Origami: The Japanese Renowned Form of Paper Craft

Papercraft is the craft of transforming a single piece of paper into an aesthetically pleasing, three-dimensional piece. This creation of several forms and shapes with a paper by folding, opening, and bending of a flat sheet of paper is a Japanese art form called Origami. The term ‘Origami’ means ‘folded paper’. The fact is that the origin of Origami is unknown. However, it can be traced back to the ancient times in Japan when formal documents were intricately folded. It is thought that it was during the Edo period that spans between 1603-1867 were when Origami gained root as a leisure activity. The technique has been handed down from one generation to the other. Parents imparted the skill to their children and they also did likewise explaining why the art form is prospering.

There are two main classifications of Origami. They are the Traditional Origami and the Creative Origami. The traditional origami deals with the use of paper creating simple forms, shapes and animals such as frogs, boats, balloons, insects, and plants. On the other hand, the creative origami involves the creation of very complex and elaborate designs with paper such as buildings, cars, airplanes, dinosaurs, etc. Many professional fields such as architecture and engineering have applied the principles of origami in producing prototype models of their architectural structures and automobiles before building the actual products. Health providers and clinical psychologists have used origami as an art activity for the elderly, handicapped and mentally deranged persons as an effective rehabilitation tool.

To produce an origami piece, the artist needs to remember these essential points:

1. The paper to be used for producing the piece should be square.
2. No adhesive or cutting is needed in origami.
3. The paper to be used may be colourful to increase the aesthetic appeal of the final work.
4. The artist should put these two essential qualities to play thus tolerance and patience.
5. The artist must strictly follow the rules that govern the folding of the paper such as:
a. Corners and edges of the paper should match precisely.
b. The folds created must be tight.
c. In creating a triangle, hold the two diagonal corners together firmly and exactly between your thumb and first finger and then fold the base with your other hand.
d. Some shapes require that the paper be folded and unfolded producing a crease in preparation of the next step. The paper is at times curled, pleated, rolled over, pinched, pushed in, blown open, or turned over to create the shapes.

Virtually all types of paper can be used for producing items in origami. These include newspapers, wrapping paper, bond papers, etc. It should be noted that the attractiveness and beauty of the final work is not dependent only on the folding technique but also the type of paper used. The popular Japanese handmade paper used for origami is called Washi. Other tools and materials that can be used for origami or general paper craft include knives, scissors, metal rule, brushes, punches, bone folder, pencil, spray diffuser, adhesives, eyelets, threads etc.

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