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Why Keep a Journal -Creativity Through Origami

Why Keep a Journal -Creativity Through Origami post image

In addition to keeping a written journal, I periodically take pictures of the worktable in my studio, the place where I do most of my paper folding. This is my visual journal. The video below shows this table as it appeared at different times throughout 2013.  Click to see videos of my visual journals in 2012 and 2011.

For many years I have kept different journals. My basic journal is a book with one page per calendar day where I write daily. My primary purpose for keeping a journal has been to develop an awareness of those moments in my life that I consider unique or beautiful.
Journaling has become a valuable tool for understanding daily events, moods, and the outcomes of decisions made. This journal reflects my quiet inner self, one that we all have, and helps me refine what I want to accomplish.

Origami has claimed a prominent place in my journal, in my home, my studio, and my life. The discipline of writing on a daily basis has helped me accept the practice of origami as a valid path, as a passion, and as a fundamental factor in the ever surprising equation that makes up my life.

Keeping a journal can help one to

  • Record ideas and projects
  • Work out and monitor the growth of concepts in development.
  • Have a place of reference to revisit and be a source for ideas.
  • Freely record impressions and feelings of events and relationships.
  • Document progress toward goals.
  • Address doubts and face fears.
  •  Define paths to follow and celebrate achievements.
  • Organize priorities and distill what is most important and meaningful.

Full list of visual journals published on different years:

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{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Delimar Barany April 21, 2020, 4:13 pm

    Hello Leyla,
    I love your blog, and your spirituality.
    This is a great idea, I always make origami and crafts for my grandchildren, it brings to me a lot of peace
    I’m going to try something like that 😊
    Thanks a lot for share your ideas 🙏🏻❤️
    Delimar Barany
    Houston / Texas

    • Leyla Torres April 21, 2020, 9:32 pm

      Hello Delimar and welcome to Origami Spirit. I’m happy you like what you find here and glad that you can share it with your grandchildren.

  • Sally McDonald January 16, 2015, 5:47 pm

    Leyla, at Hobby Lobby I have found some green paper on a roll that is 4 feet wide and about the weight of wrapping paper, I think. Could I cut a 4 foot square to begin making a large Christmas tree like you made with the 7 units? Do you think it could hold its own weight? I made that tree according to your directions and it is the most beautiful Christmas thing I made besides the nativity! Please let me know your thoughts on such an undertaking. I love your tutorials and make almost every one of them. Thank you for the instructions and inspiration.

    • Leyla Torres January 16, 2015, 6:05 pm

      Hi Sally,
      I haven’t made a model with such a large square out of gift wrap. My instinct says that a thicker paper would be more appropriate for such a large model.

  • KDianne Stephens January 10, 2014, 7:51 pm

    You video journal is lovely Leyla. Some may enjoy exploring this year long 2014 Art Journal Workshop. http://artjournalist.com/journal52-free-year-long-art-journal-workshop/

  • Danielle January 9, 2014, 11:43 pm

    Hi Leyla,

    Such a fun video! It’s neat to see all that goes on the year. That’s a lot of projects and thoughts.

    How do you recommend printing origami paper at home? It seems like most printer paper would be too thick (especially the inkjet paper) to fold gracefully. Also, the ink for our old inkjet printer ran at the slightest hint of moisture. I’m wondering what to look for printer ink and paper when printing for origami. Thanks!

    And thanks for sharing views of your worktable! I look forward to this post all year.


    • Leyla Torres January 10, 2014, 10:29 am

      Printer paper is thicker than ‘origami’ kami paper, but still good to make plenty of simple and intermediate models.
      Something that has worked for me is to have the paper printed at my local print shop. For the black and white patters, it turns out to be pretty reasonable in price (10 sheets for $1 dollar). For the color patters a bit more pricey, but if it is for a special occasion, I’m happy to have it printed.

      Here are samples of models I have folded with printer paper:



      Fortune pouch



      • Danielle January 10, 2014, 11:12 pm

        Thanks for the info on printing. I like the effect of printing on colored paper. Wonderful job of presentation in the photos and of course the original video in this post! Thanks again for all of your efforts in sharing your work!

  • Carol January 9, 2014, 5:05 pm

    Leyla, Happy New Year! Your site is my most favorite origami site. As a beginner, you always help me feel relaxed while I’m folding and your creations that I can create make me smile. I love the cute little red bear in your journal. Are there instructions for him?

  • Tara January 9, 2014, 10:48 am

    Leyla, thank you for sharing your Origami Year in Review! So beautiful and inspiring! Haha, I especially love when your sweet kitty makes her guest appearances! Wishing you and your dear ones a healthy, happy 2014!

    • Leyla Torres January 9, 2014, 11:32 am

      Thank you Tara. Kitty Coco is the “queen” of my studio…she loves watching birds from a windowsill next to my work table. So the table is a step towards and from the window.

  • Rita Teo January 8, 2014, 8:19 pm

    Hi Leyla, that’s a great way to keep a journal! I keep a written one and every now and then may glue one onto my journal when the mood takes me. I would love to fold the teddy bear origami. Do you have a video on that?

  • Rosemary Browne January 8, 2014, 4:58 pm

    Hi Leyla:

    What a wonderfully-productive year. You have given so generously to us all in The Year of Origami 2013! Amazing accomplishments and all of your tutorials are so beautifully presented.

    Your work table looks very similar to mine … there is always a new model happening, as well as seasonal themes. The activity throughout a year is indeed too much for our memories to recall and a journal is a great idea.

    Thank you so much for all you give, Leyla.


    • Leyla Torres January 8, 2014, 5:32 pm

      Thank you Rosemary. What happens when I revisit these photos is that all of a sudden I remember ideas that somehow were put aside. I feel refreshed and energized again.

  • Laurence W January 8, 2014, 3:47 pm

    This video is fun !

  • Dawn Tucker January 8, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Thanks so much, Leyla! I look forward to this every year! :-)

  • Nancy Backes January 8, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Great, I’ll look forward to those in the future and meanwhile will enjoy your latest videos – along with exploring your past videos in the archives. Thanks for the fantastic videos! I really like the models you choose.

  • Nancy Backes January 8, 2014, 2:32 pm

    These worktable videos are fun. I like to see the ideas evolving and then suddenly it is on to something new. I was intrigued by the origami nativity scene in December. Are diagrams for that published somewhere? Are the figures your own design? I liked those nativity figures.

    • Leyla Torres January 8, 2014, 3:04 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      The Nativity scene is a design I created at the beginning of December. No instructions are available yet. At that moment, all my December videos were already planned, so I decide to leave making videos of those figures for 2014.

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