To Fold Paper – An Origami Documentary with Quentin Trollip

To Fold Paper – An Origami Documentary with Quentin Trollip


If I for a split second show you a photo of
an elephant, and I ask you “What did you see?”. You’ll probably say “Well… I saw an elephant”. But then I’ll say “What feature of this elephant
was most attractive to you? Was it the long trunk? The big tusks? The big ears? What was the first thing you saw?” My inspiration comes from that. I would look
at a subject and I would see one part of it. So the trunk would be the starting off point,
and then I will build the rest of the design around that. The word origami is a Japanese word that’s
made out of two words: Oru and Kami. Oru means “to fold” and Kami means “paper”. So essentially origami means “To Fold Paper”. The type of origami that I practice is a complex
type of origami. I always start off with one square piece of
paper and only by folding it do I get to the final result. I got into origami when I was maybe seven
years old. My Dad bought me a book about origami. I was hooked on that almost immediately. This was way back in South Africa before the
days of internet. You go to the library and there may be one,
maybe two books available on origami. In around 1995, we got internet at home. I saw on Amazon there was hundreds of books. But it didn’t take long… I could pretty much fold most things on my
first go without struggling. And that’s when I thought I think the next step is
to start designing my own origami. A few years later when I was about 25 or 26,
when I went to England, it was the first time that I actually ever met anybody else that
had done origami. My whole life I was just a lone folder if
you want to call it that. I was a convention in England and I showed
some of my designs to some people and they thought I had a bit of a talent. And that’s when I met some publishers and
the idea of publishing a book on my designs because a reality. But I’m sure that if you asked any origami
enthusiast, they may know who I am. Most people that do origami they just get
instructions and they fold. They get a lot of joy out of the activity
of folding. Few people do design. And very few people do complex origami design. People say to me “how do you design the stuff
that you make?”. The initial steps will all probably be based
on geometry. But then at the end, they’ll be a lot of free
folding involved where you’re not necessarily lining up edge A with edge B. You need to
use intuition to get to the result you want to get to, Origami has evolved. Initially the piece of origami mainly conformed
to the silhouette. Nowadays that is not enough. You want to do as much with that design as
possible. Can you add facial features? Can you add teeth? Can you use the color of the subject to your
advantage? For instance, a panda bear will not be a panda
bear if it’s not black and white. A tiger will not be a tiger, it could be a
mountain lion, if it does not have the orange and black stripes. And the only way to do that is to start off
with a paper that is one color on one side and a different color on the other side. To use the panda as an example again, you
will use a piece of paper that is black on one side, white on the other side, and then
you have to manipulate this piece of paper so that the colors end up where they need
to be. Because otherwise it would not be a true representation
of a panda. I think in any type of art it’s important
to try and create your own style. You don’t want to mimic something that somebody
else is already doing. I do not really fold from diagrams anymore,
so the only influence in my origami is really myself. I mainly get inspired by nature. So I enjoy folding mainly animals. Mainly mammals. The thing that I like about mammals is that
they’ve got different facial expressions, they’ve got different personalities, body
positions. If you actually go and study your subject,
you can learn slight little differences that you can apply into your design to distinguish
one bear from another bear. That’s what I tried to do with this grizzly
bear. Focus on the massive head and the detail of
the head. And the big lower jaw. And the shoulder hump, which is something
that makes it a grizzly bear instead of just a bear. The thing about origami is like many things
where you’re creating something, it’s kind of therapeutic almost. In the case of origami, you’re creating something
almost out of nothing. Something as simple as a square piece of paper
can become almost anything in your hands. It’s just something you do for yourself.

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