A Tribute to Meenakshi Mukerji

…/2pWZZUF …/C8IBoy3NZUM/ …/pfbid0duzzkxaPXei3aC9QhKUz6vsHsGUUSgRU1VG3RxuRCz9grRJGdM3oULU7YYrVFBcXl …/1800955568598728741
Related models: Spiked Rhombicosidodecahedron
Related people: Meenakshi Mukerji

Books by Meenakshi Mukerji and Spiked Rhombicosidodecahedron from SSIT module designed by her
Books by Meenakshi Mukerji and Spiked Rhombicosidodecahedron from SSIT module designed by her

I never met Meenakshi Mukerji in person, yet she played an important and somewhat surprising role in my origami career, and so I was very sad to learn that she passed away yesterday, on June 11th, 2024.

Meenakshi’s website was one of the first origami pages on the web and among those that brought my attention to modular origami some time in late 1999. I think there were literally no more than 10 or 20 pages about origami on the web then, and of course no social media. We exchanged a few e-mails with Meenakshi in the following years, and I folded a number of modular origami models using her units, some of which she even shared in her guest galleries.

In 2015, I had come up with an idea for a versatile family of modulars and wanted to get feedback from others. I got in touch with Meenakshi again, asking for her opinion. She encouraged me to publish this work in The Fold, which greatly helped my confidence. She also casually asked if I was going to the origami convention in Kraków. I had never heard of an origami convention in Kraków before, or for that matter of any origami convention at all. There was still time to join, so I went to my first origami convention, Outdoor Origami Meeting (Plener Origami), and the rest is history. From that point on, my interest in origami really took off. I got into tessellations, started designing my own models on a regular basis, and began publishing my work in social media. It’s funny how a little hint about an origami convention next door I got from a lady living on the other side of the world changed my life.

In later years we had some minor collaborations. I test-folded several diagrams for Meenakshi, and folded a number of her tessellations, pictures of which ended up in her book, Origami All Kinds. We also performed what could be described as correspondence folding. I folded tessellations of starting bases which I then sent over to Meenakshi who folded the final steps and transformed the bases into her tessellations.

Despite these interactions being few and far between, I had the feeling that Meenakshi was a very kind person whose love of origami extended to the people around her. We never got the chance to meet in person, though we did exchange a few words on Zoom during workshops. I am grateful to her for the encouragement at the beginning of my current creative period and for the crucial hint I should attend an origami convention. It’s hard to underestimate the impact of these seemingly small events for me, and I’m certain others could share similar stories. Rest in peace.