Packing & shipping

tinygami-miniature-origami-stacie-tamaki

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.

origami-cranes-bonsai-theme-artprize-2016
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.

tinygami-miniature-origami-paper-crane
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!

origami-cup-tutorial-10

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

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

origami-cup-tutorial-2
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.

origami-swan-instructions-2-stacie-tamaki

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.

origami-swan-instructions-16

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.

lowell-art-king-gallery-artprize-show

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.

artprize-second-glance-2016-lowell-mi

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.”

lowellarts!-artprize-second-glance-2016

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.

lowellarts!-king-gallery-lowell-michigan

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

 

My new origami website on Squarespace

tinygami-new-website-homepage

My 10 year love affair with Dreamweaver is over. After the past year of nothing but problems since switching to the Creative Cloud* version of the program I realized I’d spent too much time on the phone with Adobe support technicians who whispered sweet nothings in my ear… Meaning suggestions of things to do, not do, delete, reinstall, troubleshoot, etc. only to be told in the end there are problems and someday they may be able to fix them. I believed them at first because love will blind you that way. I probably even believed them the second time they told me the same things because I wanted to believe them. But a year later and having spent too many wasted hours, sleepless nights, and force quitting endless crashes to occasionally be able to update an existing page I finally realized: This is never going to get better. It was time to accept this truth and move on.

So, here I am with a new Tinygami.com website for the new year! Thank you to my friend Dana for telling me about Squarespace.com. I used their click and build platform and was able to move my origami site (now full of new and project descriptions) to its new home in less than 24 hours. Awesome! Even better is the site built on Squarespace converts for mobile devices. My old site didn’t do that. StacieTamaki.com is still up as my  legacy site but if things continue to go well here I’ll be moving it to Squarespace as well.

*While I have nothing but contempt for Dreamweaver CC I do like the rest of what I’ve used on CC so far. Particularly Photoshop. I still love Photoshop. Just wanted to make sure people understood I don’t have an issue with the entire platform, just one of the two programs I used the most frequently. 

Tinygami Origami FAQ’s

These are the questions I am asked hundreds of times a day during the three weeks of ArtPrize. Since they are pretty consistent I thought I’d compile them together into an FAQ post. If you don’t see the origami related question you may have wondered about feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply there or add it to the post if it’s a popular question I’d forgotten about.

tiny-origami-paper-cranes-tinygami

Question: Do you use tweezers or tools to fold the cranes?
Answer: No. I only use my fingers. Seriously! 🙂

cutting-origami-paper-miniature-folding

Question: How long does it take to make a mobile of 1000 cranes?
Answer: In a perfect world I’d have 3 months for each mobile. But on deadlines I can finish them faster. Steps involved include:

  • Concept development
  • Sourcing materials for structures
  • Shopping for paper
  • Cutting paper into 1000 tiny pieces with a metal straight edge and X-acto knife on a self healing cutting mat
  • Folding cranes
  • Building mobile structure
  • Hanging mobile structures
  • Dividing cranes
  • Hanging cranes
  • Finishing details

Question: How long does it take to fold one crane?
Answer: Just a few (2-3) minutes. But some of the thicker, softer, more fibrous papers will strain the tendon in my right forearm very quickly requiring me to take breaks every 20 minutes or so for at least that long or longer.

origami-papers-imported-japan

Question: What kind of paper do you use to make your mobiles?

Answer: Almost all of the paper is imported origami paper from Japan. There are exceptions such as the white paper in the Mochibana piece which is tracing paper because I wanted a translucent quality that evoked the translucence of mochi, the dessert made of pounded sweet rice.

When I lived in California I was able to shop at a multitude of Japanese and art paper stores to find my origami paper.

Here in MI I’ve been to Hollander’s paper store in Ann Arbor twice and have resorted to ordering online.

I also receive very generous and thoughtful gifts of paper from time to time (thank you EmiInk!). They are always the most special papers of all.

Question: Where do you buy your paper?

Answer: I’ve been collecting paper since 1995 and have accumulated what I call my “stash” that I add to whenever I see beautiful paper for sale. Craft stores (think Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.) often have a nice selection but this is a list of my favorite specialty paper sources listed by state:

California

Nikaku Japanese Arts
Address: 615 N 6th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 971-2822
You’ll find squares of paper in the center island display and rolls of larger paper along the same wall as the stairwell after you enter.

Nichi Bei Busan
Address: 140 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 294-8048

Maido (There is more than one location)
Address: Santana Row, 378 Santana Row #1125, San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 213-1985

Kinokuniya (There is more than one location)
Address: 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
Phone: (408) 252-1300

Miki’s Paper
Address: 1801 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Phone:(510) 845-9530

Michigan

Hollanders
Address: 410 N 4th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(Next door to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market)
Phone: (734) 741-7531

Washington

Spokane Art Supply
Address: 1303 N Monroe St, Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 327-6628

Question: Where did you learn how to fold cranes?
Answer: My maternal grandma from Japan taught me as a child.

hanging-origami-crane-needle

Question: How do you hang the cranes?

