Bold Folds: The Art of Origami

Autumn is in the air. In the tap-tapping of boots on pavement; in the crackle of falling leaves; in the rumbling roar of maize-wearing Wolverines. Trees hang heavy with apples, ripe for picking. Coffeehouses waft invitations of pumpkin spice and cinnamon out into the streets. And then, there’s the chill – a blessing and curse at the same time. Some days are energetic. Grab a scarf and a walking companion and the cold disappears. But other days are drizzly, gray, and frankly, a bit seasonally depressing. When days like those hit, why not grab some perfectly patterned square bits of paper and fold away the stress of classes and decorate your room at the same time?

This past summer, while at home rummaging around the craft closet for school supplies, I came across an old packet of Origami paper and felt my childhood flash back. The hours I could spend, practicing patience, dedicating a long-attention span to folding and unfolding paper, to licking and nursing the cuts on my fingers. The pleasure of creating a menagerie of cranes, penguins, dragons, rabbits, fish, foxes, elephants, (but mostly cranes), and set them up on the table before me. Made from my own hand.

I remembered reading the children’s book, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr, for a first grade book report project. An inspirational book, indeed, that makes you want to go out and make something, do something, to put a smile on someone else’s face. My mom and I had toiled away to make a crane for each student in the class, and it was all worth the effort.

With such good memories folded neatly in my brain, I decided to bring the packet of multi-colored pre-cut squares with me to college this year. Every once in a while, I take out a sheet, put on a YouTube tutorial video, and focus on the folds – a great distraction from homework.

The word ‘origami’ comes from the Japanese ‘ori’ meaning folding and ‘kami’ which means paper. The art of paper folding is mostly credited to the sixth-century Japanese monks who created simple, religious designs for Shinto ceremonies. Paper folding spread around the world, to Spain, the Middle East, Britain and the US, and continues to be a flourishing art form today.

One of the great marvels of origami is that all it requires is one piece of square paper. Pre-cut squares, some plain-colored, some patterned, can be bought at craft and stationery shops for $1-4, depending on the paper count. Not too crippling an expense when you consider that no glue, scissors or tape are necessary! Ingenuity and patience is all that’s needed, that and some good, clear instructions.

Most origami packs come with some poorly drawn step-by-step instructions. But, we’re in the digital age and can and should take advantage of YouTube videos (it’s loaded with them!) and dedicated websites like and The trick is to master a few basic folds (inside and outside reverse, the petal fold, the valley and mountain fold) and a couple of bases (bird base, diamond base, kite base) and then a world of paper folding will, dare I say it, unfold for you. Soon you will be surrounded by ninja stars, hopping frogs and lotus flowers.

The great thing is that origami can be as private as you want it to be. No one has to know if your rabbit looks more like an earless rat. The art is in the doing and the concentration, the manual labor, the effort. Frustration and mistakes may come, but that’s all part of the art process. Of course, once you’ve mastered the crane, you will always have a party trick up your sleeve. A paper napkin can, with a bit of dexterity, be transformed into a thing of wonder! Your friends’ jaws will drop as you crease and sculpt and reveal a creature whose wings flap when they tug its tail.

And who knows? One day, you could be like Florigami founder and origami artist, Floriane Toultou!

Floriane Toultou’s “Silver Unicorn” (via goodstuffhappenedtoday)

So let the scarves, the autumn days, and your stress unfold – and indulge yourself in a little bit of paper magic. You’ll be glad you did!

Game-Tube-Thing: It’s A Thing

Yes, okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve been keeping a secret from you.

I, Jeannie Marie, am a game tuber.

Or…game tuber watcher. Game tuber-er? I don’t know what we’re called, but I watch GameTube. *gasp*

Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, there’s a large percentage of people who know what game tube is. But for those of you that don’t know, which I’m still assuming is a large percentage of people, GameTube is the new Youtube website specifically devoted to gaming. Or rather, watching people game. And I mean game as in video games (like people actually play football anymore. Pshhhhhhhhh).

And yes, you can laugh. The thing I found the funniest about Jimmy Kimmel’s segment is that yeah…it’s stupid. I will be the first one to admit that. Watching people play video games is kind of weird and silly. So I’m not here to defend people who watch them, or even defend myself. I’m here to think. To wonder.

Is game-watching a new form of entertainment? And if so…can it be art?

Well let’s think about this. Art, of course, has to be defined before game-watching can be put in this category. And I have no clue how to define art. If you have a nice handy dandy definition, please share, because this is something I’ve been struggling with since coming to this university.

