Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bob Neale's 'Bunny Bill'

Bob Neale's Bunny BillBob Neale's Bunny Bill

As a child, I used to watch a tv program called "Vision On" Vision On mascot
presented by Tony Hart. They showed all sorts of art techniques for children and had an origami slot where a model was folded by anonymous hands in speeded up motion.
One day I saw these hands fold in a matter of seconds a top hat from a white piece of paper. then the hand did something to the hat and a rabbit popped out of the top!
I wanted to know how to fold it of course. I wrote to the program but never received an answer. This was before the age of the Internet and interactive television. I remember searching the library and saving my pocket money to buy Robert Harbin's paperback origami books always hoping to find the model.
I kept the books over the years but stopped folding until about 5 years ago when my mother bought me a copy of Samuel Randlett's "The Best of Origami" from a charity shop. This restarted my interest in paper folding and I remembered the fold I had seen all those years ago.
I started searching the Internet, putting 'hat' and 'rabbit' into search engines. Eventually I found a reference to 'bunny bill' clicked on the link and there was a photo of the lost model made out of a dollar bill!
I joined the British Origami Society shortly after that and saw how many people were designing models. For some reason it had never occurred to me that this was possible... I went back to the picture, and studied it closely: I worked out that the rabbit's ears and the head were made from the raw edges of one of the short sides. I tried to reverse engineer the model from the photo but got very stuck very quickly... Eventually after requesting the model from the BOS library, it was emailed to me in a pdf file: 8 pages of Origami heaven.
What a brilliant organisation, they are all so knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.
The fold is apparently very popular with magicians who keep the diagrams a closely guarded secret because from what I can gather they are only to be found in one booklet, which only contains this 1 fold.
I was looking forward to meeting Bob Neale and thanking him for sparking my interest in Origami, at the recent BOS Cambridge convention, but sadly he wasn't able to attend.
He has created hundreds of models including an elephant and the classic magic star.
There is another reason for me liking this model: although I couldn't reverse engineer it from the photographs, I was able to create an "Abyssinian cat" in which the head is also folded from the short edge of a 2:1 rectangle:

Matthew Hayward's Abyssinian cat

1 comment:

Leyla Torres said...

As a child I figured out how to fold the traditional boat made with a rectangle, but was left longing to fold the sampan boat (one with covers on each end). Years later I finally came across the diagrams. I share your sense of satisfaction for having found your rabbit in the hat.