Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Origami Notes

Since I was off teaching origami models to my daughters second grade class on Thursday, will be teaching the history of origami and some folding techniques to a seventh grade class on next Tuesday, and am gearing up for my son's first grade class following that, I thought I would post some quick information for those interested in paper folding.

Favorite origami artists and sites.

Hands down: John Montroll
A mathematics teacher, Montroll has written over 20 origami books including my second favorite "Animal Origami for the Enthusiast" which he published in 1985. Among his many contributions, John Montroll introduced the term double rabbit ear fold. Though his books aren't necessarily for beginners, if you have an active interest, they are both challenging and rewarding. It is my second favorite only because my favorite is the one my Dad owned, which he bought in Yakota Japan and it was published the year I was born. He has since passed on the book to me.

Close second: Robert Lang
Dr. Robert J. Lang was born the same year as myself (and my Dad's origami book) and is an American physicist who is also "one of the foremost origami artists and theorists in the world. He is known for his complex and elegant designs, most notably of insects and animals." (Wikipedia) His book Origami Design Secrets is amazing and includes mathematical formulas for calculating how to get certain designs and features out of designated areas of your paper. I featured him and some of his designs in an earlier post.

Great starter sites:

OrigamiUSA, which used to be called The Friends of Origami Center of America, is headquartered in an autonomous space in the Museum of Natural History in New York. I have visited and sat down for some folding a few times there, but there web site has just about everything you need to get started or take things further. They also sponsor folding contests for children.

Alex Barber has had a site out their for some time which, if you were interested in origami you have likely already found. www.origami.com. The site has a good database and a large number of links to other sites.

I also ran across a relatively new site by a recent convert to origami, called Happy Folding. What I like is that she includes online video instructions on how to do some models. She has, with John Montroll's permission, presented a video demonstration on how to fold the Tyrannosaurus Rex model. I have memorized this dinosaur model and sometimes fold it to pass the time, leaving it for whoever wants to pick it up when I'm through.

Origami Supplies:

My favorite place is Uwajimaya in Seattle. They have the best supply of Origami paper and supplies at a very reasonable price. The problem is that I don't get up there as often as I used to so they visits are infrequent.

Second, and particularly good for me due the convenience is Tacoma Art Supply. Friendly staff and right downtown, I can find a number of different kinds of specialty origami paper there. I bought most of the paper for the thousand cranes I folded there as well as some very large sheets.

Age Groups:

All. I have taught 4 and 5 year olds, as well as adults and every grade in between. They all seem to have fun and if you select the right projects, everyone has a model they can successfully fold.

4 comments:

tacomachickadee said...

Despite the paper cranes, it had not occurred to me until now that you were such an origami geek. You'll be pleased to know what I got the eldest for her 7th birthday: Origami books and lots of origami paper. She was quite pleased. And is very excited whenever she executes a more complicated fold all on her own. Yay! :)

Kimberly said...

I'm very surprised--I had not thought of you as an origami folder. :) I constantly use google to find new folds to try, but I'd love to try some of the resources you posted. Origami is a great way to pass time and others seem to love what I make afterwards (usually a plain crane or a rose if I have enough time).

noisms said...

In Japan if you go to a restaurant, you usually get a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks in a paper wrapper. Often that paper wrapper has instructions on the back for making something out of it through origami. A great way to pass time while you're waiting for the order to arrive.

Andrew Fry said...

I had a great time with the teaching. At some point I will show some of the more complicated models I've folded, like the Montroll Taratula or the Lang baby.

Dave, I love the paper wrapper with instructions idea. I wish they would pick it up here in a couple places.