Folding Puzzle Challenge

Imagine…100 paper folding puzzles!  How wonderful!

This was the gift a friend and colleague gave me last week called “Manifold.” He knew I loved Origami and would enjoy each folding puzzle as they became progressively more challenging.

Like a Rubik’s Cube, the goal appears simple enough; fold the paper so black squares appear all on one side with white ones on the other side. It helps to know basic Origami principles to find the solutions.

I’m on #27 now…and can hardly stop. The smooth, colorful papers feel fantastic under my fingers.  My brain is focused and I am so very calm, like meditation.  I’m in the Zen!

The puzzles pull me to them immediately on waking.  I fold on the commuter train to and from work, during meal times and before going to sleep…just about anytime!

Happiness indeed!

Wood outline of polar bear pieces.

Bear of the Year

“I have something for you,” a friend said to me.  “But, it is not Origami,” she added apologetically.

We were on the North Shore commuter rail.  The rickety old train was heading back to Boston’s North Station.   She had returned from a business trip in Scandinavia a week ago.

Wood outline of polar bear pieces.

Lovi polar bear shapes.

She handed me a little envelope with the writing “Lovi Polar Bear” in English and Finnish.  A delightful drawing of the animal was on the cover.   I vaguely remember having once folded a bear.

“It’s been more than six months since I did Origami,” I said and sighed.   I thanked my friend and carefully put the gift into a knapsack.

When I got home, I was curious and opened the envelope.  Inside was a thin piece of birch plywood with six shapes.  Each form had to be popped-out from the background.  There was a minimal diagram for assembly.

Lovi Polar Bear Assembled

Lovi Polar Bear Assembled

“Ha, a little puzzle…just like Origami,” I thought.

Indeed it was a bit challenging figuring out how the six pieces fit together.  After about an hour, I finally got it!  The polar bear emerged.  I loved it, as did everyone else who saw the finished work!

I thanked my friend profusely electronically including a photo of the finished model.

“What fun…I must return to folding,” I promised myself.

Crane and Bear

Crane and Bear



OrigamiUSA 2018, Day 3

The third and final day of the OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention was all about experimentation and sharing information.

Origami Fish 6.25.2018

Origami Fish 6.25.2018

The three sessions I attended were:  Viviane’s excellent class on “Designing a Figurative Model” and the challenging “Corrugated Cardboard Crane” taught by Jeannine.

I also attended “Taro’s Origami Studio Workshop” — about the history of this workshop and the commissions they have received in the past.

Why was Viviane’s class so good?  Because we were each encouraged to design an original Origami model.  I was amazed by the number of students in the packed class who began playing with paper and suddenly produced an original design.

Origami Butterflies 6.25.2018

Origami Butterflies 6.25.2018

It was both surprising and hilarious as Viviane ran around the classroom photographing the newly “birthed” Origami model – some more abstract than others.  What a hoot!

I dare not show you the awful crane I folded from the corrugated cardboard in the next class.

This was very difficult to do as one needed accuracy and strength to “brute-force-bend” the cardboard into a crane.  My muscles were very sore after this class.

OrigamiUSA Cake 6.25.2018

OrigamiUSA Cake 6.25.2018

While waiting for the evening banquet closing the OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention, someone showed me how to fold a fish and gave me a sticky, googly toy eye to put on the model.

Another folder showed me how to create simple orange butterflies.

At least I folded something successful on the last day of the Convention!

The banquet was quite tasty.  For dessert, a delicious cake, decorated with the Convention logo, was practically inhaled by the diners.

Sunset 6.25.2018

Sunset 6.25.2018

At one point, we all ran to the windows  to see the gorgeous sunset on the city.

Towards the end of the dinner, attendees, such as myself, were instructed to tear off their “First Timer” ribbons which hung from our convention badges.

We were now official OrigamiUSA Conventioners!


OrigamiUSA 2018, Day 2

This second day of the OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention at St. John’s University, Queens, NY, was even more exciting than the first day.

OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention Pin

OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention Pin

Our registration bags held reams of beautiful papers to fold during the convention.  Attendees folded everywhere: in the Hospitality Center, in our dorm rooms, and of course, in folding classes.  We were also given a terrific book with dozens of designs to fold.

My folding classes this day were an abstract Pig and a Wolf, an Eiffel Star and an Untitled Jeweled  Star.   I had another class but missed it because I returned to view the exhibits and browse through the Origami store.  When I looked at the time, I realized the class was almost over.

Regarding the Pig and Wolf designs: every fold only suggested the form of the animal.  It was a truly amazing design.  The teacher helped me a great deal as the turn or twist of the paper just so, animated the figure.

The Eiffel Flower design had a pink and light green whirling pattern..lots of pieces to fold and fit together.  The same could be said of the Untitled Jeweled Star. I’m going to have to work on accuracy of the folds since these designs are unforgiving.

