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Iowa Excitement

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Never let it be said that our nation's Midwestern youth is all about drugs and farm animals. If you think origami and chess aren't exciting enough for you, how about combining them?

Kelly Pierce spends hours folding small pieces of paper for her origami projects. This summer she turned her attention to creating a red and white origami chess set that ultimately won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair.

"I really hope someone sees it, says, 'that's cool' and wants to learn how to do it," she said.

I was prepared to be cynical, but the red, white, and blue touch put it over. Is there anything in the world that can't be made better by slathering it in e'er more patriotic goodness? No closeups of the pieces, unfortunately. I've never been into collecting sets and boards. I've accumulated a few bought out of necessity while traveling, but New York apartments aren't conducive to collecting anything other than matchboxes and dustbunnies. Origami would be ideal. You could just flatten them out and pop them back up to play. I can make an origami boulder; chess sets might take a while.


Bobby Fischer had a cool set--the one he studied with:
Cool knights, cool rooks, contrasting finials on top of the bishops, all the pieces nicely proportioned in relation to one another. I assume he got it in Yugoslavia or someplace--probably Gligorich or someone gave it to him.

The linked article describes how her fourth-grade teacher had the class make a thousand origami cranes. It sounds Buddhist, flooding the world with peaceful energy. The article says she makes origami figures for the love of it; demonstrating her craft for younger school kids and not taking money for her creations.

She uses the flag in a healthy, positive spirit; not as a symbol for a political cause, but as a vehicle for her beloved origami art, and probably to express her appreciation for what she's been given.

The article doesn't say whether she has any interest in playing chess, but if she does, (or even if she doesn't) let's hope this remarkable girl meets nothing but encouragement.

I strongly recommend anyone learn to at least make the usual origami swan. It's a great way to immediately engage and entertain (and quiet) children with minimal props required. Not as good as being able to stick a pencil up your nose, but not bad and less painful.

I was never an artsy-craftsy kid. My Boy Scout troop (71!) spent a lot of time playing capture the flag and going on interminable hikes that gave me blisters I can still feel. My sister's Girl Scouts got to make all sorts of cool stuff.

How to make a swan:


Video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDlGBjOnqUk

The chess set is red and white only. No blue.
No patriotic color scheme. Simply red and white.

Yes, she won a "blue" ribbon at the fair but it wasn't a part of her project.

Well, then I don't like it anymore. I guess mine eye was fooled by all the blue in the composition and the flag below the table.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on August 22, 2006 12:09 AM.

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