There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
This is a song that was released in 1964, shortly after Sam Cooke was killed (under strange and suspicious circumstances) in Los Angeles, California. Cooke had been a gospel singer who made the switch to pop and rock-and-roll at a time when it was considered egregiously wicked to use one’s talent for anything other than singing ad majorem gloriam dei. Sure glad he did. This song (and 1960′s Chain Gang) did as much to raise the national awareness as the lunch counter sit-ins did.
The song’s been much in mind, this past week. The electoral victory of Barack Obama is an epoch for this nation, the change that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sam Cooke prophesied so long ago, a beautiful thing. Even those malefactors in the Republican party realized that — and promptly jumped on the bandwagon of grace-in-defeat. Well good for them — if lip-service is the best one can hope for, it’s best to have it up front.
Still, it leaves me playing games in my head. Obama was not elected because he’s a black man, but because he’s a good man who happens to be black and Americans are finally (kinda sorta) okay with that. What if he’d been Ojibwa or Mahican? Does American tolerance stretch that far? Maybe — I have my doubts. It’s nice to dream of a new world coming where a Traveller could become Taoiseach or where a Bukaru might lead the Japanese Diet or where the prime minister of Hungary just might happen to be a Rom. This could take a while, but it’s probably good to stay in practice, dreaming. In my lifetime, man has walked on the moon, the Boston Red Sox have won the series twice and a black man has been elected president. Yeah, we need to dream big and then a bit bigger.
When I dream, I tend to dream of curved surfaces and data streams — you don’t want to get inside this head, you really don’t. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of Golaseccan ceramics: one, because our friend, Mélisande*, was recently on vacation in North Golasecchistan and took some pictures at one of their museums:
and two, because we are journeying to South Golasecchistan in a few weeks, to attend the 26th convention of the Centro Diffusione Origami in Verbania, Italy. This is a big deal for me. I’ll take some pictures. (Somewhere, in my files, is a 30 year-old letter, announcing the founding of the CDO. Looked for it this morning, couldn’t find it. Ah, well, it’ll show up, things always do.)
(Did I mention, I just got back from San Francisco, California, where I attended a really nice retreat for Pacific Rim Origami? Jeremy Shafer described PRO as the origami Illuminati, which, so far, is the best description of the group I’ve heard. Nicest bunch of people you could ever want to hang with, tell you what. Bernie Peyton is a freakin’ prince.)
Anyhow, I’ve been working on folding shapes that these Iron Age beer glasses describe. This one, which surfaced in Pombia, has caught my attention.
I’ve been kicking around this idea for a while now, of modeling concave objects by sampling radii and then conceptualizing polygons of the same size, stacked up. If you made creases that described the curves made by the vertices of these polygons, you’d get a paper version of that shape. Something like this.
I suspect I’m missing some important pieces of this, but it is, as I observed above, important to keep dreaming big. ‘Cause I know, I know, a change gonna come.
Crease pattern for the Bicchiere Pombiese.