Monday, December 27, 2004


The word "origami" means to fold paper. Origami became popular in Japan in the 19th century, although it is much older than that. There is also a paper folding tradition in Spain. Nowadays, origami is popular all over the world.

I made my first origami models on a plane trip from London to Zimbabwe in 1997. The airline had given the children small packs of origami paper to keep them busy on the plane. Instead, they kept me busy. When I got to Zimbabwe and ran out of paper, I made my own using wrapping paper and a sharp knife. Eventually I discovered that I could buy paper online and ordered it over the internet. I also found a fair number of books in Harare bookstores. When I returned to the US, I had an arsenal of models under my belt and was a fairly proficient folder.

Most people interested in origami fold casually, buy a book here and there, and learn simple models such as cootie catchers and paper airplanes as children. However, there are the totally obsessed who buy hundreds of origami books, design their own models, fold for hours and days on end, and participate in origami lists online.

I am marginally obsessed. I own 75 origami books and boxes full of origami paper that take up an entire shelf in my office/art room. I buy my origami paper at an art store nearly every time I go to St. Louis to visit my in-laws. Boxes of origami models are stacked neatly in one of my closets, and there is a large basket of models out for display on the staircase landing. I have taught origami at libraries and bookstores. I belong to two origami associations, OrigamiUSA (OUSA) and the British Origami Society (BOS).

Right now, I haven't been doing much folding. I'm in a journal round robin at RoundRobinCrazy and I have folded models for each of the journals. I am also folding some models for a friend in New Zealand. The next thing I'm going to take up is fabric origami.

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