On your website, you discussed traveling as a child and your time in the military as what brought you into this world of handcrafting. When did you realize you wanted to start a company?
I always knew that I wanted to start a company. Even as an 8 year old child in Korea, I spent one Summer "writing" my own books which I stapled together and colored in myself, with the idea that I would, one day, decorate a huge box with windows, and set up "shop" on the corner of our apartment complex in Seoul.
When we were stationed in Germany, we traveled all over Europe. Everywhere we went, I saw such amazing cultural differences and beauty. I was fascinated by them. But, there was also a commonality.
I noted that there were similar artistic traditions, often with very different meanings and significances, but that people folded flowers from paper in Japan and Korea in a similar way that corn husks were fashioned into bouquets in Mexico, or how banana leaves were used in the Kenyan art we saw at Bazaars.
I saw that the knots in Irish art bore some resemblance to many I grew up with in Korea. When I joined the military, I learned several practical knots in courses where we were taught to rig military equipment for transport and to aid survival. I believe it was there that my fascination with knots really emerged.
It was not until I began making knotted elements to practice the craft, and people would stop me to ask where I got them, that I considered starting my business.
It was actually an epiphany that I could, or should, start a company. But, once I had that realization, it all made sense. Every part of my childhood, my career, my family, my love for travel, culture, art, and even math and science came together with the concept of Knotty Origami.
The knots represent all of these things, and so does the origami we do.