Q: How is the project progressing?

A: Currently (As of October 27, 2015) the project has about 3,500 swans so we still have 26,500 to go. What's cool is those swans have come from 39 states and 3 countries so the project has reached a wide breadth of people! I am also starting to hold events around Northern California, where I can help fold swans in person. People are also holding events in their own towns around the country as well! Updates about swan folding events can be found on the projects facebook page. If you're interested in having an event or think I might be interested in coming to an event to help people fold swans, please feel free to contact me


Q: Why are you only touching on the 1 in 30,000 statistic that deals with transwomen?

A: Like with many of my other projects I like to start with my personal experience before moving forward with the concept of involving the entire trans community. Since I am a transwoman, the statistic of 1 in 30,000 relates more directly to my experience. However, I am interested in exploring all trans statistics and how they effect the community at large, especially if I was able to obtain a greater number of folded origami swans by supporters. 


Q: Why is it important to use white paper?

A: First off, to highlight the isolation many in the trans community feel with the non-trans community. White can give a very stark, unapproachable feel, especially as a large mass. It's also, simply a personal esthetic as an artist.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it's also a means of simplicity for involvement with this project. Getting your hands on a white sheet of paper is easier for a wider breadth of people, from different backgrounds, rather than a color sheet of paper. 


Q: Why are you using the origami swan shape for this project? 

A: The origami swan form was something I was introduced to before my transition. However, throughout my transition I came back to this form and felt it had both feminine and masculine qualities, in it's lines and structure. The swan in nature goes through a great transition, something I believe is widely known, so I have continually been pulled back to the swan shape in my art dealing with trans issues.


Q: Can you send me materials or shipping labels for this project?

A: Unfortunately, no. I would love to be able to offer these items but, simply put, I cannot afford to do this for all 30,000 swans. I am a full-time graduate student working a part-time job so sending supplies, or paying for shipping labels is currently not something I can offer. If you cannot afford to send a swan, I understand completely! There are other ways to help with this project and help with the trans community: talk about it on social media, have a conversation with your family or discuss it amung friends! This project is meant to help the trans community, not cause any financial strain. 


Q: Can I make more than one swan?

A:  Yes. If you're interested in contributing more than one white swan - the more the merrier. Any additional swans received over 30,000 will go toward more installation pieces for future projects. 


Q: Can I help out in any other way?

A: Currently helping to spread the word is the best help I could receive. Social media and word of mouth are very much appreciated. If you want to discuss helping me in other ways, please feel free to connect with me through my contact page



It's estimated 1 in every 30,000 people identify as transwomen and 1 in every 100,000 people identify as transmen (The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health).

This is just an estimation based on the people who have been labeled with "Gender Identity Disorder" or who are receiving gender services at clinics where data was collected. There may be many more people who are in the trans spectrum, but they do not identify as trans for a variety of reasons including; fear of coming out, self medicating due to lack of health coverage for trans people, or by being mislabeled as gay or lesbian.

As a transwoman and artist my goal with this project is to raise awareness and show support for the trans community through an engaging community realized art installation. That is why I am reaching out to allies of the trans community to show their support by folding a white swan with the insturctions provided and mailing it in to the address below.


Singularly, this is a small task but repeated 30,000 it becomes a strong message.  A message in support of the 1 in 30,000 people among us who identify as transwomen and for all the member's of the trans community.

Each white origami swan submitted will be used in an art installation piece. Along with the white origami swans there will be one grey swan (made by me), representing the 1 in 30,000 known transwomen in society. 






Making an origami swan takes less than five minutes! 

On this page is an instructional video on how to make an origami swan. Beneath the video is a downloadable PDF instructional guide that may be viewed on your computer screen or printed and distributed.  

For this submission you will simply need one white sheet of 6"x6" paper. This can be something as simple as computer paper, cut to size, or you can go to most art stores or craft stores and buy pre-cut white 6"x6" origami paper.

Due to the creative vision of this particular project, we ask that you only submit swans made using white paper. Submissions received in other colors will unfortunately not be used for this project.  

Swans may be mailed in a standard envelope to: 

The Origami Swan Project
Attn. Chelsea Thompto
2010 SW 1st St

Des Moines, IA 50315


Currently submissions are open-ended in date, and we welcome any number of swans sumbitted whether 1 or 100! 





DOWNLOADABLE DOCUMENTS (click links below)




Follow the Origami Swan Project on facebook to stay up to date with the progress of the project and also join the event created to raise awareness for the project.

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Follow the Origami Swan Project on Instagram to see the most current images associated with the project. Don't forget to hashtag #TheOrigamiSwanProject to have your images shared. 

Follow the Origami Swan Project on You Tube to learn how to fold an origami swan and see future videos from Chelsea Thompto.