IMPOSSIBLE KIRIGAMI CARDS
My artistic ability is limited to the production of Stickmen and I have very poor spatial relations. But I have an insatiable sweet tooth for delicious eye candy. My passion for beautiful things is only exceeded by my love for beautiful, impossible things.
Despite my passion being inversely proportional to my artistic chops, I’m currently consumed with compulsively creating impossible kirigami cards.
An impossible kirigami card is created by cutting, twisting and folding a playing card. Two secret folding techniques and several linking and weaving procedures are employed. While some parts of the card may be permanently removed, pieces cannot be detached and reattached using adhesive. In some cases, hidden cutting may be employed. The folded card can be unfolded back to its original, flat state.
I don’t know who first described the construction of these cards. The earliest reference I found was The Next Book of Omni Games, by Scot Morris, published in 1988. There must be earlier citations.
Ian Rowland was the early, primary creator and popularizer of these cards. He previously called them “Wow” cards or "Reflexions." He now humbly calls them "Ian Cards."
Other major players in this tiny cabal of card-cutting artists include Angus Lavery, Allen Rolfs and Ralf Rudolph. Magician Harapan Ong created two lovely cards.
But the current king of confounding kirigami cards is a gifted artist named Scott Dyer. Check out his website to learn more about Mr. Dyer and his amazing creations.
When I stumbled upon his site, I tumbled down the rabbit hole through which I’m hurtling with increasing velocity.
I contacted Mr. Dyer, groveled at his feet and offered to buy a few templates from him. He sent a dozen for free. What a guy!
He intentionally omitted directions. He assured me that the methodological challenge is part of the fun and I will be thrilled when the design comes together.
So, I attached the template to a card and cut the pattern into the card. Then, I studied the photo of the completed card and figured out how to fold and manipulate it to create the design.
Scott was right. It is a detailed, maddening and ultimately blissful experience to create one of these gems!
Scott is my hero and I thank him for his inspiration and support.
The next step in my card-crafting development involved creating a card by intently studying a photo of the completed card, with no template. By following the contours of the design and the negative space, I eventually developed the ability to determine the template. Then there’s the ongoing challenge of figuring out how to construct the design.
I successfully replicated over two dozen cards depicted on Scott’s site. I learned a great deal and my cutting technique is improving.
The biggest challenge is creating an original, attractive design. Is a spot card or a court card the best canvas upon which to create the design? Does the card dictate the design or does the design demand a particular card to best complement it? The possibilities are daunting.
The tools of my trade are a pencil, eraser, scalpel, the Gyro-Cut tool, blue painter’s tape, a ruler, a cutting board, sandpaper, a veneer edge banding iron and an illuminated, magnifying headset.
When it comes to producing art, I’m a tyro and a hack. But I’ve somehow managed to craft some cards of which I'm proud. All of the cards are examinable. I'll add cards when I create something worth sharing.
I hope they please and perplex you.