Tessellation Design Made Simple
Tessellations by Tiles
Learn to fold, reverse engineer, and design tessellations in 20 different tiling patterns with 24 recorded lessons, 150+ crease patterns, and lifetime access to ongoing office hours.
Why fold origami tessellations?
Origami tessellations are repeating geometric patterns folded from a single sheet of paper.
My style of folding adds one twist at a time, avoiding the risky process of precreasing everything and collapsing the pattern all at once.
Tessellations can be repeated infinitely and there are infinitely many of them to choose from - even while sticking to the basic twists.
The process of folding the background grid before adding twists to the paper is repetitive and meditative, just like simple knitting or crochet.
Folding origami tessellations means working with your hands to solve puzzles posed by the paper while having a direct connection to the infinite.
Then you get a beautiful piece of art at the end that shows startling backlit shadows and makes an excellent window decoration or gift.
Why wouldn't you fold origami tessellations?
I will warn you, though, this art can be addicting and it may result in decreased time on screens, a sense of accomplishment, and a feeling of connection with the universe.
You've started understanding the basic twists used in tessellations and started putting them together in your own combinations - but every time you post a photo someone says "but isn't that Design X from Folder Y?".
This is a super common situation for beginning designers - and it happened to me with this tessellation right here!
You see, by playing around with common patterns we end up finding the common things that are easy to find.
In order to level up and become a truly original designer we need to push further into unexplored territory - into arrangements of twists (the Tiles in Tessellations by Tiles) that you don't just stumble into.
Not Just For Designers
There are so many great tessellations out there... without any documentation. You contact the person who posted the photo, but they either don't respond or just say there's no CP.
If you're reliant on crease patterns then these tessellations are off limits.
But what if reverse engineering could be just as easy as reading a crease pattern?
If you can see what twists were used in which relationships, then you can duplicate any tessellation you like, whether you have the CP or not.
The important information - what twists were used and the relationships between them - was in the image all along.
How to Learn
The core of Tessellations by Tiles is the recordings of 24 workshops that I ran in 2022.
Each workshop gives an overview of the tiling, then teaches how to fold a specific tessellation, then runs through a design exercise and prototypes the resulting tessellation.
Nearly all of the tessellations discussed are present in the course library, which has over 150 crease patterns.
TBT is recorded instead of live this time around because my students actually preferred to learn the folding portions from a recording and also found the weekly workshop pace too fast.
Now you can take your time and explore all the options available in each tiling before moving on to the next and also get your questions answered in real time during our monthly office hours!
TBT also has information on recommended tools and suppliers and two bonus workshops on photography and framing.
Not Your Standard Workshop
While convention workshops and tessellation books focus on getting you to finish a pretty form of a tessellation, I focus on making sure that you actually understand the underlying patterns so you can fold it again - and make your own variations too!
Tessellations can't be learned in steps like figurative models - you really do need a deeper understanding of the relationships between the twists.
Each recorded workshop in TBT has three parts:
First, I explain a tiling and some choices that can be made with it.
Next, I teach a practice tessellation that illustrates these choices.
Finally, I design a tessellation together with the workshop participants and fold a prototype.
Instead of focusing on pretty borders and rotated grids, these workshops emphasize the skills needed to make the most out of every grid you fold and help you to see the infinite options of what to fold!
24 Core Workshops
Learn which twists go into each tiling and how they fit together, then fold an example before doing a design exercise and prototyping the result. TBT covers 20 tilings over 24 workshops and each recording lasts around 2.5 hours.
Work at your own pace - there's no such thing as falling behind and all workshops are available right away.
Live Office Hours
Even though the core workshops are already recorded, there are still office hours each month to get your questions answered live!
Join me at noon on the first Wednesday of every month, or send in a question early to see the answer in the recording.
These are great times to get your questions answered, get specific pointers on tessellations you haven't finished, and get to know me and the other students better.
