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Origami Designer's Secrets: Ben Goldberger

Israel has a vibrant and energetic origami scene. With three organizations and around 100 active folders we are seeing a new generation of creators emerging in recent years. Ben Goldberger is one of them. We met at one of the earlier meetings of Origamisrael, and I was amazed to see a young artist who manages to make complex designs with simple explanations, at least to him. I found his way of thinking fascinating, the ease of discovering new concepts and models enviable. "This talent has to be shared with the world!" I said to myself, and this interview came to be!

Who is Ben Goldberger?? Please tell me in 5 sentences what I must know about you.

Ben: I’m 29 years old. I study computer science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Besides Origami I like to go to the movies, watch television (sports, TV series, etc.), and I would probably enjoy any geeky hobby you could think of.


Ben Goldberger


What is origami to you? Why are you interested in origami? What was the first model you folded? What was the first model created? What drove you to start and create your own work? Can you say origami changed your life in anyway, or is it just a hobby?

Ben: I practice Origami as a hobby. I find origami interesting for many reasons, the mathematics it involves, the beauty and the elegance a model can have and sometimes the simplicity\complexity of it is appealing to me. I don’t remember the first model I folded, as it was a long time ago, when I was about six or seven years old. When I was younger I tried to create new models but I don’t remember them. I actually started to create my own models about seven years ago, when I was really into tessellations and thought it possible for me to make a new tessellated patterns. I can’t say exactly what drove me to create my own model, my guess is that I liked the challenge. I wouldn't say Origami changed my life, but it’s definitely a big part of my day to day.


One of Ben's first tessellations.


What is your muse? What drives your creation process? Do you fold other people's models? If so, do you have a favorite designer? a favorite artist? Do you look for the igniter to bring a spark, or just wait and it happens by itself?

Ben: Inspiration is a tricky thing. Ideas come to me from various sources: from nature, or from patterns and objects I encounter. Many times I see someone else’s model, and it inspires me to do similar things, or to improve and develop a model in the same “direction”. When I think I have a good idea for a model I can fold the same thing for weeks. I always have a piece of paper on me, and I fold something almost every day, I fold during bus rides or on the train, and even while walking, which is a bit risky but I can’t help myself. I do fold other people models. I remember some models by heart and sometimes somebody teaches me a new model, or I fold something from YouTube. My favorite designer is probably Tomoko Fuse, though I never really thought about it before you posed the question.


Butterfly on a leaf by Tomoko Fuse.

You are a versatile creator, as you try your hands in everything: figurative, modular, tessellations, action models, etc. How do you choose your subjects? Do you have a favorite subject?

Ben: I try to be versatile in my origami, but symmetric and geometric models make more sense to me. I mostly fold tessellations and fractals, I have a few modulars and figurative models, and I would like to try more action models, which is my favorite subject of origami.


Busy bees.

Please tell us what is your creative process. Do you start with a CP? Do you use any software in your work? Do you know in advance how the result will look?

Ben: My creation process is mostly just playing with a piece of paper and see what happens; I stumble onto something I like and try to develop it into an interesting model, based on the original folding. Occasionally I know what I want to fold, and then I just try to find the best way for me to achieve the desired result. I don’t create a CP in advance or use the computer, part of the fun is figuring the folds myself. I think designing origami is an intellectual process as much as it artistic. Normally I don’t know how the result will look, at least not at the beginning, but during the design process you can get an idea for how the model will look, and I will try to direct the model toward something I think is worth folding.


Octagon 3.

What papers do you usually use? Why? Do you prepare them yourself? How do you decide what paper to choose?

Ben: For now, I’m using very cheap paper like Kami or printer paper, and I’m being scolded by other folders for that, and I’m constantly being told to use better paper. I prefer smaller sheets of paper that I can manipulate without a table,


Spider.

Do you have a motto in your life? Is origami part of that motto? Is there a massage in your hand work?

Ben: Can’t say that I do.


Vortex.

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

Ben: I have a few models that I’m proud of. If I have to choose one, then it is the “Chanukah”. It is one of my first designs that wasn’t random, and I really enjoyed the design process, and I was able to finish it before “Chanukah” was over that year.


Chanukah.

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

Ben: Are all Origamist a bit insane? ;)


Octagon 1.

Name Ben Goldberger
Place of residence Ramat Gan, Israel
Profession Computer Science Student, Hebrew University
Email j.j.goldberger [at] gmail.com
Website https://www.flickr.com/photos/137828217@N06

In closing, Ben presents us with diagrams for his daffodil.


Click on photos for diagrams.