burning kusudama

Sometimes, after I make origami, I decide I need to dispose of it for various reasons. Since individual pieces often require a few hours of work, it seems inadequate to just throw them in the recycling bin. So, after getting sick of looking at the first kusudama I'd ever made, and feeling a bit pyromaniacal, I took the kusudama to the grills in the courtyard of my dorm, and lit it on fire. The results were quite beautiful: the flames spread from the inside for a few seconds and the kusudama just glowed orange--brighter in the thinner spots--until eventually the flame spread to the outside. As it burned, it retained its shape, and the different layers of paper remained intact after sections collapsed; the embers burned in different patterns in the different layers. The collapse continued until only a piece of the top section remained, on top of a bed of glowing flakes. Finally, the embers died out, and either fell through the grill or were blown off in the wind.

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The next time I had kusudama to destroy, it was one that I had been attempting to make out of acetate, for use in my kusudama lamp. The acetate, however, would not hold creases tight enough for the design I was attempting (the same one as the grey, green, and blues/purple star designs seen on my kusudama page), and I wasted almost an entire 2" by 9" roll, not to mention many hours, on the design. I also tried to make the design out of a thicker velum, with proved to be too brittle to take the stress that occurs inside of the piece. So, off to the grill I went, both to give them a fitting send-off, and to relieve some stress. The acetate proved to be quite flammable (it is all cellulose, after all), and went up entirely in a matter of seconds, melting quite dramatically in the process. Unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures fast enough or sharp enough without the flash to do it justice: the flames started out around 3 feet high, and there was nothing left but goo melted to the grill in a minute. After the acetate, I burned the vellum piece, which, due to the glue-like stuff it's impregnated with, burned with large, bright, blue-based flames (it's synthetic vellum, not the stuff made of animal skin). I cleaned the grill of afterward, of course.

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