Designed by Michael G. LaFosse
Alice Gray, an important origami pioneer, was also an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, at the same time that I was visiting Lillian Oppenheimer's Origami Center of America. We shared a subway trip from Lillian's apartment, to the Museum, and inspired by Alice's vocation, I spontaneously folded an origami butterfly from a scrap of paper for her. Alice critiqued my creation, and lamented that it was not from a square, since the general feeling amongst origamists in the 1970s was that all good origami must be from an uncut square. Since this design required a non-equilateral rectangle, I realized it was easy to start with a square, and simply fold one or more of the edges inward. As a bonus, the extra paper folded inward at the first steps could be fashioned later to produce interesting shapes and patterns in the final steps.
This design is actually a system of generating dozens of species of butterflies, simply by mixing and matching several possible options at each of the first few steps. We have included this model to encourage creative play using origami. See if you can think-through the final effect of making a particular change at an early step in the folding.
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