It's believed that if you make a wish and then fold a thousand origami cranes, your wish will come true. We think that it just may have worked for Gürat Öztürk, a longtime art lover who finally gathered all his knowledge from the different mediums and styles of art and funneled them into origami. Gürat is an origamist in Turkey, widely known by people who are interested in this Far East tradition. While he prefers to fold'em, we pushed him to open up about this centuries-old art form. Let Gürat bring you into the fold.

There are dozens of handcrafts out there. Why origami? How did your passion strike up in the first place?

I had already got involved with some of those other handcrafts, actually. In addition to some painting and ceramic works, at some point I also developed a great interest in jewelry design and paper marbling — if I cannot find a paper in the color I want, for example, I am making use of marbling art skills that I have (generally for boutique designs). I can easily see the harmony or disharmony of the colors on a design, thanks to my experience with painting. Or I can create the tiny statuettes by applying the skills that I learned in papier-mache and ceramic workshops.

Origami, in the very beginning, was just a hobby. But when I folded 1,000 cranes instead of only one, created a tree out of them and liked it very much, I started thinking of what else I could do. That was the point when I gave trying different figures a go. The attention that I received was nice, and together with the admiration of different people, it became a passion. Now, there is almost no day that passes by when I don’t do origami.


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Do you think origami has become more popular since you took it up?

I am partly thinking that origami has become more popular after me. I might have created an awareness or I might have contributed to an already existing one. In recent years, origami has become this trendy art that can be used anywhere you want.


Does Turkey know about origami? Are people here aware of this art?

Since each item is hand-crafted, production is quite exhausting. Sometimes you are asked to create something almost impossible, but you pull it off one way or another. Especially for the large number of orders, you definitely peg away at them. The people I’m dealing with and my own social circle are aware of this situation; they already know how toilsome it is to do this. But unfortunately there are more people who call it "just as a paper." When I share a real flower photo, I’m receiving comments like “Oh, it’s like paper!” On the other hand, when I share a flower made of paper, the comments come as, “Oh, it’s like real!” Even that shows how wooly most people’s minds are.

In my opinion, everyone has somehow heard of origami, and some even tried to make something out of it. However, since it’s a type of art that needs a lot of patience and practice, most people give up on it due to limited time or just lack of patience.


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What was the most difficult origami you’ve ever done?

It took me 42 minutes to fold a crane in my early origami days. It was quite difficult for me.


Are there origami artists you follow or get inspired by?

Of course. Kade (kadechan_origami), so far, is my favorite one. Although he is very young, he has really spectacular designs and he is totally dedicated to the art. That’s my dream: Visit Japan, meet him in person and attend some of his workshops.


Is there any origami that anyone can easily make at home?

Sure. However it’s not easy to give a recipe for that as if it’s a meal or something. I recommend whoever is interested in origami to watch Red Ted Art’s Easy Origami Butterfly video.

Speaking of that, I’d like to point out that most of the things we are using daily is somehow connected to origami, actually. Take milk packages as an example, or airbags in cars.


Can you describe us your perfect Saturday in Istanbul?

Windy and overcast weather, if possible. A nice breakfast outside around 9 or 10 a.m. Then walking in different parts of the city for some observation (I like Eminönü very much), and of course for some shopping. A light dinner afterwards, and maybe some cocktails and going out for dancing.


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Is there any place in Istanbul or Turkey that you really want to see but haven’t had the chance yet?

In Istanbul, almost none. Although there are still some places here that make me question myself if I’m still in Istanbul or not. Sarıyer, for example, has this unique atmosphere and some really nice hush-hush spots. In Turkey, there are still a lot of villages and towns that I want to see and I’m trying to go to new places each time when I have the chance to travel. Going to same places is not really my thing.


Follow Gürat on Instagram, call him at +90 532 790 37 87 or email at

By Onur Varol

One of those kids, with a twist. He reads, he sees, he listens; he writes about what he reads, sees and listens. Longtime secret savvy, now a complete Savoteur.