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Origami Designer's Secrets: Anja Markiewicz

Edited by Patsy Wang-Iverson


Anja Markiewicz, image by Janine Vogelein
(All non-credited images by Anja Markiewicz)


About Anja


Folding with friends
Image by Halina Rosciszewska-Narloch

Imagine your whole exhibition, more than 30 models, stored in a matchbox. Anja always presents her models with a magnifying glass, otherwise you won't be able to see much of its beauty and elegance. As a master in miniature origami, she decided to go this extra mile and become a professional origami artist.
As always, nine questions are answered, and this time we have a bonus – I tried my hands in miniature-folding, under the smiling supervising eyes of Anja, and it was a very interesting experience...

Who is Anja Markiewicz? Please tell me what I must know about you.

Anja : The Origami artist Anya Midori is a self-confident and strong business woman. The therapist Anja Markiewicz is also hard working and straightforward, but an emphatic person. The private Anja Markiewicz is very sensitive and diffident. But the private Anja can be loud and dominant, too. Sometimes it is very difficult to find a good compromise between job and family.

What is Origami to you? Why are you interested in Origami? What was your first model to fold? What types of Origami do you like to fold and to create?

Anja : Origami is my life; Origami is my passion; Origami is to visit friends, and Origami is relaxation (yes, to fold miniature Origami is for me a relaxation!) ;-) Now it is a passion of my life! I love to fold with other people and attend Origami meetings or Origami conventions! A lot of Origami people are my friends.
I prefer miniatures! I love to fold very small Origami. Mostly I like to fold animals. My favorite animal models are realistic and not too complex to fold. In my first model, I was challenged to fold the Jedi Master Yoda of Kawahata with a friend. We were at school and we wanted to make a project together with other students. The other students wanted to design a sheet of paper with the name and logo of a company, and my friend and I were supposed to fold Master Yoda from this paper. You know it is a very complex model. So it took us weeks to understand the diagram and to fold a great Yoda. When we presented very proudly the result, the other students had already lost interest in the project.

How did you become a miniature folder? What drove you to this extreme edge of the Origami world?

Anja : I found Origami around seven years ago. At this time I visited a school as an occupational therapist. It was a boring lesson, and I ate some chocolate with a friend, but we still were bored. We then started to fold an Origami ship with the the chocolate wrapper. Then we cut the paper in half and folded again, cut and folded ... so we started to fold very small ships and after a while my friend wasn’t able to fold the smaller paper. So I won the competition. It was so nice to fold this size. At home I started to fold other models with this chocolate wrapper. At this time I still didn’t know I had a big talent. One to two years later I met my Origami friend Ralf Konrad and showed him some of my first miniature Origami works. He was fascinated and told me that I am very talented. I couldn’t believe it. I thought that every Origami artist can fold in this size. This is how I found my destiny. .

As a miniature folder, you mostly fold other people's models. How do you choose them? What makes a model suitable for miniature folding? What is it in the model that appeals to you?


First miniature origami from chocolate wrapper.


Miniature origami samples


Folding miniature origami
Image by Knut Klihowetz


Miniature origami papers


Folding at an event
Image by Marcus Karsten



Cross, by Anja



Folded version of Anja`s Homepage logo

Anja : Sometimes I fold a new model first with larger paper and then with smaller sheets. Every time it is a challenge for me to fold the model with a smaller sheet or to fold a more difficult or complex model. I like to fold intermediate models with nice and easy folding steps. It is difficult to describe. Some folding segments are more fun than others. I don’t like to fold modular Origami in small size, because it is very difficult to put the pieces together, and mostly the result is relatively “very” big.

I tried to fold a miniature with you, but failed miserably. Do you use any tools? How can one close-sink such tiny paper? Tell us how you do it!

Anja : This is a very difficult question. I can’t explain how I fold a miniature Origami. I fold it in the same way one folds a big model. The only tool I use is a toothpick. The tip helps me to do anything inside the model. It is my finger and bone folder for the small models. I think you need a lot of feeling in your fingers, because often I roll and push the paper between my fingers. For very small miniature Origamis I need a needle and good light, but no magnifying glass or tweezers.

What papers do you usually use and why? How do you decide what paper to choose?

Anja : I use very thin paper similar to tissue paper, only stronger and waterproof (it is important, if I fold with sweaty fingers). I think the paper has only 20g/m3. It is a paper from Japan, and I don't know the name. I only use this kind of paper. I think it would be a good idea to test different papers with an easy model. Take very small paper and try to fold. So you get a feeling for different properties of the paper. Some papers are too slippery, some too smooth or tear quickly. Some papers even disintegrate.

