We first came across Ross Symons origami when, while going through some of our orders for the day we noticed the most incredible stash of colourful animal origami. We posted the photo on our Instagram and people were quick to point out they were in fact created by Capetonian paper shaper @white_onrice. Ross passed the half way mark of his 365 project 5 weeks ago, and has created the most beautiful origami, from tiny cranes, beetles, camels, the pyramids of Egypt all the way to brand logos including those of Hello Pretty (which took 120 min to fold), Nike, Adidas, Facebook and Gmail. We’re not so subtly hinting that we would love to see an Instagram logo or Nifty ‘N’ pop up on his feed sometime #yespleaseandthankyou.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I grew up in Johannesburg. I studied a few times – Audio/visual production management, Hotel school, software development. I tried my hand at guitar for a good 12 years but ended up making electronic music (computers made more sense to me than an instrument). I was a radio DJ for a few years then I moved to Cape Town in 2010 and started working in advertising as a Web Developer. I currently do some freelance web development and origami as well as run a small electronics based company with my buddy Mike.
Origami Napkin Rose – Traditional Design folded by Me Fold time: 5mins
2. When did you start playing around with origami and when did it become a passion of yours?
My brother Brad asked me to try learn how to fold an origami crane for his 3rd year graphic design project in 2004. From then I just carried on folding crane after crane. Whenever I had a beer in front of me I’d peel the label off, tear it into a square and fold a crane. My buddy Mike always used to say to me, “Geez like, are you still folding those?”
I’d leave my job in the afternoons and notice paper animals and flowers scattered around my desk. I realized then that I had a passion for folding paper shapes.
At the beginning of 2013 I created an Instagram account and only posted origami figures.
Whenever I had a few spare minutes and a sheet of paper in front of me I would fold something, and that hasn’t stopped. I keep small paper squares in my wallet just in case I have a few minutes to doodle.
3. We noticed that you just passed the half way mark on your 365 origami Instagram project, when you started it did you realize how much work it would take?
From the beginning I’ve tried to stop myself from thinking about how much I’ve got to do and prepare. I started the project thinking “What am I gonna to fold next?” and I use that as my mantra. If I start thinking about the end I just try go back to those words.
Origami Sailing ship ploughing through waves – Designed by Francesco Miglionico folded by Me Fold time: 20mins
4. Where do you find inspiration of new origami designs? Also where do you buy your paper?
I love film so I am always thinking about how I could fold cult movie icons and characters.
When I walk into an office or building, I look around to see how I could fill the empty or ordinary spaces with origami. Origami installations is where I’d like to focus my energy. Collaborations with other artists/designers/creatives is something that inspires me.
The internet is a great place for inspiration too. Instagram is top of my list and there are a few websites I frequently visit (http://www.origami-resource-center.com/, http://www.origami-instructions.com/, http://www.giladorigami.com/).
In South Africa there are limited places to buy origami paper but The Deckle Edge in Woodstock is a pretty good place for many kinds. I also buy paper from an awesome online origami site – http://origami-shop.com/. And because I cant find the right paper I’ve recently started making my own origami paper too.
Origami Dromedary Camel – Designed by Jacob Ewing folded by Me Fold time: 25mins
5. Some of your designs take 5 minutes to complete, but we also spotted the Hello Pretty logo which took 120 minutes – which is the hardest, longest origami you’ve ever made?
This guy was pretty hectic..
Origami Spread Hex Tessellation – Designed by Eric Gjerde folded by Me Fold time: 2:45mins
I had to learn a new way of folding for this so I think thats the reason it took so long. But I had a lot of fun folding it.
Tiny Crane – Traditional Design folded by Me Fold time: 10mins
6. What’s your favourite thing to do, other than origami?
– Hanging out with my family and friends, going down to Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Bree street, but I also just love doing nothing sometimes.
7. Do you follow any other cool projects on Instagram?
@florigami_concept – her account inspires quite a bit of my work, @cardstories, @lorraineloots (we interviewed Lorraine here), @legojacker
Origami Facebook Logo – Designed by Jeremy Shafer folded by Me Fold time: 10mins
Origami Nike Swoosh – Designed and folded by Me Fold time: 15mins
Origami Gmail Logo – Designed by Gilad Aharoni folded by Me Fold time: 10mins
Origami Google Android – Designed by Gerwin Sturm folded by Me Fold time: 30mins
Origami Apple Logo – Designed by Oscar Osorio folded by Me Fold time: 15mins
Origami ADIDAS Logo – Designed and folded by Me for @adidasza Fold time: 20mins
8. Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram?
Sipho Mabona @mabonaorigami – my greatest origami inspiration, Nikki Albertyn @nikkialbertyn, Anson Chang @anson_chang_origami, Craig Rodney @craigrodney, Banksy @banksy, Andy Fenner @andyfenner
9. What is your greatest extravagance?
Origami paper, electronic bits ‘n ‘pieces and chocolate
10. What is your most treasured possession?
It’s a book which explains the concepts of designing origami called, “Origami Design Secrets”. I’m not a religious person but this is my bible. I take it almost everywhere I go.
11. Once you’ve finished this 365 project, do you have another one in the pipeline?
What I’ve learnt during this project is that, what I do tomorrow isn’t always what I planned yesterday. I have a few ideas but I would like to do something with stop motion and film. I enjoy photographing origami a lot and would like to experiment with it a bit.
Ross’s top 5 origami projects
Yoda – Designed by Fumiaki Kawahata and folded by Me, he was…
250 Origami Pigs – Designed for The Bacon of the Month Club and folded by Me Fold time: 5mins x 250
Origami Water Bomb Tessellation – Designed by Eric Gjerde folded by Me Fold time: 25mins
Origami Scarab Beetle – Designed by Robert Lang folded by Me Fold time: 90mins
Origami Butterflies on canvas – Designed and folded by Me for Le Quartier Français. Fold time: Long