Packing & shipping

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Because some of the miniature origami pieces I create have very delicate points and tips to them (think crane head and tip of tail and frog’s feet) I needed to figure out a way to protect them during shipping once I begin selling them from my Etsy shop.

Then I discovered this Paper Kawaii tutorial that shows how to make a menko, which is a traditional origami fold that can best be described as a very ornate envelope, of sorts. My tinygami pieces will be tucked safely inside the menko then placed in a regular letter envelope to ship them to their new homes.

I’ll be individually photographing each of the above ensembles and will be listing them on Etsy in the coming days.

Very excited to be moving forward! 2016 is going to be a great year 🙂

Adding author to my resume :)

tinygami-origami-book-publishing-contract

Sometimes wonderful things happen. This was me sending back a book contract/agreement last Friday after receiving an email a couple of months ago inviting me to be a co-contributor to a new origami book coming out this fall by Walter Foster Publishing.

You may recall reading Walter Foster’s name in an old post on my former blog when I described how as a child (stricken with a severe case of model horse-itis) his book about how to draw horses was the beginning and end of my universe as a fledging, line drawing artist.

I will keep you posted as much as I’m allowed to until the book comes out.

It’s quite exciting (and a relief) to see my career as a working artist gain traction 🙂 My plan is to keep working hard so that more opportunities like this will present themselves.

Origami OCD

I used to tell people (and I sincerely believed) that I had some bizarre form of what I could only call Creative OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). What else could explain why I would and could fold thousands upon thousands of origami cranes? I never thought about it hard enough to make the distinction if (for me) committing myself to origami was a decision or a compulsion. I was just grateful that if I did have OCD my energy was channeled into something with an end result that was beautiful.

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Current set of 1000 origami cranes I’m working on for ArtPrize 2016.

Though I’ve read books and articles about mindfulness and meditation I can’t say I’m one who has ever fully embraced the idea of the act of setting aside time to meditate as a normal part of my day to day life. I understand that the goal is to achieve a state of consciousness in which one is aware of but not connected to one’s own thoughts, feelings, and/or self. It’s a type of clarity that is created when you are able to let go of your “self” and observe rather than get caught up in what is happening in your own mind.

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This 5/16″ (.793 cm)  high crane is still larger than the 1/4″ cranes I make.

Folding has never made me feel frustrated or impatient, quite the opposite actually. When I fold I feel nothing but calmness. Because the precision of each fold is the most important thing, even when folding the most simple of models, it creates a mental space that requires a single focus. The byproduct of this clarity is that all other thoughts (in my head) and distractions (in the environment around me) are left unnoticed.

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Batch folding the first four steps of making paper cranes.

I do recall it was years and years ago (well over a decade) that a person who saw a set of my tiny cranes for the first time and stated: “I’ve heard of working meditation before but never understood what that meant until now.” With that a new concept was introduced to me that the focus, time, patience, precision, and repetitiveness of folding tiny cranes was creating a benefit I wasn’t appreciating beyond the finished cranes themselves. Had I in fact been meditating for years without realizing it?

Two blogs instead of one

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You may or may not know that before I started the Tinygami.wordpress.com blog I used to blog over on Blogspot (aka Blogger).

My first blog was named “The Flirty Blog” after my bridal accessory business The Flirty Bride. I began posting there in 2006. Because I was leaving California in 2014 and intended to continue posting about travel and tourism I changed the name to I Found the Place. Instead, I didn’t post much at all then started the new blog instead. It’s taken a year for me to realize how much I really missed my old blog. It just wasn’t the same posting my lifestyle content here on the Tinygami blog since my art has become more than a hobby. Because of this I’ve made a somewhat drastic change…

I started posting in my original blog again just a few days ago. It was a first step. The next was to move the lifestyle content I’d posted here, over to I Found the Place. I decided the best way to do it was to copy the posts over there but leave the lead image in the original post here with a direct link to the post’s new location. My apologies if that’s confusing but from here on out I will post all art content directly into the Tinygami blog and all lifestyle content into I Found the Place.

I even updated the banner to include an origami crane and Michigan’s mitten and am consolidating the older wedding and California categories over on the sidebar to make more room for my new Michigan posts 🙂

There’s a subscription button to Feedburner just under my bio picture in the righthand sidebar. You can receive email updates every time a new post is added to the blog if you don’t want to have to go check each week.

