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BIOGRAPHY

Origami artist, Omer Shalev began studying origami at age of seven while attending summer camp. In spite of his young age, Omer was fascinated with origami's endless possibilities and intrigued by the discipline, organization, and preparation required to fold a single piece of paper into a recognizable object of art. With initiative and boundless curiosity, he began to seek out literature on the subject but soon discovered that there was little available... and that much of it was in Japanese.

Origami is an art form that adheres to clear-cut axioms and processes with a specific mathematical correctness to each creation. Omer began to explore all the possibilities of taking this regimented discipline and expanding the boundaries beyond the accepted norms, experimenting with texture, color, shape, and complexity. Never quite satisfied with the idea of folding what others had already folded, he began experimenting with his own designs. After acquiring the complex fundamentals of the art form, he was accepted as a member of Origami-USA, attending both domestic and international conventions. Soon, his skills and creative taalent became so lauded that he was urged to teach, lecture and exhibit his original, meticulously structured models.

Omer has conducted workshops at the Museum of Natural History and M.I.T., as well as several other museums and notable forums. He privately tutors other promising artists and has exhibited in several galleries in New York City. Recognized as "the origami artist," Omer also does custom work for collectors, interior decorators, event and wedding planners and cake bakers. Each custom piece is signed and dated.

Now a young man, Omer continues to push the boundaries of this art form, always reaching for the aesthetically beautiful within the mathematically correct. His individual, natural flowing pieces adhere to the principles of origami heightened by his passion, energy and unique eye for beauty. 

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Omer is committed to designing original pieces through a specific process, designed to ensure that inspiration comes as much from himself as possible. Omer is dedicated to elevating origami to a universal art form, through acting with integrity throughout his process. He not only focuses on the aesthetics of the final piece, but also concise sequencing, friendly angles, simplified structures, thin layers, and minimal pleating. His pieces are only considered finished when the entire life cycle of the piece has been refined. Omer’s process is a mix of trial and error, extemporization, and evolutions of previous works.

ABOUT ORIGAMI

The word "origami" is a combination of two Japanese words: "ori," meaning to fold, and "kami," meaning paper. Origami is unique from other forms in that it relies on single medium - one or more flat pieces of paper - to create a complete sculpture, without the aid of any other tools or materials..

Japanese origami began sometime after Buddhist monks carried paper to Japan during the 6th century. The growth of interest in origami dates to 1954, when Akira Yoshizawa established and published a notation system to indicate origami folds, which soon became the standard language of origami. The first Japanese origami from this period and was used for religious ceremonial purposes only, due to the high price of paper.

Origami sculptures often resemble familiar objects and creatures, but may also be geometric figures that rely simply on their own beauty and complexity. Today the popularity of origami has given rise to exclusive societies such as the British Origami Society and Origami USA. 

Sadako and the Thousand Cranes

One of the most popular origami designs is the Japanese crane. The crane is auspicious in Japanese culture. Legend says that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will have their heart's desire come true. The origami crane has become a symbol of peace because of this belief and because a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki was exposed to atomic radiation in the bombing of Hiroshima as an infant. By the time she was twelve in 1955, she was dying of leukemia. Hearing the legend, she decided to fold one thousand origami cranes so that she could live. However, when she saw that other children in her ward were dying, she realized that she would not survive and wished instead for world peace and an end to suffering. 

A popular version of the tale is that Sadako folded 644 cranes before she died; her classmates then continued folding cranes in honor of their friend. She was buried with a wreath of 1,000 cranes to honor her dream. While her effort could not extend her life, it moved her friends to make a granite statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park: a girl standing with her hands outstretched, a paper crane flying from her fingertips. Every year the statue is adorned with thousands of wreaths of a thousand origami cranes. A group of one thousand paper cranes is called senbazuru in Japanese.

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