The Joy of Folding (essay)

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The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » January 19th, 2019, 10:22 pm

The following is an essay I wrote for my english class. Hope you like it :D

Prompt (which happens to be a college application question): Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

“Here’s the last fold, Timmy,” I tell the little kid as I demonstrate. “Perfect! Your plane is ready to fly
now!” I watch with a grin as it leaps from his hand, the boy shouting with excitement.

I think back to the time when I was just like Timmy, when I was learning how to fold paper. I remember making planes like this one with my friends every morning before school. We took turns flinging it through the skies, chasing it as it flew in delightfully erratic loops and circles, our spirits soaring along with plane. My parents had also bought me an origami book that included instructions for a uniquely beautiful dragon. It seemed so real, both cute and menacing at the same time! I folded that dragon possibly over 30 times that year. Though I was young and imprecise, each dragon seemed lively and spirited.

My origami changed when I received another book, this time a hefty 500 page tome about the process of designing origami models from scratch. I was only 10 years old, but was determined to read it cover to cover. I had just opened up a beautiful new world that I would remain captivated in for a long time.

Somehow, I learned all of the secrets that I needed to know. I learned ways to synthesize any possible shape from a square. I learned how to divide paper into mathematically exact fractions. I even learned how to fold a model just by looking at the pattern of creases when it was unfolded. Armed with this new knowledge, I aspired to go create the most complex figures I could. So for a few years, the ever more complex models invaded my desk: a cherry tree with over 50 blossoms, a squid with a whale in its arms, even a dragon with nine heads.

But as I was flipping through an old origami book one day, I noticed an interesting passage. It described the famous grandmaster Akira Yoshizawa and included diagrams for some of his designs. I was struck by their lack of complexity. What made them so famous?

As I continued through the book, I began to see his creations with new eyes. Every wrinkle, every crease, every rumple all added up to make the model nothing less than a living creature. He created bunnies leaping with joy, turtles swimming in peace, crabs crawling off the page. They were his “beloved children.”

I had gotten it right when I was a kid! I had found joy in folding those little dragons again and again, and seeing how each one was different. Special. Alive. I had captured their spirits, their personalities, their beauty, even with young but loving hands, the ways Yoshizawa believed. I had truly found exhilaration in watching a plane, created from my own fingers, swoop and soar through the sky.

But where was the exhilaration of dividing a paper into perfect thirteenths? Where was the joy of creating a lifeless mannequin, no matter how detailed, that has been measured and restrained to be identical to every other copy? I had drained the life and joy of origami by turning them from lively, spirited creatures into mere math problems. It doesn’t really matter that a dragon has 9 heads instead of 1, or 5 claws instead of 3. It doesn’t matter that a squid and whale are folded from the same square instead of two. True origami should really be about creating the soul, the spirit, the essence of the animal in a sheet of paper.

Although I still fold my complex designs, I frequently enjoy folding simple planes and flying them around the park, like a child. And I show origami to my little friends like Timmy, so they too can find the joy of folding.
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Re: The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby Baltorigamist » January 19th, 2019, 11:58 pm

Overall, I like it. My only critique would be that some of the word choice is a little awkward (e.g., "volume" might be a better word than "tome" for the context), but it's really good otherwise. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby Grace159 » January 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm

It's a wonderful essay that takes us on a journey of exploration and growth. It conveys a mature attitude and desire to learn. I think it will do well for its intended purpose. The only words I would change are the tome as pointed out previously and I would give a relationship rather than a generic 'little friend' for example my nephew Timmy or my seven year old neighbor.

Only because the famous movie quote 'Say hello to my little friend' just springs to my mind and detracts from the message you are presenting.

Good luck on your applications.

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Re: The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » January 20th, 2019, 11:43 pm

Thank you for the feedback!

By the way, I forgot to mention that the dragon I folded as a kid was the Eastern Dragon in Jun Maekawa's book Genuine Origami, and the "500 page tome" was obviously Origami Design Secrets.
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Re: The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby Gerardo » January 21st, 2019, 8:24 pm

A very delightful essay. It illustrates very well the general picture of your journey. Congratulations :)!
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Re: The Joy of Folding (essay)

Postby swamy » February 7th, 2019, 9:44 am

Nicely written write up.

In my case, I started my journey in origami in school days with simple folds for models like ship which I remember very much. It was casual and curiosity driven. Later in 2010, I started origami seriously with orgami envelopes and letterfolds which has simple folds. With time simple folds has resulted in many wonderful models in envelopes and letterfolds. Also envelope and letterfolds with simple folds has given wide oppurtunity to explore with geometry.

Still continue to fold envelopes and letterfolds with simple folds.

Here is my creation link: ... 3163568308

SIMPLICITY and CURIOSITY is key to my origami.

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