What good is a tessellation if you can't make all your followers on Instagram jealous? I'm kidding, of course - it's for making the big bucks on Etsy (yeah, right!) - or maybe for the sheer joy of completing what was previously impossible and holding something no one else has made.
Either way, you'll get immediate access to the photography workshop I recorded with my TBT students in 2022, which has tips for photo editing too.
Tessellations are best showcased with the option for backlighting. I've spent the last two years figuring out how to hang tessellations in windows and I'll teach you everything I know about a variety of hanging techniques and how you can get the materials you need.
Like the photography workshop, you'll get access to this workshop recording immediately when you join TBT.
Share your designs and ideas with your fellow students on Discord and get feedback from people who actually understand what you're talking about - without sharing publicly - plus easily start a video call with your new folding friends.
You'll have access to all course materials for life - and that includes any future office hours or updates! Community access is also for life, so you can keep asking me questions as long as you want. I know that life can get in the way, so I want to make sure that you can get the most out of Tessellations by Tiles - and sometimes that means taking a break and coming back later.
You'll get all files shown in the workshops and I'll show you how to edit them with free, open-source software. You'll also get the templates I made for my own use to draw top-quality crease patterns.
I save up my favorite materials so I can make them available to my students. You'll have the option to purchase a pack of 75 sheets of Skytone, a bone folder, a large and a mini hexagon template, a two-color pencil, and some clips to hold your pleats in place.
If you act quickly, you might get one of the 10 free packs!
You will also have a choice to add on the two intermediate sizes of hexagon templates, cutting tools, or a roll of butcher paper, while supplies last.
You might be wondering if your tessellation folding skills are up to the challenge of Tessellations by Tiles. If you're confident in finding the rhombus twist at a pleat overlap, you'll do great in TBT.
My two beginner courses - Basic Twists Bootcamp (BTB) and Tessellation Starter Sequence (SSeq) - are highly recommended before jumping into Tessellations by Tiles. SSeq is much more comprehensive than BTB and gives you all the skills you'll need to keep up with the folding in Tessellations by Tiles.
My Guarantee To You
This course has been thoroughly tested and my students reliably level up their tessellation folding and design skills - and other origami skills too.
I stand by the quality of my teaching and I'll help you to understand any parts that you struggle with.
All sales are final.
Alternative Learning Methods
So far, I've just been talking about Tessellations by Tiles. Let's look at some alternatives.
- Just go to a lot of conventions. There's maybe 4 classes on tessellations at a large convention, each taught by someone different with a different technique, focused on getting one pattern folded without any support for gridding. So, that comes out to 4-8 hours of tessellation learning but none focused on designing. Just to match the hours in TBT's core workshops, you'd need to go to 6-12 conventions, spending $6-12k on all expenses and taking 3-6 years. Of course, this is ignoring the fact that with different teachers it'll be a much more confusing process and that these workshops don't actually teach the abstractions that are key to design.
- Hire me for 1-on-1 tutoring. That'll take at least 45 hours at $100/hr, coming out to $4,500 and you won't even get to see what everyone else is working on!
- Learn like I did - take Erik Demaine's Geometric Folding Algorithms class at MIT, then reverse engineer ~200 tessellations from photos. You can find the lectures online but they're not specific to tessellations and have lots of high-level jargon. Reverse engineering that many tessellations left me with no social life for a year and still not nearly as much knowledge as I'll be teaching - a high price to pay!
Let's hear from my students:
Don't miss this opportunity to take your folding to a whole new level. It's a transformative experience, ALL your origami skills will be upgraded, how you look at diagrams will change. One of the side bonuses is when you look at Instagram (or other posted photos) you will start being able to figure out how the tessellations were done. When I first started doing origami, more than 25 years ago I remember the joy of learning a new fold and completing harder and harder models, TBT is just like that, starting anew and discovering new ways of folding and the thrill of accomplishing tessellations that seemed impossible. Tessellations are REALLY HARD to learn on your own, the few books that exist are confusing and really frustrating, TBT changes that, Madonna is a wonderful teacher: calm, patient and supremely supportive. She guides you into growth and gently leads you to discovery.
