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A magical art

From making cranes to Yoda to a small camera from a dollar bill, Garret Hoff has found his niche in origami

August 25, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - With quick and nimble fingers, Garret Hoff of Marshall deftly folds a piece of paper into a crane.

It's something he's made numerous times, but origami is a hobby he truly enjoys.

"I just like doing it a lot and it's challenging,"?he said.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Garret Hoff of Marshall started doing origami when he was in kindergarten. Earlier this summer, he went to an origami convention in New York City to pick up some new techniques.

Hoff, 12, has done origami for the last seven years. Earlier this summer, he attended the 2012 OrigamiUSA convention in New York City.

Hoff said his first attempt at the craft turned out "OK."

"When I was in kindergarten, my mom got an origami book at a book fair and I just started making some of the (items)," Hoff said. His first origami creation was a duck, he said.

Then Hoff's father, Tom, brought home instructions for a paper crane from his work.

"It took me a really long time to figure it out," Hoff said. "When you first make it, it's pretty hard."

Some time later, Hoff took on a challenge, making 1,000 origami paper cranes like in the book "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes." He said it took him five to six months to complete all of them and his cranes are now in a cardboard box in his room.

Throughout the years, Hoff has created different things with origami, including birds, a dwarf and Yoda.

"I wanted to make it for a really long time," Hoff said about the Yoda, adding that he was glad when he located instructions. It took a few days to make, he said.

He said the dwarf was the hardest to make as he couldn't really find any instructions online, he just had to print off the pattern that had the folding lines. For a swan he made, Hoff did 3-D origami, using a lot of little pieces of paper. He said it took about 200 little pieces to create.

Hoff learned about the origami conference in New York while doing an online search, locating the information on the OrigamiUSA website.

"I found it when I was looking for instructions on how to make something," Hoff said. He said the conference looked fun, and he wanted to attend.

He said his dad told him about the Art Study Opportunities for Youth grant program through the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council. Hoff applied for the grant and received it earlier this year.

"I appreciate the grant I received from SMAHC because without it I would not have been able to go to New York and learn the things I did," Hoff said.

At the convention, Hoff said he took three classes a day, learning different kinds of techniques. During the second day of classes, he learned how to make words with just one piece of paper. He also studied "wet-folding," where you spray the paper with water and wipe it.

"(It makes it) easier to fold and shape all the details," he said. He made a rat by using the wet folding technique.

While he was in New York, Hoff also made a couple of his own origami designs, creating a bat and a dragon.

His most challenging origami project to date was a phoenix, but he didn't have instructions for it.

"I literally sat for five hours folding it and it didn't turn out really well," Hoff said. Now that he's located instructions on how to make a phoenix, Hoff said he's willing to give it another try.

Hoff also recently found a kit where he can make origami by using a dollar bill, making a camera and a hang glider.



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