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  • pridehsmith

A Love of Origami

I'm not sure what age I was, but I know I was still in Colorado. Somewhere between the age of 6 and 8 years old. During that time of my life, we had two missionaries come to our town from Hawaii. They were both young men and so full of energy. I remember hearing their names and thinking they were the coolest guys in the world. Elder Sua and Elder Tao. They would visit our home often and I remember them being so kind.

One day when they were visiting, one of them sat down next to me in our small dining area and folded me a Japanese origami crane out of paper. I clearly remember him pulling on the tail and the wings flapped. I thought for sure in that moment that he was a magician. My face lit up and I immediately wanted to learn how he had done that. Kindly over the next few times that they visited our home, he taught me how to fold that crane out of paper. I'm sure he knew how happy I was that he taught me, but I don't think he would have ever guessed that his teaching me that one simple piece of origami would lead me down a lifelong path of loving origami and paper engineering.

From that day forward I would ask for origami paper as a gift every chance I got. Sometimes I got it and most of the time I didn't. The nice thing was, I could use my homework assignments, scratch paper, newspaper or anything else I could cut into a square when I didn't have a pretty piece of origami paper to use. When I did get origami paper though, I was meticulous with how I folded it. I wanted every angle to be perfect. I spent hours and hours with my nose buried in origami books that I checked out from the library. The more folds it had, the better. At first, it was cumbersome, but as time went on, I could fold anything in a book.

My love of origami was a huge inspiration in the work that I have done as a graphic designer. Learning how to manipulate paper at such a young age helped me engineer all kinds of products and designs later on. That single act inspired my product packaging, fantastic paper airplanes, paper toys, pop up book designs and so much more. I try to always carry on that tradition that he taught me. Every time I am around little kids, I fold them a frog or a bird or a flower and if they ask, I'll teach them how to make them as well. Hopefully I have been someone's inspiration like that young man was for me.

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