Recently you decided to become a professional Origamist. I know many of us would love to practice the hobby as the source of income. Please share with us your experience and thoughts about that.

Anja : To be a professional Origamist was not a deliberate decision, so I didn't plan it. With other Origami friends we visited a paper company in Berlin and we could see the production of paper and Origami books and we talked with the boss of this company. She told me she was working on a new book and she took some photos of the steps. For this job she used a professional hand model, but she wasn’t happy, because this hand model didn't touch the paper correctly so it looked unnatural. I said, more as a joke, “Maybe one of us Origami people can do this job. We know how to fold the paper.” She looked at my fingers and said “good idea! Please give me your contact details.” And sometime later she phoned me saying she had a job for me. But first I had to register as a professional Origami artist.
Now Origami is my full-time job. I have a lot of different jobs to do. All in all I could say, I have two different ways to get my income with Origami. To start with my favorite way, I sell my miniature Origami. I take these little models in small boxes and brand them as keyrings, mobile phone charms, necklaces, bookmarks or bracelets. The other way is to work for big and famous companies. Sometimes I drive to an event, a fair or a company party and work there as an Origami artist. There I have a table, and I fold for or with the customers and present how I can fold a sheet of paper (in a normal size) to create an animal or something else. Another possibility to get money with Origami is to fold models for advertising: either a model for a visual like an ad or a product logo or many copies of a model to serve as presents for customers.

I am sure there is one model of yours that you would like to point out to us. Which one is it, and please tell us why you chose it?

Anja : I created a religious cross. This is a special symbol for me, because I’m not religious. My parents don’t believe in God. They raised me with the fact that God doesn’t exist. But at school and throughout life I heard about God and was curious what is he and why so many people believed in him and we didn’t. Now I’m an adult and the belief and God are very important topics in my working life. As an occupational therapist and in my nonsalaried work with dying and incurable people I meet a lot of people who are comforted by their belief in God. So I created a cross as a symbol for God, and I need it in my work. I fold it as a present for my patients, and they take it as a lucky charm.

Is there one last question I should have asked? Ask yourself, but don’t answer. Just let us know what is the question …

Anja : What will be my Origami future? Will I enjoy Origami in 10 years? Is it possible to make a living only from Origami jobs? Will I still have keen sight in 10 years?


Name Anja Markiewicz AKA Anya Midori
Place of residence Potsdam, Germany
Profession Occupational Therapist/Origami Artist
Email kontakt [at] faltsucht.de"> kontakt [at] faltsucht.de
Website http://www.faltsucht.de

Diagrams!

To really know a designer, you must fold her models. Anja presents here her Cross.

Click here to download the diagram.

Miniature origami with Anja

The first feeling I have is hopelessness. I am totally out of my comfort zone. I can't see or feel the paper like I usually do; I make small mistakes I usually disregard immediately, but here every tiny mistake is big. I can't even notice I am holding the paper with the wrong side up (and Anja sits by with a little smile in her face). The first step is precreases, and I find it already to be on the verge of impossible. I manage to fold into halves but when trying to blintz I am far from having all corners in the center. The crease lines are hardly visible and totally impossible to feel. I managed, somehow, and was ready to collapse. I may have gotten used to it, because it went well. But my sense of success disappeared when I tried the legs. It is a smaller fold, far smaller than the big flaps I had folded. Slowly, using a toothpick, I managed that, too. The next obstacle was the tail that asked for internal crimp. Somehow, I really can't explain how, there was something there. In between, I suffered from continuously dropping my model. It may happen to you from time to time, and you may think it's nothing to be bothered about, but think again. It's difficult to pick it from the table, and it takes time to get oriented again, and when you do, you drop it again. And then - a total crash. I had to flatten the model by holding it on the sides, but there was no way my finger nails could find their way into the pockets. Finally, I used a toothpick on one side, a finger nail on the other. With a little to no sense at all to the paper resistance, I opened it too much and made it totally flat.
Miniature origami is like folding while you dive in the deep sea. You are not used to the environment, you can hardly see, you feel so clumsy, you move so slowly. Having tried it, my appreciation of Anja is even greater now. As a master in her field of folding, you are not surprised when she says it's easier for her to fold with a 15 mm square then a 15 cm one.

-Ilan Garibi

Comments

Hi - Clicking on the prompt to download the cross diagrams just get me a page that says The Fold web site was changed in 2008!

Thanks! We have fixed the link. Sorry for the mistake!

It is indeed working now.