Lights for the New Year


A long time ago I came across this paperfold by Paul Haeberli. The finished product looks impossible, but except for one step where you have to divide up a given folded line into several parts of opposite orientation, it's not too hard to do.

Elsewhere on Haeberli's site, Graphica Obscura, were some photos of a little string of Christmas lights he and colleagues had constructed.

When I lived in Madison, after being catalyzed by coming across some green transparent plastic, I combined the specific folding technique with the idea of shading a string of lights with folded paper containing small colored windows to create something for the house during the holidays.

After my friend Lance made a pair of wings for Bess's Halloween costume a few years ago, I ended up with some nice red transparent plastic. I used that plus this paper to make little windows for a new, and redder, realization of the paperfold+lights concept.

The process

In each 8.5 x 11 piece of regular white paper, folded as described above, I cut out several diamond shapes and glued pieces of red plastic or the gold and red paper over the diamond-shaped holes.


After about a year of on, and mostly off, work, I had accumulated a box full of these.


I glued them together into two longish strips. It was easier to set the glue if I compressed them, accordion-style, but they would stretch back out again.


A small string of white Christmas lights illuminate them quite nicely.


The final installation. The photo on the left was taken with the flash and on the right, without.


© copyright 2005 David Cohen