Origami snake wins blue ribbon at fair

Miriam Campan
Friday, July 30, 2021
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This imposing looking snake won’t bite, but could give a formidable paper cut.
Photo courtesy of Bella Wengappuly

At this year’s fair, Bella Wengappuly won a blue ribbon . . . for a snake.
In this case, it is a 6-foot-long snake created from a single sheet of paper taking Wengappuly over 50 hours to fold. Wengappuly practices the art of origami, where a single sheet of paper is transformed into a finished sculpture through folding.
Wengappuly began folding and pressing origami creations in elementary school and increased her skills in middle school. She continued her education by watching origami experts on YouTube create paper magic.
“I began with simple designs, like frogs and fortune tellers, and gradually moved to more complex designs,” said Wengappuly.
More complex designs demand a working knowledge of paper as the artist’s medium.
“I’ve done a lot of research on paper. When creating really complex geometric shapes with sharper edges, stiff paper is necessary,” she said.
After selecting a coiled snake for her fair entry project, Wengappuly headed to Hobby Lobby where she purchased one long roll of craft paper and began folding. After 50 hours of folding, Wengappuly also painted the origami snake using spray paint, and entered it in the fair. A wire stand holds the head of the snake up in a striking pose.
Wengappuly offers advice for aspiring origami artists.
“I’d love it if kids took up origami. To begin, I would suggest looking up easy origami folds on YouTube. Don’t be afraid and just mess around. It’s paper. Take it out and start folding,” she said.
Wengappuly is a Fergus High School graduate who plans to attend the University of Montana with a double-major in wildlife biology and computer science.