When I was in elementary school, I became obsessed with origami. Like many of my creative endeavors, I went into it with extreme passion and a minimum of talent, and even this description is generous.
I discovered the revered Japanese art of paper folding through my school librarian, Linden. One of the most needed skills that school librarians have is the ability to get a bunch of snotty, obnoxious kids to settle down and sit still. As an adult, I marvel at Linden’s prowess in convincing a group of young people who wanted nothing more than to turn the school library into an indoor playground to silently focus on making elegant cranes. She was an honest magician.
But this article is not about magical librarians, but origami. There is something so relaxing about trying to manipulate a delicate piece of paper into one of the millions of shapes … when it actually works. The rest of the time it’s completely maddening, especially when the kid next to you has a whole family of perfect cranes sitting on their desk and you’re still struggling to make one that doesn’t look badly warped. My plump sausage fingers were a curse I couldn’t get over. These less than ideal numbers are also the reason why I ended up playing bass instead of guitar, relegating myself forever to the background of the rhythm section. Every once in a while I managed to overcome my genetic shortcomings and create a piece of origami that I was really proud of.
While the experience can be maddening, the feeling of performing a beautiful piece of origami is remarkably satisfying. We can even go so far as to call the feeling of elation. So despite my total lack of ability, I was hooked.
Since much of modern tattooing can trace its roots back to Japan as well, it shouldn’t be too surprising that origami has found its way into a tattoo motif. But unlike the terrible little paper knickknacks I imposed on my parents every holiday, all of the origami in these tattoos looked fantastic. Enjoy this gallery of origami tattoos.