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She knows when to fold them: An origami artist works in Peterborough

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  STAFF PHOTO BY Abby Kessler

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Jillian Karlicek, a student at ConVal, showcases origami that she made at her parents’ house in Peterborough.  Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, July 10, 2017

Sitting on a couch in her parent’s living room on a recent Wednesday, Jill Karlicek peeled a long, thin strip from a sheet of colored paper and quickly folded it.

Once the entire piece had been creased she pinched it a number of times, and then opened her hand to show what she had made. In her palm sat a tiny blue star, about the size of a dime. It took her somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 seconds to make.

Jill tossed the little star on a nearby coffee table and then got up and walked over to a TV stand where she plucked a glass jar from a stack of other material laying on the mantle. The wavy glass jar, the size of a small water pitcher, was filled with hundreds of tiny stars, these ones mostly black.

“I don’t know these are just fun to make, I don’t have to think about it,” Jill said.

Jill then went over to a dining room table in another room to retrieve an earring rack. She placed it back down on the coffee table, small stars, like the blue one she had just made and the ones in the jar, dangled from metal earring hooks.

“They’re kind of cute,” Jill said about the small pieces of jewelry. “I wear them sometimes. If they match my outfit”

She sat back down and pulled out a 7 X 7 piece of colored paper from a stack and easily folded it into a paper crane.

“I’ve probably made thousands of these,” Jill said casually, this time folding slowly to demonstrate the steps.

She riffled off a flurry of directions that included instructions like “boat fold” and another one that creates an object with “walkie legs,” neither which make much sense when you read it in print but are perfectly clear when you’re looking at Jill folding the sheet.

Jill has been told by her parents that she was 5 years old when a babysitter showed her how to make a paper crane for the first time. She doesn’t remember, but she does know that now she’s hooked. She doesn’t need to follow any set of instructions to make cranes anymore, or an array of other objects including butterflies and boxes that she can recreates from memory.

Recently, her designs have become more intricate, too.

Two 3D multi-colored swans sit on the dining room table, the bird constructed out of hundreds of 3 X 3 pieces of brightly-colored paper folded and then placed on top of one another.

She also has started creating decorative balls of various sizes called kusudama, an ancient Japanese word that literally means “medicine ball.” Today, the creations are most commonly used as decorations.

Jill says her work often sits in a number of oversized bins that her parents store in the basement, and are full of paper flowers, intricate boxes, and complicated animals like dragons. She says when her mom, Beth, rearranges the house, she’ll use Jill’s work to redecorate. When Christmas comes around, Jill says she hangs some of her creations from the Christmas tree, paper ornaments and garlands dangling from the branches.

“It’s a highly flammable tree,” Jill joked.

In May, Jill was Dublin Community Center’s artist of the month. She set up her bins of work in the space and people mulled around and looked at her work. People even bought some of the stuff she has made.

“It was really cool to have people pay money for the things I’ve made,” she said.

Jill said her parents were thrilled to get rid of some of it during the event, too.

“We’re going to have to move into a bigger house if she keeps going this way,” Jill’s dad, Frank joked.

But Jill has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

This past spring she went to visit her grandmother in Allentown, Pennsylvania and went to an art museum where professional origami makers were showing their work. There she saw an exhibit of floating origami made out of tissue paper.

She said she hasn’t tried it yet, but she wants to.

If she learns, she could see it having more practical applications, most notably as light fixtures. She said that would be cool.

Jill’s dad a person at their church in Dublin recently asked her to make hundreds of butterflys for an upcoming production of Madama Butterfly. She said she would. 

When asked how many hours she spends on origami each week, Jill can’t even venture a guess.

“Too much,” she said with a laugh. “Way, way more time than I do watching TV.”

She said the activity calms her. She does it in class while she’s listening to her teachers at ConVal High School, and at home she wants to put off doing homework for a little while.

“I like to draw too, but I haven’t done that in awhile,” she said. “Origami is definitely my favorite type of art.” 

 

If you want to make your own paper butterfly, pick up a copy of this article at your local newsstands and cut this article out on the dotted lines and follow these instructions. 

Step 1: Start with a square piece of paper.

Step 2: Fold the paper in half by folding upper left corner to lower right corner.

Step 3: Unfold.

Step 4: Fold in half again by folding upper right corner to lower left.

Step 5: Unfold. 

Step 6: Fold in half again by folding top half back.

Step 7: Unfold. 

Step 8: With finger, push down middle so it pops in. 

Step 9: Push left and right sides in (this will form a triangle).

Step 10: Fold the left corner of the top layer to the top corner of the triangle. 

Step 11: Fold the right corner to the top corner.

Step 12: Turn over. 

Step 13: Fold the bottom of the triangle up so that a small portion of the top corner is showing. 

Step 14: Turn over.

Step 15: Pull down the left flap of the triangle and the side will be forced to bend in. Fold and flatten the side down. 

Step 16: Pull the right flap and fold in the side. 

Step 17: Turn over.

Step 18: Fold down the top triangle.

Step 19: Fold a large part of the triangle back up, but leave some of the parts folded down. 

Step 20: Fold left side under the right side. 

Step 21: Diagonally fold the wings. 

Step 22: Turn over. 

Step 23: Fold the other wings the same way.

Step 24: Open the wings and voila — you have a butterfly!