In one sense, I guess game-watching is art. I mean, it’s entertainment, and it’s on a platform where people can view it and share it. I know there are plenty of things on YouTube right now that I’d consider art, mostly of the audio/visual kind, for obvious reasons. There’s adaptations of novels, music videos, original short series, and everything in between. I don’t think you can call YouTube art, but it’s pretty dang close, especially when art is closely aligned (but not defined as) entertainment. So yes, game-watching is entertainment. Part of the reason why people watch other people play video games is because of the people, not because of the game itself.

But what is the game itself? Is that art too, or is that something completely separate from the personalities playing the games?

This, I think, is a bit clearer. Yes, video games are art – commercial art, yes, but art nonetheless. It isn’t fair to call the latest Pixar/Miyazaki/Dreamworks movie “art” and not call video game design art. There’s some dang beautiful video games out there, both in visuals and specs. Ever heard of Limbo? There’s also a lot to be said about the storytelling aspect. I mean, open-world games like Destiny or Grand Theft Auto might not really float your boat, but if you play a game with a really good story, you’re mesmerized.

So there’s the video game side. But then there’s people…some comedians for all intents and purposes. Are they art? Certainly entertaining…but art?

Hmmm. The world may never know.

About Art

I gotta be honest here, even though this is my last post, I’m so tired that I could probably pass out right here and now. But I’m not going to do that. Because this is my very last post.

What does that mean? Well, unidentified, detached voice, I’ll tell you what that means.

It means absolutely nothing. I will keep writing and I will keep seeing shows. I will keep listening to music and I will keep having opinions on said music. I will keep trying to convince my friends to go see movies and I will (probably) keep getting rejected. I will still dance in my room with music blaring, and I will still sing loudly in the shower. I will still curl up before I go to bed and try and watch the next episode of my show until I absolutely cannot keep my eyes open any more.

Sometimes I wonder why I write this column. Not that I’m suggesting that I don’t like it, because it’s probably one of the best things that has happened to me on this campus. But I wonder how this column fits into the grander scheme of things.

If I’m being perfectly honest, not many people read my writing. I’m lucky if I get even a few clicks on my page.

But then, I remember what I feel like when I listen to Walk the Moon’s new album. Or how I feel when I realize that Rabbit Hole (2010) is on Hulu to watch for free. Or how I’m going to have hours of free time this summer to catch up on New Girl or to watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And then I realize that this column isn’t about me, as cheesy as that sounds. Its about bringing awareness to something I love. It’s about adding my voice to the echoing din that already exists on the internet. It’s about shaping my skills as a writer, and pushing myself to write something new, something different, or to maybe look at writing in a way I never did before.

In short, it’s about the art, and how the art makes me feel. And it always will be.

Art Influences Art

I have always been a lover of high, avant-garde fashion. From Gautier, Louis Vuitton, and Yohji Yamamoto, high-fashion houses around the world inspired me as a child to think outside of the box when it comes to creativity. I used to wonder incessantly of how in the world did these designers come up with these concepts that enveloped no sense of practicality but all aspects of wonder, dream, and true artistic form?

Couture fashion, designs created for one special, statement-making purpose, is the prime example of how the concept of fashion should literally be considered an art form. Designs that are custom-made, intricately detailed, and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars not only take a lot of time to create, but also take the creativity and talent of some of the most brilliant artists in the world.

In analyzing some of the designs that walk the runway today, many of which are torn to pieces (figuratively) because of their “over-the-top” nature and impracticality, are pure examples of art forms redefined by other traditional art forms. Paintings, photographs, nature, decor, all are influences of the gowns you see walking the Paris and Milan runways.

This concept of “upcycling,” usually referring to taking something “useless” or “old” and recreating something “new” and “interesting” with it, can be applied to the way in which some high-fashions come to be. Not to say that any traditional art forms are of lesser value to the fashions that are put on display today, but there is a connection as to how these fashion designers fuse the creativity in their heads with the powerful creative minds of the painters, photographers, and interior designers that we come to immediately associate as artists.

Photo Credit:

The image above illustrates a comparison between a painting of a disturbed sea, with blue hues and deep blacks fading amongst each other, and a gown with a similar color scheme in an ombre-flurried effect. Similar aesthetic, different artistic geniuses.

Photo Credit:

Broken, demolished, nature’s colors, all are concepts captured in both of these photographs, illustrating great techniques of the same inspiration board.