Answer: I use very small sewing needles to string the cranes. Usually they are “sharps” or “betweens.” For the smallest 1/4″ high cranes I use the thinnest beading needles I can find. I like to thread the cranes from the top to bottom of both each crane and each strand. This allows me to make certain no two matching papers are next to each other, meaning above or below vertically or side by side horizontally in neighboring strands.

metallic-thread-hanging-origami-cranes

Question: What kind of thread do you use to hang them from?

Answer: My favorite is Madeira’s Supertwist metallic blend embroidery thread. It is more soft, flexible, delicate and shimmering than other metallic threads I’ve found at most fabric and craft stores. I order it online and have it shipped out to me.

how-to-hang-origami-cranes

Question: How are the cranes suspended on the thread?

Answer: In 2016 while preparing my ArtPrize entry I discovered a new way to hang cranes (and frogs and rabbbits) using no glue. Going forward I will use this technique whenever possible including for the individual strands I offer in my Etsy shop. The process may take longer but I love that it allows me to hang strands even when there is no electricity (that I used to need to run a mini glue gun).

Previously I used a low-melt temperature glue gun to hang each crane to the thread. High-melt will burn straight through the thread. The seam allowance tool in the lower left corner is to make sure each crane has the same amount of space between them to keep the length of each strand uniform. The tweezers I use to pull glue off/out of a crane that didn’t attach to the thread in the correct direction, meaning no two cranes hang facing the same direction as the cranes above or below them. I also try to set them at different angles to the cranes that surround them on each side.

color-sorting-1000-origami-paper-cranes

Question: How do you decide where the colors go?

Answer: It takes far longer to prepare the cranes for hanging than most people realize. The process begins by dividing out the 1000 cranes into piles of matching patterns and solid colors. Once that’s done I divide the cranes by pattern and color into equal piles. Each pile represents one strand. There are never even numbers of anything so after following simple division it becomes more intuitive dividing them out in a way where colors or patterns are as evenly dispersed as possible so the overall color scheme will be balanced from strand to strand.

dividing-hanging-origami-cranes

Once the cranes are divided into equal piles of mixed colors and patterns I drop them into small circles made of paper to keep them from mixing together until they’re hung.

headlamp-folding-origami-cranes-tinygami

Question: How is your vision?

Answer: Honestly? Not as good as it used to be. I now need reading glasses and good light. They’re both crucial when working in miniature formats whether using a swing arm lamp, natural light or sometimes at night I often use my camping headlamp in the house. Clear, bright light is imperative for me to be able to see as clearly as possible when folding the tiniest of cranes. For the headlamp I do use rechargeable batteries in an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible.

Question: Are you worried about arthritis? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Do your fingers hurt? Do your hands hurt?

Answer: No. No. No. No. But, I do worry about tendonitis as my right forearm will get sore if I fold thick or soft paper or very tiny small folds (think frog legs and feet) for too long. Then I have to take frequent breaks and stretch out the tendon that gets stressed by putting my art out to my side at a 90º angle to my body and bending my wrist upward so that my hand is at a 90º angle to the arm (now parallel to my body). It’s a little trick a Physical Therapist told me about at ArtPrize that has done wonders to reduce the strain in my forearm.

transporting-art-installation-origami-artprize

Question: How do you transport the cranes from your home to a venue?

Answer: It isn’t terribly elegant but to protect them from light, dust, weather, and general damage I use customized cardboard boxes. The trick is adding a cardboard tube at the top to roll the monofilament they hang from onto to keep it from tangling during transport. The strands of cranes can puddle in the bottom of the boxes. My main goal is to keep the structure from crushing the paper cranes. This protects the structure from damage as well and is how I store the mobiles when they aren’t on display.

In 2015 I came up with an alternative, but similar, method to transport the mobiles to my ArtPrize venue using plastic garbage cans. If it rains I can simply pop a plastic kitchen garbage bag over the entire container. It’s not as protective but is easier and faster to get the mobiles in and take them out and allows the strands to hang longer during transport.

transporting-miniature-origami-mobile

Question: How long have you been folding tiny cranes into mobiles this way?

Answer: Since 1995 but for the first 19 years they were pretty much a hidden hobby. ArtPrize in 2014 changed all of that and I am now busy creating a business model that will allow me to pursue my art as my full-time career both while at home and on the road traveling in my tiny trailer 🙂

#OrigamiInMyHand

tinygami-miniature-origami-frog-hearts-shrimp-flower

A fun thing I was participating in before my dad got sick was an invitation by another one of my favorite Instagram origami artists white_onrice. Ross Symons started the hashtag #origamiinmyhand and asked people to fold something, photograph it in your hand, then tag and share it.

Of course in keeping with my Tinygami name I had to fold things miniaturized. That is the smallest frog, heart, and shrimp I had ever folded.

tinygami-miniature-origami-crane

The crane in the lower image is only 1/4″ high. I’ve decided to call this size “Micro” because it is my smallest. It goes along with “Itty Bitty” my medium size at 3/8″ high, and my large “Tiny” size at 3/4″ high.

If you’re also a folder I invite you to join in the fun 🙂