years, but instead I will just say that I see failure as a sign that I am successfully pushing boundaries.  Boundaries are important to my work.  Knowing how far I can push my medium and what types of tension can be managed is crucial to creating structures that I find interesting and that I want to fold.  

Why did the paper fail?  I can think of three reasons:

1.  The original study also had critical tension that resulted in a similar breakdown.  One failure could be a failure of folding technique but two failures of the same essential design is a design issue.

2.  It was a particularly steamy night in San Francisco.  Humidity is not the friend of paper.  A wiser woman might have decided to not fold that evening.  I think that I will move onto a different project while I wait for the weather to change.

3.  I have a growing suspicion that folding 3D structures without collapsing holes is a recipe for fatal tension.  The wave design I am testing is, in many ways, the worst case scenario for this type of tension--only four holes, each lily connected in all corners, over a hundred lilies...    

Yup, failure.