Over the course of my life, I’ve gotten better at folding things. Clothes, towels, letters, and tortillas are the four big ones. These used to be disasters – subjects of ridicule from my parents, friends, and wife. Fortunately, as the years progressed, these folding jobs became respectable.
One bugaboo remains, however: wrapping paper. Some of the time it looks “okay.” The folds end up in nearly the right places. There usually aren’t holes or tears in the paper. No excessive use of scotch tape. Most of the time, it’s not great, looking like something done by a ham-handed fourth grader. With Christmas a week away, I fear another day of shame for me, watching my wife and kids open presents with my dumpster fire of a wrapping job.
To pour salt in this wound, I spent the last two weeks admiring the Woodson Art Museum’s special exhibition Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, in which nine artists from across the world folded different styles of paper into elaborate, complex, and beautiful forms. To look at Shine, by Yuko Nishimura, and imagine the patience, vision, and dexterity necessary to complete such an artwork is humbling, considering I have trouble with paper featuring reindeer.
Museum visitors agree that Above the Fold is fun and interesting to behold. I’m happy to walk through the galleries each day to enjoy it, too. My Christmas gift to all of you is that I didn’t fold anything in the exhibition.