New Winters origami group starts at the library, thanks to one enterprising preteen

Tyrus Moralez will be teaching the new origami class on the last Tuesdays of the month.

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Spearheaded by intrepid local businessman Tyrus Moralez, Winters Community Library now hosts Origami Group on the last Tuesday of every month.

Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. It is a quiet, geometrically challenging and aesthetically pleasing pastime. This type of art arguably, goes back to the sixth century and promotes dexterity and hand-eye coordination while delighting both hemispheres of the brain.

Moralez was able to establish the Origami Group through direct donations made on the top slot of his vending machines. These machines offer name-brand candy and generic bouncy ball toys for purchase at 25 cents per handful. His machines are located in several prominent downtown locations such as Ace Hardware, Serendipity Salon and the Winters Community Center.

After saving up his allowance and extra chore money for a year, Tyrus bought his first vending machine when he was 10 years old. Later he found a “crazy deal” on 4 additional machines and he managed to buy those as well. After writing a business plan and meeting with local business owners, he secured permission to vend in their shops. Although he operates under his dad Jeremias Moralez’s business license, he regularly maintains, cleans and refills his machines and keeps a neat ledger of his jingling stream of income.

Though he just turned 12 years old, Tyrus is more than an intrepid preteen businessman: He is also an engaging and confident teacher.

For almost two years Tyrus had been folding alongside Judy Ng, co-founder of the Davis origami group. “Once we [the Winters Origami Group] are more established, I’ll be able to start some activities and maybe even a little competition with the Davis origami group,” said Tyrus, adding, “Like ‘How fast can you fold this model?’ or origami frog racing and leapfrog challenges.”

“I distinctly remember we checked out a book by Tomoko Fuse, and he was fascinated. It sparked a want for him to keep doing it,” Jeremias says of Tyrus’ introduction to origami as he helps his youngest son Miles with some finer dexterity to fold a bird in flight

Tyrus leads the program surrounded by several stacked origami books and boxes of a square patterned paper. Around his waist sits an impressive, custom made fabric tool belt with multiple pockets holding various sizes of paper, a pair of scissors and a tool known as a “bone folder,” used to shape more precise creases.

Group members of diverse skill levels sat at tables around him in occupied concentration, intent on their intricate design made of simple folds. Tyrus guides each slowly through steps, helpfully checking their progress and offering encouragement or feedback, always positive and constructive.

“Hey!” Tyrus called to a young family entering the library (in his loudest library-whisper) and waved invitingly ”Come over to the origami group guys!”

The origami group is held on the last Tuesday of every month, at the Winters Community Library. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 5-6 p.m. For more information contact Tyrus Moralez directly at Wondervendbytyrus@gmail.com.

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