World-renowned paper artist Beth Johnson got her start when she got an origami book for Christmas when she was eight. She quickly (for an eight-year-old) blew through the beginner’s-level book and moved onto more involved designs. She began giving the finished pieces as gifts, like the Santa Claus complete with sled and twelve reindeer she gave to her Grandmother. She had become so adept by fifth grade, her art teacher asked her to teach a class on the art.
Much of traditional origami is based upon established methods of paper folding, but a few years ago, Johnson wanted to make an owl for her niece and couldn’t find a design she liked. So she decided to try and create something entirely original. She still occasionally makes more traditional designs, but it’s her original crease patterns that have gotten her so much attention. Her tessellation technique and use of multiple pieces of paper in a single design have become her signature style, and they’ve forever changed the world of origami art. But as much as I love her more complex styles, I find myself equally drawn to her more modern, spare designs. She’s an amazingly versatile artist!
Not only is Johnson generous with her art, she’s also generous with her knowledge! Check out her how-to videos. I am probably not going to attempt them, but they were a true pleasure to watch.
All images property of Beth Johnson.