Origami

I practice and teach origami.  Why?

  • Origami is precise, geometric, rational and ordered. The angles tell you where to go.  Only rarely do you make a “RAT” fold, “right about there,” where you estimate where to fold.
  • All you need is paper.
  • Folding paper is quiet and meditative.
  • Paper is inexpensive and beautiful.
  • The colors and textures of the papers are beautiful.
  • Quilters have closets of fabrics stored up, origami paper hoards take up less space J
  • It is amazing to take virtually a 2-dimensionsal flat paper and turn it into something very three-dimensional- a bird, bowl, boat or sphere.
  • When you start with a fresh, perfect square of paper, you start with only two choices- fold it in half side-to-side (forming a rectangle) or point-to-point (forming a triangle.) Yet infinite variety results from these.
  • Similarly, there are bases in origami- the first few folds from which many forms can be made. The bird base, fish base, frog base, windmill base, waterbomb base… From the Kabuto base, for one example, you can make a samurai helmet, a fish, a cicada, and more.
  • You can learn and share origami without language. You could attend an origami conference in another country and have a great time!
  • As an origami teacher, I try to depend less on speaking and more on showing. (Notice how this relates to writing- show–not-tell?!)
  • As an origami teacher, I am teaching my students to rely less on language and to make careful observations (does yours look like the model?) and to trust their judgment (no, here is my mistake.) This is hard for them, which tells me they need it.
  • And as an origami teacher, when I do speak, I try to use language precisely. There is direct feedback to accurate use of language- my students know what to do next or they don’t.
  • As with any great, open-ended endeavor, origami can be a young child’s play and an adult’s fine art. It melds math, science and art.  People of any age can “get it.”  Often the young are prodigies because their minds love that kind of thinking and they take off.
  • Origami is temporary and it is playful. I tend to focus on permanence and seriousness. So perhaps this endeavor helps my spirit find balance.4688883962_3ce9718a3e_z
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9 thoughts on “Origami

  1. Love origami! Possibilities are endless! Always amazed what can be created from a square of paper. Love your points about show not tell (great compassion!) and making careful observations! Precise language is so important! Love your slice!

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  2. Wow — I didn’t know anything about origami, and this post helps me feel like I should try it — for the beauty and for the life lessons, too. (And I love a “favorite thing” Slice idea.)

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  3. This brought back memories of the year I read Sadako to my students and we made 1,000 paper cranes (& hung them from monofilament in our classroom). It was mathematical, a response to literature, artistic, and community-building.

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  4. The things you love about Origami are presented with such detail and precision – you’ve clearly thought a lot about it. I love the tactile and visual nature of Origami as you describe it, as well as the quiet thoughtfulness of it. So simple, yet so complex.

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  5. I love this post and can connect to it. My youngest son is quite an accomplished origamist. Is that a word? He even had a piece accepted by Origami USA for a national traveling exhibit a few years ago. He stayed with it for about 3 years, 3rd-6th grade, a time when he also accelerated in math. I saved many of his pieces including a torus ring, a dodecahedron, and a bucky ball. You made a wonderful point about it bringing out the creative side in you – we all need to find something like origami that will allow our creativity to flow and allow us to take life a little less seriously! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. What a cool post about the benefits of origami! I am not someone who has ever really done origami, but just this week I attended an IB Global Conference (education conference) and the keynote speaker opened by having us create a lotus flower out of a piece of provided origami paper. I was a unique experience to create origami 1- on my lap, 2- with my teacher at the front of a conference room on stage, and 3- with 1800 other people. 🙂

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  7. I like how you compared origami instruction to writing instruction “ show, not tell.” While my son loves origami, I am sad to admit that I have no patience for it. However, your post is encouraging me to give it a second look, for balance sake.

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