Archive for the ‘Workshop’ Category


Seems I hardly every get around to posting anymore, but here’s an image from a couple of weeks ago, when I was working (and playing) with 22 students from Heartwood Montessori School in Cary, NC. In preparation for a performance for their parents, the students learned to fold origami butterflies and folded 305 of them over the course of a few days. We attached them, with glue dots and tape, to fishing line and hung a “curtain” of butterflies as a backdrop for their performance.

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I love walking on the carriage trail at this time of year because of what’s unfolding…literally. Is there anything more intricate and beautiful than the process of a bud opening into a leaf?

Nature’s origami, the most elegant geometry, has inspired origami designers around the world. One of them, Tomoko Fuse, has created many beautiful designs for containers. She’s famous for her boxes and other modular designs, but I’m also very fond of this leaflike chopstick holder she invented. It’s one of many fun—and surprisingly easy—projects I hope to introduce to willing folders in my Origami Containers class at Cedar Lakes Crafts Center this August.

Check out the Road Scholar website for more information, and join me at Cedar Lakes Crafts Center near Ripley, WV this summer!


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Instead, make it into a handsome, sturdy origami box! This one was made from eight of last year’s calendar pictures. For me, this is the most satisfying way of recycling: making something beautiful-but-outdated into something beautiful and new.

If you’d like to learn how to make this box, along with many other fascinating origami containers, start planning now to take my weeklong class, “Origami Containers,” at Cedar Lakes Crafts Center in Ripley West Virginia. The class is scheduled for August 17-22, 2014, and I’d love to fill it up in advance! This is a Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) class. With prices starting at $487, it’s a remarkably good value for a week that includes tuition, a comfortable lodge room, and plenty of good food. All this in a picturesque place chock-full of West Virginia hospitality. Get all the details at the Road Scholar website.


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No pictures today, but I’m posting a poem I wrote—yes, sometimes I write along with my students—during a weekend writing workshop at Tygart Lake State Park, November 8-10. We were a group of nine writers, and we had a great time. Not to mention good food and a nice hike in the woods. I hope some new folks will join me next spring or fall at Tygart Lake State Park.

The prompt that elicited this poem was one I have often used with very young writers: “Write a poem to anyone or anything: your dirty sneakers, your alarm clock, your great-great-grandfather, your dog, your big toe. Address the subject of the poem as if it were here with you and could hear you.” We often talk about the reasons for writing such a poem: you might want to say something to someone who’s gone, express a long overdue thank-you, or complain about someone or something anonymously. Writing a poem of direct address is the equivalent of writing a letter that goes unsent…unless, of course, you write it to a real person and send it to them. In the case of this poem, I decided to give a copy to my doctor, who seemed to find it amusing.

To My Intestines

Looped and wound about within me,
what a patient friend you’ve been.
Since those first few months of mother’s milk
you have accepted what I sent you,
masticated but hardly masked:
donuts and coffee, Junior Whoppers,
foods of every color and culture
from fiery Asian curries to noodle kugel.
Once, for fourteen diet-driven days,
nothing but GrapeNuts and fat-free yogurt.
Once, a quart jar of dill pickles.

I think of you hardly ever,
disregard the way you go about your business
mostly (not always) in silence, in darkness.
No breaks, no vacations, and few
complaints about being the one
who always has to do the dirty work,
whose groans of labor are the butt of jokes.

I saw a picture of you once, after
the indignity of a colonoscopy.
I’ll tell you, and it’s true:
I thought you were beautiful,
a sinewy channel of pink, not unlike
the coral coilings of a slot canyon
I traveled though in Arizona.
O secret and circuitous tunnel,
O pipeline winding through my flesh and bone,
O necessary viscera,
I honor you.

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This is another fabric box, a Tomoko Fuse design (she’s the best!), made from two cotton “fat quarters,” as those 18 x 21-inch pieces are called at the fabric store. I enjoyed choosing the fabrics because there were so many with small patterns, perfect for little origami projects. This box measures about three-and-a-half inches square and is very sturdy. A great container for earrings, soap, keepsakes, or small gifts.

Learn this design and several other boxes, along with various envelopes and other containers, at my Origami Container Workshop at Cedar Lakes Crafts Center in Ripley, WV. The class runs from April 22-27.

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