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Complex models from paper

Treena Mukherjee, March 31, 2014, DHNS:

Unique Hobbies

Pursuing origami has become quite common, but Nikhil, a first-year engineering student has not only mastered the art of origami but also kirigami, a lesser-known art. DH photo.

Pursuing origami has become quite common, but Nikhil, a first-year engineering student has not only mastered the art of origami but also kirigami, a lesser-known art.

The youngster has made several intricate and detailed origami, modular origami and kirigami models, which show the concentration and focus that he puts into his art. 

Nikhil was introduced to the art by his father when he was very young but he started taking it seriously only five years ago when he attended a summer camp on origami.

“I immediately started researching and learnt making models online. Sometimes, I also read up about it. While a simple model can be completed in a matter of hours, the more complex ones need at least a couple of days,” he says.


While origami is the art of folding paper into various shapes, kirigami involves folding as well as cutting paper into different shapes.

“Kirigami is a variant of origami. In kirigami, the paper is cut to make a base and then small cuts are made in the base. The base is then opened and flattened to give it a shape. I started with origami as it is a popular hobby. Many people have started making them and have progressed to kirigami, which is a slightly more complex form of this Japanese art,” he says. 

“I enjoy doing both of these. Both are detailed and completely depends on the person making them as to how many layers and details he or she wants to add. I use a special origami paper and a French paper which are great for origami. It is difficult to fold with the normal paper,” he explains.

From easy, colourful pieces like layered passion ball, a heart box, card suits etc to complex detailed pieces like the ancient dragon, eagle, retriever, divine dragon, dinosaurs, layered swan and replica of famous buildings like Eiffel Tower, Petronas Towers, Sydney Opera House etc, Nikhil has a very interesting collection.

He adds that many people take an interest in his hobby as they look very attractive and have expressed the desire to learn from him.

“There are many who want to learn the art after seeing my exhibits. I feel if one has a knack in the art, one need not learn. There are numerous ‘Do It Yourself’ videos on the internet and learning such a popular art is not very difficult. What can be challenging is the amount of time, patience and focus that the art demands. It was difficult to pick them up initially, but I kept practising and got the hang of it finally,” he notes.

He says that when he just started making them, completing the most basic exhibit would give him immense joy, but now, he aims to make more complex and detailed structures. 

Though they are time-consuming, making them is a huge stress buster and it has improved his ability to focus.

“Pursuing a hobby like origami and kirigami has many benefits. My concentration power has not only increased by leaps and bounds, I am also better at calculations as a lot of mathematics is involved in it. Also, one has to memorise many folds and that helps me in my class as well. It has increased my confidence level. I have managed to master many complex models and completing them gives me a lot of satisfaction,” he says.

Nikhil has already started reading about origami and kirigami to improve his skills and says that reading up online is not enough.

“Origami is a very interesting subject and I realised that I should not limit myself to surfing and reading online. Hence I bought some books on it recently. My parents have been very supportive and have helped me in all ways possible. They encourage me to try out more models,” he details.

He draws inspiration from some big names in origami like Robert Lang, an American origami theorist; Akira Yoshizawa, the grandmaster of origami; and Meenakshi Mukherjee, a modular origami specialist. 

For now, Nikhil wants to learn more about his hobby and try out complex models. He plans to delve deeper into it and increase his knowledge in origami. 

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