Week 12- Activity- Teach One (Origami)

The art concept I would like to teach you today is Origami, which is a traditional art form in Japan. Many people know what origami is, but they don’t really understand how it started, that there are different mediums, and that there are different techniques to origami. The word origami comes from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper”, and is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. Origami started in the 17th century AD during the Edo era and was popularized outside of Japan in the mid-1900s.

There is evidence that the art form of origami originated in China for funerals. In Japan, the earliest reference to origami is in a short poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680, which described paper butterflies in a dream. Origami butterflies were used during the celebration of Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom, so paperfolding became a significant part of the Japanese ceremonies by the Heian period (794–1185).

The number of basic origami folds is small, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make more intricate designs. Basic folds include valley and mountain folds, pleats, reverse folds, squash folds, and sinks. The best known origami sculpture is probably the Japanese paper crane. Usually, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper and can be different colors or prints. Normal copy paper is used for simple folds, such as the crane and waterbomb. Heavier weight papers can be wet-folded. This not-well-known technique allows for rounded sculpting of the model, which becomes rigid and sturdy when it is dry, which I found interesting. My favorite origami medium is foil-backed paper, as its name implies, is a sheet of thin foil glued to a sheet of thin paper. There is also hand-made tissue foil, which is made by gluing a thin piece of tissue paper to kitchen aluminium foil. Both types of foil materials are suitable for complex models. In Japan, Washi is the traditional origami paper used. Washi is tougher than ordinary paper and is made from wood pulp,but can also be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat.

There are many different types of origami practiced.

Action origami: Action origami includes origami that flies, or uses the movement of a person’s hands, applied at a certain part on the model, to move another flap or limb.

Modular origami: Modular origami consists of putting a number of identical pieces together to form a complex model. Usually, the individual pieces are simple but the final assembly may be tricky.

Wet-folding: Wet-folding is an origami technique for making models with gentle curves rather than geometric straight folds and flat surfaces. Also, it can be used to produce natural looking animal models.

Pureland origami: Pureland origami is origami with the restriction that only one fold is done at a time. More complex folds like reverse folds are not allowed.

I chose to teach about origami this week because I went to a seminar on Tuesday that talked about Japanese culture and art. Their culture fascinates me and I thought it was funny that this art form is pretty mainstream yet there is so much people do not know about it. Thank you!

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