LaFosse’s “Slug” (WOD 2017 #6)

I know, I know. Slugs are icky. Who would want to do art about a slug? Michael LaFosse, that’s who. (Well, and me. I find the whole concept of an origami slug amusing.) Originally a biologist, Michael is a huge fan of mollusks, a member of the Boston Malacological Club, has memorized thousands of their Latin names… you get the idea. So it should come as no surprise that this slug is physically very accurate – it comes complete with a breathing pore – that shape on the side – as well as two nice eyestalks. There’s even a place to fold bits to represent the mouth (it’s on the underside, and doesn’t show. But it’s there.)

Strictly speaking, the piece is titled “Banana Slug” – which is a resident of the northwest of the US, and is a giant, yellow slug. It’s also the unofficial mascot of the University of Santa Cruz. (You can buy an astonishing variety of merchandise featuring the slug, including my favorite “zen slug,” too.) This one is wet-folded from duo brown-speckled/golden Origamido paper, so I think it represents one of our more local varieties. (Must ask Michael for the Latin name of the common ones around here.) The paper is thin and super-strong, and it takes the shaping beautifully, as well as compressing very well to form the eyestalks. (And the paper strength allows you to open out the paper at the ends of the eyestalks, and turn it inside out to get the color change for the eyes, without tearing.)

I’m going to be teaching the “Banana Slug” at the upcoming OrigaMIT convention in November (though larger, and from bright yellow Origamido paper.)

The piece is diagrammed in the excellent book “Origami Art” by Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander. The book has 15 designs, including the amazing scaled Alligator, and also contains a wealth of information on making your own paper, back-coating paper, and using commercial papers for origami art. Great book for exploring wet-folding and sculptural origami techniques.

This is my sixth fold for World Origami Days 2017. What are you folding?

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