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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Extreme Origami!

By Kim Bogosian

Kira Wallisch leads a children's origami class - Photo Credit Kira Wallisch

Rutherford resident Kira Wallisch is excited to share her art through a series of workshops at the Rutherford Public Library. She has practiced origami for over 25 years and has most recently been challenging herself by making extreme miniatures.

Her classes are open to people of all skill levels and she will begin classes for children ages 5-11 on March 2nd (registration required).

Follow her on Instagram @kiraskranes and watch her continue to challenge herself with increasingly difficult and extraordinary pieces.

Miniature crane in a bottle on a quarter for scale - Photo Credit Kira Wallisch

TIR: How long have you been practicing origami?

KW: I started folding origami as a child, so for approximately 25 years.

TIR: What drew you to origami?

KW: I have always liked the idea that a plain piece of paper can be transformed into a three dimensional recognizable object, and that this transformation can occur solely through how it’s folded.

TIR: What's the most difficult piece of origami you've made?

KW: I enjoy making extremely miniature origami with intermediate models. The models themselves are not difficult, but making origami the size of a finger tip can be a challenge. In terms of the most complex “regular sized” model I’ve made - there’s a complex origami cat that I learned to fold through watching YouTube videos.

A single origami crane resting on the artist’s pinky fingernail for scale. The crane is a few millimeters wide. - Photo Credit Kira Wallisch

TIR: What are the challenges with origami?

KW: With my art particularly, the challenges are often seeing it, which is why I started making multi piece sculptures out of individual miniature origami works. My goal is to display my miniature origami in ways that are highly visible. In general, losing tiny individual origami pieces is an unintended consequence of my art. Unfortunately there have been times that I have folded a perfect piece only to have it fall on the ground and not be able to find it, as my miniature pieces are often only a few millimeters wide.

One of the artist's “Crane Planes.” A Crane Plane starts with one large crane and then two additional cranes each 1/4 the size of the original crane are placed on the larger crane’s wings. This pattern repeats itself growing by powers of two, until the final layer which is often 16 cranes long. - Photo Credit Kira Wallisch

TIR: Where do you see your art going in the future?

KW: I would like to continue to find ways to display my miniature origami in ways that are interesting (and visible) to others. This includes making more multi piece origami sculptures like the “Bonsaigami” which generally consists of 20 origami cranes, each under a centimeter tall, attached to copper wire to form a tree shape. I have also created a “Crane Plane” which is often a 31 piece origami crane with cranes 1/4 the size of the proceeding crane resting on the larger crane’s wing, until the final 16 crane layer. While traditionally I have made Crane Planes solely out of origami paper, I would like to add a wire sculpture component to this work within the near future. I would also like to creature more “checkerboard” design pieces where individual origami rabbits (or other animals) rest on contrasting checker squares of the same size as the origami square used to fold it. I am exploring ways to make the art more commercially available and also I am exploring different venues to display my art.

Finally, I would like to continue to make signal piece miniature origami animals that fit inside tiny glass bottles.

Three “Bonsaigami” Trees resting on the artist’s hand for scale. Each tree has approximately 20 hand folded origami cranes to form the leaves. The individual cranes are each a few millimeters wide. The tree base is sculpted from copper wire.- Photo Credit Kira Wallisch

TIR: Tell us about the classes you're teaching at the library.

KW: I have been running an adult origami group at the library that meets the last Monday of the month from 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm. All skill levels are welcome to attend. I often tie the project we make to seasonal themes (like a turkey or a heart).

In addition I am starting what I hope will be a bi-monthly children’s group at the library for children ages 5-12. The first class meets on Saturday, March 2nd from 1 pm - 2 pm.

I anticipate that this will be a beginner skill level group, but will modify the projects based on who actually attends and what participants interests are.

TIR: How have the classes been received so far?

KW: I think the adult group has gone very well. Each month we have a mix of people who have attended before as well as new people. Average attendance is from 5-10 people per class.

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