By Sarah Vasquez
Other Side Drive October 19, 2012
On the Other Hand
To divert his attention from the cup, his mom taught him other simple origami and has been doing it ever since. He says he was driving home from an origami demonstration where he taught at a local school how to create a penguin. He says that penguin design looked like a B-wing from Star Wars, so he started to fold it into a B-Wing. “And I was excited cause I never really planned on making any of my models at this point, but here I am creating a Star Wars model and I was very happy, but made a goal that I would make an X-Wing at the end of the month.”
He came up with the X-wing. A week later, he showed a friend, who was a special effects artist and a Star Wars fan, what he had created. His friend asked him what else he could make and told him he needed to write a book on Star Wars Origami. Alexander says he didn’t know how, but his friend told him to teach himself. “Why not? He had a point. I could teach myself how to do it and I liked the challenge. I just thought I would give it a shot.” Star Wars Origami came out in August. Alexander says his first version of the book had 15 models based on Episode 4 with an idea of doing six books for each episode. However, publishers wanted the whole trilogy in one book. So he kept making models as the movies came out. “Sometimes, I’d see a cool ship. I’d go like cool. I wanna do that. Sometimes the process is I need to make this and I start folding it trying to figure out how to get to it and sometimes I was trying to make an X-Wing at some point and I came up with something like looked vaguely like Jabba the Hut. So It was in the wrong direction for a X-wing, but it later became Jabba the Hut.”
Now for the promotion of the book, Alexander travels when he’s not at his day job as an air traffic controller to show people how to make the designs. He says maybe in a couple of years, it’ll get really old, but right now, he enjoys traveling to different places and meeting people. To him, it still doesn’t feel real. “Beyond that, it’s when you’ve been doing something and trying to get it… had 15 years of rejection, people saying no, it’ll never sell. We’re not interested. Publishers, agents and then now finally have it in my hands after all that, it’s almost like a habit that you’re trying to break that is eventually going to happen, but now it actually has happened. It’s very strange and hard to get used to.” Alexander will appear at Austin Comic Con on Sunday, October 28 at Austin Convention Center where he will demonstrate and teach Star Wars origami figures.Some of Chris Alexander’s co-workers thought his last name was really “Origami,” but really it’s just a nickname. He says that he’s been called that for years.
Alexander is the author of the recently-released book, Star Wars Origami. He has done origami for years, but found his niche when he discovered Star Wars when he was 13-years-old. “I read the book. I was instantly hooked and then when we saw the movie, that was it. Another lifelong obsession.” Alexander’s mom used to take him and his brothers and sisters to the library as a big day out. She would grab books off the shelves and read it to them. One day, she grabbed an origami book thinking it was a Japanese story and Alexander says that’s when he became interested in it. He was four-years-old. He says he told her to make her a couple of things he saw in the book, and she taught him how to make a simple paper cup. “And I’d bring it to the dinner table and I’d want my milk or juice or whatever in the cup and it wouldn’t stand up. It’s a really flat cup and I’d whine and complain and they put a little juice in there and I’d want more and it would fall apart.”