- Mary D.
I am finding .. I folded something just for fun, and I am looking at everything a little differently. I don’t just start folding - I’m looking: Can I see anything, does anything make sense, is there anything going on. ... it’s generalizing into how I go about folding. ... I taught [a figurative model] this week after looking at the diagram myself. It had a sink in it and some people had never done a sink before. It was smooth as silk because I understood the pattern - even though it was new to me, and that’s a big piece of what I was hoping to get from this experience, just looking at and understanding the diagram or the crease pattern better, rather than just bullying my way through. ... I’m really pleased with that and I want more.
I think it’s helped my overall folding and understanding of steps. I think I’ve gotten faster at creasing without crunching the paper and I’ve noticed, even like when [Madonna has] been helping me with stuff and it’ll be misshapen or off-center and I’ll say that’s good enough, I’ll keep going because what I’ll find is after a few more minutes that’ll all even out and I’ll do just fine. I’m not going to wait with the class to get it perfectly aligned. When I do the second or third one I can improve it at that point, when I’m working on my own.
- Nancy S.
Which course should you choose?
When I first taught Tessellations by Tiles, I thought that Tessellation Foundations - my free series on gridding an an introduction to each twist - was enough background information, but my students asked for more.
Then I made Basic Twists Bootcamp - a 10-lesson course on which tessellations to practice the 8 basic twists on and the most common structures those twists are used in.
My students said that Basic Twists Bootcamp was very helpful, but they still needed more practice before Tessellations by Tiles.
So now I've made the Tessellation Starter Sequence - a 50-lesson course that goes from gridding up to the beginning of Tessellations by Tiles, with a focus on making its students into independent folders who can fold from crease patterns.
If you breezed through Advent of Tess, you can safely skip to Tessellations by Tiles.
But for everyone else, I recommend starting with the Tessellation Starter Sequence or Basic Twists Bootcamp.
And even if you did breeze through Advent of Tess, the Tessellation Starter Sequence has square twists, right triangle twists, and folding with more repeats and weird grids that were not present in Advent of Tess!
So, which course should you choose?
If you're just getting into origami tessellations and want to take things slow, start with Basic Twists Bootcamp.
If you want to get the most thorough understanding possible of twist-based origami tessellations and you haven't folded many (or any) before, start with the Tessellation Starter Sequence.
If you struggle with tessellations and want to build up to designing your own, get the Tessellation Starter Sequence and Tessellations by Tiles. There's no better time to get both - when you buy them by May 26th you'll save $600 compared to buying them each separately!
If you're already comfortable folding twist-based tessellations and reverse engineering from photos, go ahead and get Tessellations by Tiles on its own.
If you are still wondering which course is right, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I'll help you figure it out!
Tessellations by Tiles
Tessellation Starter Sequence
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So, why offer this course? Why now?
I'm seeing tons of interest in folding tessellations, but very few people are designing their own patterns. The deeper structure is neglected, leaving folders to struggle with intricate crease patterns and difficult collapses. Since my designing method is all about the global structure of the pattern, I saw an opportunity to teach folders an easier way to fold and design tessellations.
However, I knew that this teaching would require a huge commitment of time and effort from me. That's why I'm requiring a commitment, a financial investment, from you in order to participate. This will allow me to continue to provide support for the course and work to make it even better.
I've been folding origami since 2004 and tessellations since 2017. I've been running my own origami business, Gathering Folds, full-time since early 2020. My main focus in Gathering Folds is tessellations - whether in paper or fabric - and how best to fold, photograph, and display them. Several of my pieces have been displayed in museums and galleries, including the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City, Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, Las Laguna gallery in Laguna Beach, California, and the 36th McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition. The expertise that I've built through these experiences has given me a unique perspective on folding tessellations - a perspective I hope to share with you!
So, Are You In?
You now have a choice - will you keep trying to learn the same way you have been and keep getting the same results, or will you step up and join me on the faster path to tessellation mastery?Join Now