Meet Manasa Nadipalli, a Cary resident and an Origami artist. She specializes in Paintings, Vegetable Carving, Origami work, Paper Crafts, and owns her own retail boutique.

Simple, yet inspiring, are my thoughts after speaking with Manasa. She calls herself a person who does not know much, but to me that was just being down-to-earth. Being an enthusiastic sketcher from her college days, she has progressed to become an artist learning to paint, learning Origami from the scratch, hosting birthday parties with her Origami work, volunteering for teaching kids craft activities at local institutions. She actively volunteers her time and dedication to some of the activities at Chinmaya Mission and SV Balaji Temple at Cary during weekends and festivals. Here is an interview with her that will help us learn a little bit more about her Origami work and her other arts and craft pursuits.

A. Can you give a brief background about you?

I am from Andhra Pradesh in India, and hold a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Science. My interest in arts and crafts started during my school days. I was inspired by my mom who does a lot of crocheting, beadwork, embroidery etc. I saw her and learnt from her. I used to hand embroider around 10-15 sarees during my school and college days. I came to the United States in 2012 and started pursuing my artwork. A passion of pencil sketching turned into a full-time trial of landscape paintings, abstracts, sketching and coloring with words. I also love to do Rangoli and plan my own designs during festivals.

B. When did you start the Origami work? What inspired you to start this work?

I saw an Origami advertisement on TV and got interested in it. I then started to learn the art by taking a newspaper and trying out some foldings. I started watching more programs on UNC channel and stepped up my effort on this work. I researched art books, went through several videos on YouTube and started the intricate folds of the paper art. This artwork requires a special kind of paper, so I brought them and started full-fledged on this.


C. How do you keep the interest up? Do you do things different every time? Where do you go for ideas?

Origami art was more a hobby for me – I used to take any paper available on hand to try out different things. Then I wanted to do Origami theme for my daughter’s first birthday. I tried baby baskets, flowers, shoes, head bows, baby butterflies and Japanese paper dolls. I also decorated the entire hall with paper crafts that I made for the occasion. Everyone appreciated the art and that motivated me.

D. You mentioned you also do events like baby shower decoration, birthday party decorations with Origami art. How did that come by?

People who had seen me decorate at home during the birthday party came to me and asked me to teach Origami for kids. I used to give kids tips and advice on Origami art. I planned on a theme for my daughter’s birthday and used banner sheets, birthday numbers, writings, funny photo booth etc. to set the stage. I added some of these decorations on my Facebook page and some moms asked me to do their baby shower decorations.

I also do volunteer work at Chinmaya Mission. I made Origami lotus flowers during Shivatri and the idol was bedecked with these flowers. Chinmaya Mission has a branch called CORD and they often approach me for paper art there. Last year, for the CORD 5k run I did balloon columns, added some recycled craft tables, gave ideas on how to convert used T-shirts in to bags. I collected 50 different shirt sizes and then did a demonstration on turning them in to useful totes. I used bathroom tissue rolls to make colorful butterflies, star war themes etc. It is based on my imagination and sometimes customers want different types of decorations. I learn from them. I believe in perfection, so that gives me a perfect learning opportunity every time.

E. Are you an origami “purist” (no taping, gluing, ripping or multiple sheets of paper) and design your Origami crafts with just a sheet of paper?

For Origami, I do everything with folding – no glue, no tapes. For other paper craft, I apply glue. Once you apply glue you cannot do folding properly. The paper becomes hard to fold. It requires patience, focus and effort.

F. What kind of paper do you use? Have you thought about using your basic paintings on paper for Origami art?

At first, I used newspapers and magazine papers to try this out. Then I learnt that a special Origami paper is used to do the craft. I then started buying those to make different things every time. I have not used my paintings for art but I will learn and do it. That is my motto!

G. Your idea of showing the Origami work in videos is amazing. What made you do the videos?

The folding is key for any attempt in Origami art. It is important to remember the steps in the folding, so that it comes out well. In order to help the kids remember this, I started making videos of my work so that it would be simple for them to revisit the video and try it on their own.

Check out some of her videos at:

H. You are also an artist doing paintings, artwork. How did that passion come about?

I am good at pencil sketching. That helped set a base for other artwork – canvas, acrylic paintings, water paintings. I also like the style of fonts. I remember a time when I was at school, I used to sketch using letters and fonts. I tried writing every one of my classmates’ name with different colors and styling. I love drawings, so naturally, that excited me to try artwork. I also sketched Gurudev Chinmayanandaji using the word “OM” – it was a laborious work, but totally worth it!

I. You tried some Madhubani paintings too. What made you choose that artwork? How difficult is this art?

I saw Madhubani paintings by a person on Facebook and tried painting on my own. In other artwork, you draw the outline and then shade it. But Madhubani is all about perfection. You need to know the exact sketching, and you spend hours drawing line by line, coloring the small and tiny parts to get the final picture. You cannot put two colors and blend it in this type of painting.

J. Do you have new ideas you want to try in 2017? What are they?

I want to do interior decoration out of recycled items and crafts for my home. I always would say I learnt from people – so if someone comes with an idea, I will try it out.

K. As an artist, what are some of the top three things one should focus on while working on Origami art?

  1. Patience in folding – Start with it and complete it. Do not get distracted in between.
  2. Focus is essential – memorizing the steps is important.
  3. Each and every folding is critical to give a perfect picture. Each module is different. For example: one lotus needs 9 foldings and a logical completion of these nine steps help make it in to a beautiful flower.

Origami is not easy, it really needs interest!

L. What advice would you give to new artists who want to succeed in the arts and crafts field?

In regular life everything is simple and routine. Something different is needed and that is what I thought about. The next wave of Origami will be simple and mixed with crafts. Creativity using Origami has no limits and I would encourage people interested to try it out.

M. Multi-tasking seems to be your favorite idea and I love this enthusiasm. How do you manage time and effort? Any tips?

It just happened. When people approach me, I do not want to say no. Do whatever you enjoy is my motto. Chinmaya mission encourages kids to do artwork. I used to see those, experiment it and learn from it. I also introduced art to my daughter at an early stage to painting and she learnt enthusiastically. I do craft out of recycled things, and my daughter now uses scissors to do her own crafts. I did Thomas goodie bags and she helped me glue that. She turns off the TV and helps me with it! I am excited that she is able to participate in all this at such a young age. It just happens – no secret to it.

N. What is your vision for the Origami Art? Where do you want to take this?

I do want to mix Origami art with some artwork and make a mixed concept. Flowers, trees, animals, baby stuff etc. I do want to try out different things. Next level of Origami is different – something that I cannot describe, but I will try it!

O. I see community involvement in some of your art efforts. How do you reach out and make this a common vision?

My husband and I do volunteering work. I helped in the SV Balaji temple volunteer group to make 40+ clay Ganeshas during Ganesha festival. I also make Malas during important festivals. A group of people come together to achieve this effort and I enjoy doing this with them.

I am satisfied and happy with whatever I am doing. I feel good about doing it and put in more time to increase my creativity. If people can use my learning, I am happy.

It would be incomplete if I did not mention that my husband has been my inspiration and support in all my efforts. He encourages me every time, pushes me to raise my creativity and brings ideas to me that I experiment. I owe all this to him.

Thank you Manasa. You are an inspiring artist!

You can view her artwork, paintings at You can also drop her a mail at for further queries.