The Fitful Flog

July 26, 2008

Looking through a Glass Onion


According to the stats machines at Flickr, this is one of the most interesting photos I’ve ever taken. I am not one to argue with machines — they tend to equivocate and braid sorites and they’re absolutely useless with analogies. I have an old Thinkpad somewhere that believes that a raven and a writing desk are aspects of the same quiddity. Fortunately, one can always turn a machine off. There’s a knockdown argument for you.

It was the reactions of different people from different places to this model that I found interesting. A Brazilian viewer said it looked like a local sweet, teta de nega. An Indian said it looked like modak, a sweet dumpling favored by Lord Ganesha. An Italian saw a meringa, something I think we’d call a macaroon. Obviously, a shape that holds potent cultural associations and one to be explored further.

It was my intention to make an onion shape and it is, kinda sorta. It resembles a flat Italian onion called cipollini. I had been hoping for a more bulbous onion, something like a dome, but the tato-box closure restricts development of the top story. That’s okay, there are other ways to do things.

A man’s itch should exceed his scratch, else what’s a metaphor?

Looking Through a Glass Onion

The same model in polypropylene, folded by Jeff Rutzky.

Crease pattern for the 8-Sided Onion.

Crease pattern for the 12-Sided Onion.

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7 Responses to “Looking through a Glass Onion”

  1. 1
    Peregrino Says:

    > An Italian saw a meringa, something I think we’d call a macaroon.

    I think that what that Italian viewer meant was something like one of these:

    In Spanish they’re called “Merengue” (just like the Caribbean dance 😉 ) And in English they’re called “Meringue” (

    BTW, great blog with incredible models! I’m just making my first steps in the world of tessellations and crease patterns, but I think this blog is Awesome!

  2. 2
    IdaDown Says:

    What a beautiful sculpture. I saw it on and was inspired to visit your site.

  3. 3
    Sven Says:

    I think it looks really great.
    I would love to fold it myself. Unfortunately I don’t know how to. I didn’t find any instructions but the Crease Pattern which doesn’t help me at all.
    I hope that there’s a possibility to get some instructions on this really great lookin piece!

  4. 4
    oschene Says:

    There are no instructions for this model, sorry. It is, however, very similar to other tato boxes on this site, some of which do have instructions.

  5. 5
    waylan Says:

    i am trying to find the similar tato boxes that you refer to… but i am unable. i can’t find tato box instructions anywhere for that matter.

    perhaps you can link or hint at a query term?

  6. 6
    wac?aw Says:

    kurwa ma? jakie to skomplikowane

  7. 7
    Sreenath Says:

    Brillian site… addicted to it now! I have been folding your crease patterns one after the other…this Onion….I folded using an octagon as I found getting a circular paper difficult…but the tato type of closing does not stay…it splays apart, so, I folded it in, but that removed thed the soft curve folds a bit and the final piece does not look as good as the one one your page. Is there something I am doing wrong?

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