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Diagrams: Wet Folding à la Mad Folder

This is my method. I do not claim that it is the ultimate, the only, the best, but it's mine and I present it to you as a gift.

What is wet folding?

Wet folding is a technique that was developed by Akira Yoshizawa, who used water to moisten the paper so it could be handled more easily. This process brings a sculptural aspect to origami, which is in essence a purely geometric process. Thicker paper is usually used to ensure that the paper does not tear. Éric Joisel, a master of the wet folding technique, at the beginning, during his "Mask" period, also used what he called fake wet-folding, which involved folding without moistening the paper, but once the model was finished, immobilizing it with a lot of pins, then spraying water on it and then using the hair dryer.

The wet folding process allows a model to retain a curved shape more easily. It also reduces substantially any bad creases. Finally, wet folding allows rigidity once the model is dry.

The difficulty of the method lies in the mastery of the water supply, a function of the tactile knowledge of paper and of course, the model selected for folding.

The essential ingredients used to do this are:

Left: Sponge (or similar) for direct application on the paper; Right: Vaporizer for spraying water

Left: On Zorg, we use the official blastoon; Right: Total immersion wet folding.

My thoughts

In any field, the harder you work, the better you get. We gain experience after spending a lot of time folding. But what is improving? We note that it is not only our technical knowledge but also our sense of touch. It is actually the hand that is in permanent contact with the sheet, and it is precisely this intimate contact with the material that becomes more sensitive and is refined.

Have you noticed over time that you can differentiate the weight of the paper? The texture? Have you noticed that by touching the paper you can decide if it will suit you? So why not do the same with wet folding?

Indeed, when using a sponge or a vaporizer, you are not in contact with your sheet of paper, so how can you determine it has enough water in order to obtain the flexibility and rigidity necessary for the realization of the model? When I realized for myself the importance of this intimate contact, I started to use a bowl of water to wet my hands enough to moisten the sheet of paper by direct contact. It allowed me to master the process, and since we are in direct contact, we can raise the support sheet (table ...), and thus feel the desired flexibility. In the same way, during the advanced stages of folding, since we are in direct contact, we can feel the needs of the sheet, and if necessary, re-moisten the hands and apply to the desired place, so mastery becomes total – the supply of water as much as the where to add the water.

In closing, I present you with a model and diagrams for practicing wet folding. The folding is intermediate, but the shaping is complex.