Here’s hoping I found the solution to how to feel more motivated to blog again!

DIY Origami Paper Cup Tutorial

When I was asked to teach an origami class to preschoolers I instantly recalled the paper cup as being one of the first things I learned to make as a child. It’s both easy to make and functional. You can put things inside of it!

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It’s what I call a forgiving fold meaning everything doesn’t have to be absolutely precise to create a successful cup. Made from a small piece of paper (we used 6″ sheets of origami paper) the cup becomes a container. Made from a large piece (like a newspaper) it can be a hat! One of the things I love most about origami is that you can use any kind of paper, not just origami paper. Some to try would include:

  1. Note paper
  2. Gift wrapping paper
  3. Newspaper
  4. Magazine pages
  5. Scrapbooking paper
  6. Wax paper
  7. Kitchen baking parchment
  8. Tissue paper
  9. Tracing paper
  10. Gum and candy wrappers

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1. Begin with a square piece of paper. Fold in half from corner to corner to create a large triangle.

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2. Now fold the right side of the triangle along the dotted line the goal being to keep the top edge of the section parallel to the bottom. Set crease. See below.

origami-cup-tutorial-33. Now do the same with the left section folding it across and over the right section you just folded. Set crease.

origami-cup-tutorial-44. This next step you can fold both of the upper flaps at once or do them individually as you fold and tuck them into the cup. Either way you fold them against the top of the cup along the dashed line. I prefer to do that individually which is how they are pictured in the tutorial.

origami-cup-tutorial-55. This is a guideline fold to make it easier to tuck the flap into the cup so once you fold the first flap down, immediately unfold it back to its original position. (I used a more decorative origami paper with one printed side and a solid color side instead of the more typical colored on one side and plain white on the other.)

origami-cup-tutorial-66. It should look like this.

origami-cup-tutorial-77. Now you tuck the flap into the front pocket of the cup. This would be the left front section.

origami-cup-tutorial-88. Now fold the remaining flap forward and up again like the last one if you didn’t do them both at the same time and tuck it into the large opening to form the cup.

origami-cup-tutorial-99. That’s it! You’re done! Congratulations and thank you for visiting the Tinygami blog 🙂

 

DIY Origami Swan Tutorial

Just the other day I did something fun and new. I taught tiny humans how to fold paper and make origami models. There were two classes consisting of 10 preschoolers each. I hadn’t ever taught origami to anyone so young before so I wasn’t sure how things would go. I did a lot of research to look for simple, beginner level, origami model instructions that 4 and 5 year olds would be able to master in 15 minutes. LOL. I wanted two so that if they breezed through the first one we could try a second.

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All I can say is they were ADORABLE! I don’t usually spend time around children this young, especially so many at one time, so it was a lot of fun. First of all, their little voices are so cute. They were happy, curious, and very creative. When I asked if anyone had any questions after showing them my work no one said anything. All of a sudden one little girl walked up to me and hugged me *melt*. SO SWEET!

I laid out 6″ squares of origami paper for them and invited them to each choose two they liked. Fortunately there were plenty of grown ups on the field trip with the class so they were my impromptu assistants.

The kids really loved making the swan. I made this photo tutorial so that if they wanted to continue they would have a reference guide to fall back on.

You can try to if you want to just for fun. You can use any size and really, any kind of paper keeping in mind that thicker papers are harder to fold.

origami-swan-instructions-31. Begin with a square piece of paper. Here I’m using a 3″ square of origami paper.
2. Face front (printed) side of paper towards tabletop and fold in half at center to create a guideline fold.
3. You’ll end up with a large triangle shape. Then unfold.

origami-swan-instructions-44. You’ll use the center crease as a guideline and fold the right outer edge towards the center guideline.

origami-swan-instructions-55. Now fold the let outer edge towards the center as well.

origami-swan-instructions-66. Your model should look like this.

origami-swan-instructions-77. Turn over your model and repeat the same two folds to narrow the shape. Pictured above fold the right outer edge towards the center line.

origami-swan-instructions-88. Now fold the left outer edge towards the center.

origami-swan-instructions-99. Your model should look like this. Note the dashed line at the center of the model. Fold the model in half taking the point on the bottom and folding up to the point at the top.

origami-swan-instructions-1010. After the model is folded in half it’s time to fold the head. I like to visualize an imaginary line from the edge of the top corner of the white triangle (the backside of the paper) and fold the paper downward.

origami-swan-instructions-1111. This is what your model should look like. Layered upon itself accordion style is the body, then neck, then head.

origami-swan-instructions-1212. Now lift up the model and holding it accordioned  together you’ll fold the model in half following the arrows so the left edge and right edge meet together creating the base of the swan.

origami-swan-instructions-1313. Hold the base with your fingers and use your other hand to gently pull the neck upright away from the body.

