Table of Contents - Volume 6, number 1 (March 2001) - 24 pages
In origami, the complexity of a paper model depends on the number of corners the folder creates during the opening moves: an animal with four legs, two ears, a nose, and a tail is most often made from a base with eight corners.
Here’s a parallel example in string. Cathy Salika’s ‘Butterfly’ has eight wings (four double wings) and two antennae. As a result, her opening loom has ten loops (five on each hand). Cathy states that her Butterfly is nothing more than a variation of the ever-popular ‘Siberian House’.
Last month’s issue featured a seven-diamond net figure from Papua New Guinea called ‘Fire.’ It closely resembles a Hawaiian figure called ‘Night’ which appeared in the December 1997 issue of String Figure Magazine, but is made using an entirely different method.
Have you ever glanced at someone in public by momentarily shifting your eyes without moving your head? We do this to avoid detection. Men, accompanied by their wives, often use this technique to admire a pretty girl. It’s also common among thieves!
Here’s an amusing string figure from Melanesia that portrays a quick glance. The figure is made as fast as possible, and briefly displayed to the left of the body (the pattern will not appear if the figure remains centered). It is then undone as fast as it was made, and remade again. The method of extension requires some practice, but once you’ve mastered it the effect is dazzling!
Almost everyone knows the trick "Cheating the Hangman" (described in Jayne’s book and elsewhere) in which a loop wrapped around the neck mysteriously slips free. But in some locations the trick has been simplified, and rather than placing the string around the neck, the string is wrapped once around a toe, or the finger of an observer.
Here’s an example from Burma. If a second player is not available, wrap the string around your own toe, as illustrated in Dr. Abraham’s original article.
Unlike most birds, pigeons prefer to land, feed, and roost on flat, smooth surfaces (in urban areas these include roofs, ledges, and paved areas). They love to live in attics, or elevated wooden boxes (pigeon houses) built especially for them. To facilitate coming and going, the entrance to a pigeon house often features a hinged, fold-down door consisting of a rectangular wooden frame covered with a wire lattice or open-mesh screen. At night the door is raised to keep out predators, but during the day it is lowered into a horizontal position to serve as a landing perch.
The following string figure is a good representation of a homing pigeon’s landing perch. Like a real perch, it can be "raised" and "lowered" over and over again.
In the December 1999 issue we described a string figure from Guyana called ‘Four-eyed Fish’ in which upright loops (eyes) protrude from two corners of an elongated triangle (the fish’s body). Here’s a similar figure from southern Argentina called ‘Skunk.’ In this figure, a single upright loop represents the skunk’s bushy tail. Use a stiff, thick cord.
Here’s a very simple action figure from the central Pacific. The native name for this figure is Tau Avaga (Husband and Wife). In Papua New Guinea, the locals call a similar figure ‘Boy meets Girl in the Garden.’ Upon completion, the figure is worked until two small "knots" approach each other and touch. The action depicts a couple approaching each other to kiss.
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