Essential Elements of an Origami Tessellation – Interview Excerpt with Madonna Yoder

In this interview excerpt, Madonna Yoder shares the essential elements of an origami tessellation and how to begin making them. Within this clip, you will also hear Madonna describe the tessellations she’s made using different fabrics.

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The full 60-minute interview with Madonna Yoder is published at Origamigos, our membership site. In addition to topics discussed in the above excerpt, we address topics related to her life and origami practice including…

  • Do people need to be good at math to learn how to make tessellations?
  • What did you find challenging about tessellations and how have you overcome that?
  • What basic principles can people use for easy tessellation-making?
  • Being a science-fiction lover, do you draw any relationship between origami and science fiction?
  • You love dancing. Is there a relationship between tessellations and dancing?

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Madonna Yoder focuses her work on tessellations, the unlimited potential options in the realm of infinitely repeating geometric patterns folded from a single sheet of paper.

Madonna has been running her own business, Gathering Folds, since 2020. She focuses on creating these patterns and teaching other origami folders how to fold and design them too.

Madonna has created over 390 original tessellation designs since 2018 and produced a series of resources for tessellation folders of all levels since 2021.

With a background in geology and ecology from MIT and an abiding love for science fiction sagas, she describes herself as a nerd’s nerd who has coded in 5 programming languages, enjoys tending her garden, social dancing, singing, and playing volleyball when she isn’t folding paper.

Madonna started making her own tessellation patterns in 2018 after taking a Geometric Folding Algorithms class during her final semester at MIT and presenting her class project at the 7th International Conference on Origami in Science, Mathematics, and Education (7OSME).

After making some smocked pieces––a technique of creating patterns from gathered fabric––for the Museum of Mathematics in NYC for their Math Unfolded exhibit, Madonna decided to go into business bringing these origami and smocking patterns to a wider audience.

As I’m folding I have a constant refrain of “wouldn’t it be cool if …” going through my head.

~Madonna Yoder

Please visit Madonna’s website and social media channels:


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