Sunday, 11 May 2008

The Crafters' Way 48 - Origami

I write a weekly Craft Column for a local paper. Here is this weeks article.

It seems I have been destined to write about Origami. When I was in Japan last year I bought lots of Origami paper. Not so much because I was planning to do lots of folding but more because of the glorious colours and patterns. I was then given an Origami Jewellery book as a Christmas present. And recently I was sent an article about Origami as a math activity. So here goes.

Simply put Origami (from ori meaning “folding” and kami meaning “paper”) is the art of paper folding. Basically the process is to use a series of geometric folds (maths), without glueing or cutting, to create a recognizable shape. Traditional Origami has been less strict about these ‘rules’. Practiced since the Edo period (1603-1867), cutting and glueing the paper were considered acceptable.

There are many papers available and suitable for origami. Paper packaged here as “Origami Paper” is often brightly coloured on one side, white on the other. This is very durable and suitable for beginners, especially children. Washi paper is a traditional Japanese paper. It is soft, easy to fold and available in plain colours and prints. You can also choose to use photocopy paper. While inexpensive, the preparation of cutting to the right size may become tedious.

Origami uses very few folding techniques; it is the combination of folds that create the intricate designs. Most instruction books use similar symbols for folding diagrams. This makes self-paced learning much easier. In fact card makers are already familiar with the two most basic folds, the “mountain” fold and the “valley” fold. Add three more folds to you repertoire and you are doing origami.

Okay now I hear you saying this is all well and good but what do we do with these folded masterpieces. Being a practical person myself I agree that it needs a purpose. Origami shapes are a perfect for jewellery. Delicate folded roses, butterflies in flight and an array of bead shapes can be used together with traditional beading techniques. The results are stunning.

I have included origami bead shapes in my Paper and Fabric Beads Class. For more information on dates and times Ph: 3285 1875. Come along its lots of fun.
This image wasn't included in the column, however I couldn't resist posting it here.This origami Kimono was attached to a New Years Card I received from Rod Byatt, a fellow Kumihimo Enthusiast. I'm not sure if Rod folded it but it's a beauty. I've since learnt to fold a minature one that you can thread on a braid and wear as a necklace.

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