Folding Tip: Do not set the neck at a 90º angle from the base, it will be top heavy and have a tendency to tip over. If you fold the neck just before it reaches 90º(pictured with the dotted line at the back of the neck above) or even sooner the weight of the head and neck will rest over the body and will be more stable. Aim for 11 O’Clock or just a bit more instead of all the way to 12 O’Clock. 

origami-swan-instructions-1414. Once the neck is pulled upright be sure to pinch along the base to set the fold in place.

15. Then use the same process holding the neck with one hand and using your other hand to lift the head away from the neck.

origami-swan-instructions-1516. Then pinch the top of the head to hold the fold in place.

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17. Gently push the body apart to create the base the swan sits upon and set on tabletop.

18. Woo hoo! You just made an origami swan!

LowellArts! Artprize: Second Glance 2016

If you missed seeing my miniature origami cranes at ArtPrize 2015 this is your second chance at the “ArtPrize: Second Glance” exhibit currently hosted at LowellArts! King Gallery in downtown Lowell, MI. Exhibition details are at the end of the post.

I have to say I’m very happy and honored to have been invited to exhibit “4000 Culture Cranes,” particularly in a gallery.

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Over the years in California I’d found that there was a certain pretentiousness when some “art establishment” people saw both pictures of my work and my work in person. “Oh, this isn’t fine art” more than one told me, “This is crafts.” Um, ok, but people like it no matter what you label it, I’d think to myself. One person in particular immediately undervalued my work to the point I didn’t want to show it to anyone professional ever again saying in his expert opinion it was worth around $75.00. I’d like to say what they thought didn’t matter to me, but it did. It caused me to think my work didn’t belong in a gallery, that it wasn’t good enough.

Happily, thanks to my two ArtPrize experiences and LowellArts! that misimpression is gone for good. I guess the lesson I’ve learned is to believe in myself even when others don’t. My art is made with so much love and is such a personal part of me, a reflection of who I am, that I’ll admit I’m much more thinned skinned about it than most other aspects about my “self” when it comes to criticism. I know it’s not for everyone, and there will always be critics but (for me) the good news is they will no longer stop me from putting my work out there. I owe those who love and believe in my work (and me) a huge THANK YOU for that.

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I even had custom acrylic display cases made to protect the cranes from dust and damage. I was particularly pleased with how they look in the gallery.

This is just part of the show description on the LowellArts! website:

“This is the third exhibition of this kind to be held at LowellArts!, and gives a great snapshot of artwork by local artists. Artists featured are from: Kentwood, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Ada, Lowell, Rockford, Comstock Park, and Greenville. 

This is an invitational exhibition, and artists were selected by the LowellArts! Gallery Committee. The committee reviewed over 300 pieces of artwork by artists who fit the geographical criteria – both by visiting works in person during ArtPrize and by utilizing the ArtPrize website.

This is a wonderful opportunity to re-visit artwork, or see for the first time artwork by local artists who worked hard to be prepare for and be a part of ArtPrize 2015. Many great pieces were tucked away in venues less visited by ArtPrize crowds. Or, in hustle and bustle of the event, other great pieces were not admired as long as they should.”

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The 21 featured Artists include: Ann Dyer, Charles Smalligan, Colleen Kole, Colleen O’Rourke, Frank Speyers, Gerard Wood, Jay Constantine, Jeffrey Jan Lende, Jill Risner, Leanne McGann, Margaret Farrell, Maria Joy Lemon, MaryJo Fox Fell, Monica Stegeman, Ron Lichtenstein, Ross Mccrory, Sarah Knill, Stacie Tamaki, Stone Peng, Susan L Anderson.

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ArtPrize: A Second Glance – website
Jan 9-Feb 15, 2016
The LowellArts! King Gallery
149 S. Hudson Street
lowell, MI 49331 – map
Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM