Global Mobile Origami


History of Origami

Origami originated in China as a secret messaging system for use by the military. When the code was cracked by the Japanese paper folding became a popular pastime for the masses and is still taught in Japanese schools.

Origami is a Japanese word made up of two parts: ori means folding and gami means paper, gami is also the Japanese word for god which shows the esteem in which paper was held when first invented.

An international language of words and symbols, once mastered it is possible to communicate and fold everywhere. Popularised in Britain during the 60’s and 70’s by Robert Harbin’s books and television series Origami continues to amuse and delight into the 21st century. It provides an open, intellectual system with equal opportunities for everyone to become inventors, and magicians, and to move onto higher levels by developing new folds.

The only tools needed are paper and flat surfaces.

Artistically, paper folding deals with form, space, light and texture, deepening visual, spatial and tactile understanding. Paper can become 3D, sculptural, stimulating the innate artistic imagination. It can be a single crease or an elaborate model.

Mathematically Origami can be used to demonstrate many principles, identical modules can be slotted together to form geometric shapes.

Biologically DNA can be created.

Chemically, modular models of molecular structures can be created.

Practical folding encompasses boxes, coasters, frames, vases and decorations.

Folding can be seasonal: Father Xmas, trees, Nativity scenes, stars; hearts for Valentines; Easter bunnies, baskets, flowers and bonnets; Halloween bats and masks.

Fun folding is great, no pressure in making mistakes with expensive equipment, jumping frogs, finger puppets, Formula One cars, guitars etc. As Albert Einstein said ‘Play is the highest form of research.’

Origami has been used successfully in hospitals, schools, prisons, with the blind and deaf, mothers and toddlers. The educational benefits of folding are vast. Students are exposed to speaking, listening, observing and doing. Many skills can be learned, reinforced and improved: following visual and auditory directions, eye-hand co-ordination, fine motor neuron control, using logic, concentration and patience. Origami provides a multi sensory, hands-on experience of creating something beautiful which gives rise to joy.

Spin off subjects include the study of Japanese culture, paper making techniques, projects with dioramas to develop particular themes, for example, sand dunes, city scapes, parks, mini beasts, sea life, zoos, down on the farm etc.

Many Origami enthusiasts are mathematicians, computer programmers and scientists. The sequential nature of folding aids memory, problem solving and prepares students for the binary logic of computer work.

Folding paper is a true, hands-on, total communication experience. Once students have been taught one or two simple models and the basic symbols they can proceed on their own, from books, teaching each other and creating their own models. Ultimately, this is when Origami becomes a true art. All students, no matter what their abilities can benefit from the use of Origami as an educational tool. If you are interested in sharing and developing ideas concerning the use of Origami in the classroom, or anywhere else, I would like to hear from you.

Ultimately, Origami is an educational revolution as it teaches me to teach myself.