The Impossible Origami Squirrel
Folding complex models always gets me thinking about a squirrel I once tried to fold as a child. I remember struggling to follow the instructions, and not understanding what I was supposed to do. I had recently learned how to fold the paper crane and I was all excited about origami, so I had checked out an origami book from my local library.
it was a book by John Montroll, an origami master and mathematician (I wouldn't recommend any of his books for someone who's just learning origami). I ended up giving up and returning the book without being able to complete a single model. It was a very discouraging experience, but I'm glad it didn't lead me to give up on origami altogether.
An image of John Montroll's squirrel model
The Gift that Changed Everything
After my reality check by John Montroll, I decided to start simple, so I asked for and got an Origami Page-A-Day Calendar
for Christmas. Learning origami is like learning a new language, and that calendar taught me what I needed to know in order to understand and follow origami instructions. With time and experience I was able to follow instructions for much tougher models, and now I can fold very complex models, many even by memory.
I highly recommend this calendar for anyone who wants to learn origami, and it doesn't matter if you're young or old - this calendar makes it easy and fun for anyone. Each page of this calendar has information/instructions on one side and colorful prints on the other side, so you use the previous day's page to fold that day's model.
This simple and inexpensive calendar does the following:
Teaches you the meanings of origami symbols.
-> You'll learn to fold a model without reading the instructions.
Teaches you the meanings of origami terms.
-> You'll know what to do without having to look at the pictures.
Helps you master the folds with daily repetition.
-> You'll be able to understand and follow more complex origami instructions.
Sometimes I still can't believe I can fold this guy by memory!
Just Don't Give Up
Now, I'm not an origami master like John Montroll or Robert Lang (who works for NASA using his origami skills), but the skills I gained from folding every day with my calendar have gotten me to where I am today.
Whenever I encounter something that starts feeling too difficult to fold, or instructions that seem too complex to follow, I only have to remember my previous experiences with origami. I know I can fold this thing, and I can do it well. It might take me 5 or 6 tries, but I can do it if I stick with it.
Learning to fold this these dragons took forever, but I'm so glad I didn't quit because they are the coolest!
With practice and patience I believe that we can become skilled at anything we do, as long as we are willing to learn from our mistakes and try again when we fail. Learning a new skill is tough, and origami can be quite challenging, but if you don't give up and try hard enough - I believe eventually you too can fold that "impossible" squirrel - and it'll turn out amazing!
*This is NOT Montroll's squirrel, but it is one of the many squirrels I've folded!