Leipzig-based paper artist Anja Markiewicz uses little more than the tip of a toothpick (she doesn’t even use a magnifying glass) to make the tiny creases in her miniature origami creations including animals, insects, and geometric designs.
Anja discovered origami about 8 years ago during a boring lesson in school. She was eating chocolate with her friend and they started to fold an origami ship out of the wrapper. They cut the paper in half to fold it again and then again and again with smaller and smaller pieces of paper until her friend wasn’t able to fold anymore. Anja, on the other hand, was still able to fold the tiny paper and went home and continued to fold more models with the chocolate paper.
Anja said: “Origami is my life; Origami is my passion; Origami is to visit friends, and Origami is relaxation. Now it is a passion of my life! I love to fold with other people and attend Origami meetings or Origami conventions! A lot of Origami people are my friends.
I prefer miniatures! I love to fold very small Origami. Mostly I like to fold animals.” For her first year of origami, she simply folded things based on instructions she found online and from a few German books. Later she joined the German origami society and started to make a lot of friends while attending their meetings. She loves traveling to origami conventions in other cities and meeting new friends who also love origami.
Origami is definitely a passion for Anja but she also enjoys it because it lets her meet and visit new friends and even though she folds super small models she says it helps her relax. She says origami is almost her full-time job in addition to working part-time as an occupational therapist with young children and elderly people. Anja folds everywhere, at home, on the train or when she’s waiting for something. She always carries a little box with small paper and a toothpick so she can fold anywhere at any time.
She folds most of her models with just her fingers and fingernails which sounds crazy to me. Sometimes she uses a toothpick to help but she usually doesn’t need it. She never uses a magnifying glass or tweezers which again sounds crazy because I need tweezers to fold regularly sized origami sometimes. She likes to fold with a very thin paper that’s similar to tissue but stronger and waterproof. She says it’s very important that it’s waterproof in case she’s folding with sweating fingers. She doesn’t know the name of this paper but things it’s only 20g per meter cubed and it comes from Japan.
Anja can fold a simple origami model in about 5 to 20 minutes and a difficult one in about 1 to 2 hours. Super difficult models like the yellow ball “Floreuskugel” took her about 10 hours so she folded it over a couple of days. She usually sets aside 1 to 2 hours at a time to fold a model. Her smallest models start out with a square of paper only 4mm x 4mm. This usually results in a model that’s about 2.5mm in the end, her Cicada for example.
The most difficult model she ever folded in the yellow ball “Floreuskugel”. The snowflake, violet dragon and the yellow bird are also very difficult tiny models that she’s folded. Anja is very proud of the fact that she can fold tiny versions of these models when many people in the Origami Society can’t hold a larger sized version. She loves seeing the look on people’s faces when she tells them it’s just folded paper without cutting or glue. People are fascinated to see her fold in person.