A long walk around St. John’s University topped off the evening after dinner.  I did not have the energy to watch the over-sized folding where teams competed to fold a life-size Origami model.  I heard it was lots of fun the next day.

OrigamiUSA 2018, Day 1

Imagine hundreds of Origami designs covering rows and rows of tables:  animals, insects, people, flowers, plants, and modular forms.  This was the incredible exhibit at the OrigamiUSA 2018  Convention – Day 1, St. John’s University, Queens, New York.


I gasped, oohed and aahed in awe of the dedicated Origami design creators’ and folders’  works in the exhibition.  Multiple times throughout the day, I stopped by the exhibit to study the folding techniques or just to admire the works.


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The rest of the day was taken up with Origami classes.  To mention a few of my favorite classes:  folding a Kami Sleeve was fun.  The Kami Sleeve was designed to protect Origami papers.  The two-sided basket I folded for candies and what-nots was quite delicate.  I loved the multi-colored, eight crane modular mandala I folded which was  taught by a 17-year-old!

Origami Snowflake 6.23.2018

Origami Snowflake 6.23.2018

All of these Origami classes required quite a bit of concentration and dexterity…even if I was only a “low-intermediate” folder.

Since I was a “First Timer,” many people gifted me models they had made to swap with other folders.  I was surprised and delighted with these unexpected presents.

Jean, an Origami expert, teacher and OrigamiUSA Convention attendee for the past thirty-three years gave me a magnificent snowflake she folded.

I will always treasure this beautifully folded work!



OrigamiUSA 2018, Anticipation

Paper folders everywhere!  Yes, the OrigamiUSA 2018 Convention began yesterday.  I was so excited to travel to St. John’s University in Queens, New York for my first Origami Convention.

Before going to the Convention, I resolved to get together with a number of friends in New York City.  I traveled by bus from Boston’s South Station to New York City’s Port Authority.

On arrival, I took the shuttle to the East Side and lunched with a colleague, whom at I had not seen in years, at Grand Central’s Oyster Bar.

Oyster Bar, Grand Central, NYC - 6.21.2018

Oyster Bar, Grand Central, NYC  6.21.2018

I’ve always loved the setting of the Oyster Bar with its scrumptious sea food, Guastivano tiled ceiling and festive lighting.

Then, I took the shuttle back to the West Side and checked into the economical, spartan but clean and safe West Side YMCA.  Together with a college friend, who was also visiting New York, we strolled across Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a special exhibit of Mexican Art, returning to the West Side to dine at the excellent Jazz supper club, Smoke.  A perfect day!

The next morning, I checked out of the Y and met my mentor from Columbia University days at a French bistro for a delicious brunch.  We caught up on our lives and laughed at past situations we experienced while catalogers in the basement of the University’s Butler Library.

St. John's University Gate, Queens, NY - 6.21.2018

St. John’s University Gate, Queens, NY 6.21.2018

By noon, I was on my way to Queens and St. John’s University.  Once there, I chuckled to see visitor golf carts shuttling Origami convention folks around campus just as our convention materials had promised.

Dorms were at one end of the campus, hospitality center with folding classrooms in another building and the Origami exhibition with sales in yet another building.  It was a bit if a hike getting from place to place.

Once settled into the monastic dorm room, I met up with some folders and walked to the hospitality center to register.  Everyone was folding something at large tables after they registered and eagerly chatting with one another.

Convention 2018 Badge

Convention 2018 Badge

The attendees were so warm and receptive!  Anticipation was growing, as I perused through the registration materials and introduced myself to other folders as a “First Timer” at the convention.

One folder introduced herself and immediately showed me how to fold a flapping bird.

Flapping Bird 6.21.2018

Origami Flapping Bird 6.21.2018


I wondered if I would ever be good enough to design my own Origami models and exhibit them.

A short walk to the dining hall for the evening meal, then back to the dorms to get ready for bed.

I eagerly looked forward to the folding classes tomorrow as I drifted off to sleep.



A Graceful Swan

The graceful swan appeared on Jerry’s Pond about a month ago.  That morning,


Swan near Jerry’s Pond

I watched as it glided silently through the water and slid onto the bank.

Then, the swan struck a pose so passersby could admire its beautiful feathers.

It seemed the ducks and  Canadian geese gave it a wide berth.

Looking for Origami swans online, I was surprised to find many different designs.

An easy set of Origami swan instructions, I mangled with a cartoonish elongated necked bird and hastily disposed of the paper creature.


Origami Swan 5.20.2018

Here is the result of another swan design which turned out rather clunky and almost cubist in shape.

Oh well…what can one expect…it has been ages since I folded.

I need a more work-life balance so I too can swim calmly  through the waters of life devoting more time to  learning Origami.