“FOLDING” can mean many things.
For housewives, it could mean the tiring yet fulfilling “after-laundry” process.
For cunning guys engrossed in a game of poker, it’s a move that would seem like you’re backing out, when actually it could work to your advantage in the long run if you play it right.
To fold can mean many more things. But for a kid in, say perhaps first grade, an attempt to turn his old seatwork to a paper airplane is what folding is all about.
You have to admit it: everybody was once that little kid, who tried to outdo his classmates’ skill in “aerodynamics” by folding his paper plane several ways other than the status quo.
A small fold here would cause the plane to do daredevil twisters mid-air; a small fold there can cause the aircraft to glide longer—or crash headfirst down to the ground.
And of course, with the rainy season already here, who could forget about those little paper boats we used to play with.
The list can go on and on: paper frogs, paper space ships, or paper hats (well, the last one was bordering on “uncool”).
But the point is, there is some fulfillment in coming up with stuff—both imaginary and real-life—from a material so simple such as paper.
Which brings us to the art of paper folding itself: Origami.
Ori means folding while kami means paper.
The boats and planes we’ve known and just mentioned, may pale in comparison with the more astounding paper creations of “master folders.”
This traditional Japanese folk art (ori means folding while kami means paper) started in the 17th century. It is simply defined as transforming “a flat sheet of material (such as paper) into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami,” describes an article from wikipedia.org.
Here are some of its types, with definitions taken from the same article.
One would be action origami. Basically, works produced under this category include origami that “flies, requires inflation to complete, or when complete, uses the kinetic energy of a person’s hands, applied at a certain region on the model, to move another flap or limb.”
Then there’s modular origami that calls for the folder to combine “a number of identical pieces together to form a complete model.”
An interesting technique would be wet-folding. As the name suggests, “the paper is dampened so it can be molded easily, the final model keeps its shape when it dries.”
Here’s a technique for the purists. Developed in the ‘70s by a certain John Smith, the Pureland origami is the process only but with restrictions that “only one fold may be done at a time, more complex folds like reverse folds are not allowed, and all folds have straightforward locations.” This technique is perfect for those who want a little more challenge in their attempts.
There’s the technical origami tessellations. Tessellations refer to “the tiling of the plane where a collection of two-dimensional figures fills a plane with no gaps or overlaps.”
Lastly there’s kirigami where the folder is “allowed to make cuts.”
Just like probably the most well-known origami model we see, the Japanese paper crane, origami is a whole culture’s take on turning simplicity into a beauty, through intricacy.
After reading through all those definitions, it’s safe to say that origami is an art that embodies a whole lot of history and meaning in it. More than a plane created out from an old seatwork—that’s one thing for sure.