Instead of running to Barnes and Noble’s or surfing Amazon for a tomb of knowledge on my latest challenge, I went to our socialist book depository (the library) to pick up some books on origami.
The Manoa library is an interesting place. It was recently rebuilt from the tiny, one-room shack it once was to a two story building with covered parking. It looks great and always has parking when I go. The library itself is the epitome of the old saying, “never judge a book by its cover,” because while the library looks amazing from the outside, the shelves are about a third full. Granted, it’s a new library and most of the collection was moved out during the renovation, but there’s still a lack of books on those shelves.
Regardless, I found a few titles to help me on my road to becoming an origami fiend. To get started, I picked Origami 101 by Benjamin John Coleman, which came with a DVD of demonstrations on how to put the folds together. I like the structure of the book. Each form leads into the next which means if I follow the sequence of figures in the order the book lays out, I’ll use lessons from the previous forms in the next ones. What I don’t like is that I have to go in this sequence in order to make a form I like.
Another book I picked up was The Guide to American Money Folds by Jodi Fukumoto. This was mostly out of sick curiosity. I want to be able to make origami in almost any scenario, even if my only materials are crisp dollar bills.
The last book got is called Advanced Origami: An Artist’s Guide to Performances in Paper, by Michael G. LaFosse. The book is big and intimidating with several origami figures that look like they were sculpted rather than folded on the cover, and that’s only the outside. Inside, the book gently walks readers through the basics of origami and what is required to make the creations within. The materials are a more hardcore than the normal square sheets I bought at the craft store, though. Mr. LaFosse recommends using water color paper, wide paint brushes, spray bottles and so on. It seems a little more outside of what I had in mind fro basic paper folds, but I may have to try one.
What I’ve found is how little I need these books. I’ve found most of the information I was looking for, including instructions for folding, on the internet. It’s astonishing how passé looking for information in libraries and books when the exact info you’re looking for can be found on the internet.
There are tons of apps for my iPad, too. My favorite one is Origami 3D. It’s free, it has animated instructions and allows you to download more designs from a website. Did I mention it’s free?
More on the history of Origami
After my last post, I hit the books and interwebs looking for some history on this ancient art form. One of the most interesting facts I found out was that though the practice of origami is fairly old, its being considered an art form only came about in the last century.
Here are some bite size morsels of information to help shine some light on where origami came from:
- Paper was invented by Cai Lun in China about 105 AD. It was brought to Japan by buddhist monks in the 6th century.
- Paper folding became recreational and more common in ceremonies during the Heian period (between 794 to 1185).
- The term “origami” came in the late 1800s. Before then, the practice was called “orikata,” or “folded shapes.”
- Origami as an art form has only become an art form in the last century thanks to artists like Arika Yoshizawa.
- Chinese paper folding is called “zhezhi“, which results in creating more objects such as hats and boats. Origami involves more animals and flowers.