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When you can get the same effect from a painted/crafted wall that you do a dress and satchel, then you know you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Check out some of the Spring 2015 Couture looks for some great inspo!






7/11? More like 911

Beyonce has done it again. I am sorry to bring another fangirl post to the blogosphere about, in my opinion, one of the most inspiring and unattainable talents of R&B music, but it has to be done.

The singer released two new bonus records to her latest album Beyonce, entitled “7/11” and “Ring Off.” The songs were meant to be released at a later date, but somehow they got out before their planned release. Thank the heavens they did.

“Ring Off” is a song that seems to be about the singer’s mother and the drama experienced between her father. It’s empowering. She sings to her mother in a loving voice telling her to finally put her “love on top” (a reference to a track from her studio album “4”). The theme coincides with her album’s mission of women empowerment. Going through the ups and downs of her marriage, the singer is consoling her mother and letting her know that it is finally time for her to be happy with this “ring off” of her finger. She can finally be herself and learn from the mistakes that happened in her past. Great song, check it out here!

“7/11” is just what the doctor ordered. The beat follows suit to some of the hits from the current album like “Partition” and “Drunk in Love”. There’s a place to dance, a place to sing, and a place to…rap? Yes, the singer seems to have fallen into her own genre with the Beyonce album in general. Mixing her vocal abilities of singing with the crispness of her speaking voice, she stands in her own lane with this upbeat hit.

The possibly biggest fangirl part of this record is the D.I.Y video she did for it. Check it out below, and then we’ll talk.

Yes, she’s in her underwear 98% of the video. Yes, she’s still amazing. The video showcases her dancing around with, what seems to be her real backup dancers, having fun with the some of the moves they’ve been working on for the track. There’s butt-shaking, there’s a pyramid of bodies, and there’s Blue Ivy for .2 seconds on a bed. I mean, can it get any better than that?

The release of these two records and the music video reminded me of how exciting it can be hearing a great song for the first time or seeing a great video for the first time. Music, especially the mainstream kind, can get old really fast, and it’s always great to have that “wow” moment when something first enters your ears and takes you over. Whatever music you enjoy, I encourage you to try and absorb the moment when you first hear a favorite track or view a favorite video. It’s great for memories because we all know how overexposure is the theme of this generation.

Finding Brandon Graham part 2 + Interstellar

Uncanny combination.

Here is the link to Brandon Graham’s blog the “royal boiler”.

It is basically like an online scrapbook of various things that he finds interesting or scans of work he has done recently.

Also, here is an image of the cover of “Walrus” his published sketchbook.

I must say that my interest in comics came at an unfortunate time because nearing the end of the semester, this newfound medium is only acting as a distraction, preventing me from working diligently on the work at hand. But at the same time, it is always nice to find new interests.


On to Interstellar. I didn’t like it that much. Not that it was a bad film by any means. But it wasn’t anything exceptional. I won’t write this with a summary, so as not to have any spoilers.

For the most part it felt as if Christopher Nolan was just way too ambitious with this film. The film was way too long and I felt as if it could have ended at one point but it just kept going. Having a run time of almost three hours, it feels as if Nolan has studio execs by their balls at this point, given the fact that they allowed him to release such a long cut of his film.

Also, does Christopher Nolan have to try and blow people’s minds in every single film he makes? More importantly, I can’t help but feel that people say their minds are blown after watching a Nolan film because they ‘should’ say so. I was always fascinated by the visuals but probably the most mind blowing film I have seen from his filmography is “Memento”, and not “Inception” or “Interstellar” –maybe the “Prestige”. But even then, I find it hard to really jump on the Nolan hype train. There is something about his movies that feel almost too clean for me (I have no other way of describing it as of yet).

I mean I still enjoyed the Dark Knight trilogy and his other films that I listed, but they are by no means my favorite films of all time.

Also, please, why do people have to talk so much during this movie, perhaps I was with the most obnoxious audience, but throughout the movie, there were constant oohs and aahs and questions being whispered. So annoying.

I think Nolan needs to dial back on his stories and bring it back to smaller budget films and focus heavily on story.
Interstellar was fine, but it is no “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Nolan tries so hard to tie up the ending in a nice knot and provide an easy answer to the questions brought up in his movie. But what made 2001 such an amazing film is that Kubrick did not provide an answer. I still don’t know what the ending of that movie means. That is why it is amazing, because it never fails to challenge me and get me thinking.