November 11, 2012 - Origami Day

The famous Japanese folding-paper art of origami got its start in the1600s (or earlier) and became popular worldwide by the mid-1900s. Note that origami traditionally doesn't include any cutting or gluing—that would be kirigami. Origami is just folding.

Even though there are only a few basic origami folds, they can be combined to make all manner of things, from birds and flowers, to dragons and dinosaurs and elephants and castles and steamships and even starships!

  • There are lots of origami projects to try on the Origami Club website, which offers animations and traditional folding diagrams.
  • Once I went to see Manzanar, which was a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, and I was amazed to see the hundreds or thousands of colorful origami cranes that had been threaded together to make long decorative chains that draped the gravestones. There have been many people, including artists, who have been touched by the story of Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes, and long chains made of origami cranes can be seen on other memorials and cemeteries and in museum displays. Check out this gathering of artists' versions of the thousand-crane theme.

  • Some people create amazing art pieces by just folding paper! Check out:
  • this crazy origami website and
  • this other amazing origami website, 
  • this You Tube slideshow, and
  • this time-lapse video
(I learned a lot from watching the time-lapse video. Of course, I did NOT learn how to fold an origami scorpion! (Way out of my league!) But I did learn that the artist used painted aluminum foil rather than ordinary paper, that he did a WHOLE lot of pre-folding to make creases before he started the actual folding, and that the scorpion took 3 HOURS to fold! Yikes!)
  • Origami is a great way to create mathematical models such as Platonic solids 

Also on this date:

Anniversary of a record-breaking balloon ride 

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