Me and Origami

The discovery

I discovered Origami during the summer of 1982.
I was eight years old, and I was spending my holydays to the seaside. One afternoon it happened to me to see a man that was creating beautifull animals, flowers and boxes starting from fully coloured little sheet of paper.
To the eyes of a child it was amazing to see that kind of magic, and indeed "mr Origami" (as everyone on the beach called that man) was always surrounded by many children pushing him to see, to try and to take home one of those little treasure.
Mr Origami asked to every little boy "How old are you?". If the answer was less then 10 years, you couldn't take part to the practice lessons, and you could only see what he done. It was so also for me.
I payed attention for all the rest of the afternoon and then, after I was at home, I tryed to repeat what I've seen. The next day I went again to Mr Origami showing what I've done by myself. I was accepted among the active folders, and I've not stopped folding yet...


Mr Origami

AKA as doct. Clemente Giusto, Mr Origami is a the tipical person born to teach origami. With a very wide knowledge about it together with a very strong memory, he has always astonished me with his ability to be ready in any time with the right origami at the right moment.
Starting from the amazing model of the flapping dove, and through the ones of the frog, the lotus flower and the starry boxes, thanks to Mr Origami I went deeper and deeper into in the origami world, discovering connections between origami and everyday life, that I couldn't even imagine.
His very unusual way to offer origami as a funny learning method, was for me very challenging. Such kind of approach has shown me immediately how origami is not only a beautifull pursuit, but that it has tight relationship with geometry and math. All things those have immediately fascinated my little square mind of an engeneer-to-be.
Today, talking about relationship between origami, math, and geometry is really normal (refer, for exmple, to the 7 origami axioms of Huzita-Hatori), but 30 years ago it was not so.


Understanding the paper, the keypoint of origami

Let's get back and start again from that summer of 1982.
On one hand there was a child and his big enthusiasným for a such brand new thing, and on the other hand there was the real difficulty to find those so pretty origami paper (as shown on the paper pack in Mr Origami bag) .
By that time it was really difficul to find origami paper, eveno more for me that I didn't live in a big town.
Keeping like a treasure the few sheets given to me by Mr Origami at the end of summer season, I started folding almost every kind of paper around me, thinking with a little envy at who could have the right paper.
For those following years I've folded bus ticket, restaurant receipts, chocolate candy envelope and even the empty sugar bag for coffee.
Anyway, only today I realize that what I've thought to be a disadvantage, it has led me on the better way to understand paper inside out.
The sculpure must learn to known stone before putting his chisel on it, and the painter must know the differnce between oilcolors, tempera or watercolor.
In the same way, who wish to do origami, must learn to understand paper in its many different kind, in order to be able to choose the right one for the model he wants to fold, and so to get the maximum from it.

For long time, used paes of crosswords newspaper were my main source of paper for draft model tests. I used them because thanks to the crosswords grids it was simple for me to obtain sqared sheets. This paper had a very poor quality, and it didn't keep the folds at all. But it was also quite strong and above all it was cheap.
Using that paper I've learned to manage paper that do not keep the fold. It has been usefull because some time, if the folds are too evident they could ruins the final easthetics of the origami model.

Some time after I've dicovered the gift paper. It has the big advantage to be available in many different colors, both solid and mixed.
This paper, under the pressure of the fingers, often looses color and stains hands during folding. Using it could improve what I call folding sensitiveness, that is the understanding that not always it is necessary to mark a sharp fold.

The next step were the office pad of paper both in light weight such as letter paper, and in heavyer weight like copy paper.
Both types can keep the fold very well, and allow the folder to obtain a sturdy model. More, they are convenients, because they could be turn in a perfect square with ony one cut.
On the other hand they are withe on both sides, and they hardly stand narrow folds. It makes them non so suitable for complex models.

Even today that, thanks to internet, I have no more problems to find out the real origami paper, I keep folding quite all the kind of paper I find.
I do this, because my experience has let me to understand that not always origami paper is the best choice for an origami


How do you create a new model?

That is a very recurrent question. The answer, in my opinion it is not simple, and it needs a little forewords.
As all other figurative arts, Origami has a basis knoledge that must be learned. The first and maybe the main one is to learn to read the origami language used to draw diagrams and creased patterns. Many people in fact lay aside origami just because after they bought their first origami book, they find difficut to understand it.
In my opinion moreover another very important think is to start folding from simple models, because it is in those models that you can see how the basic folds work, and so you can understand how to use them in more complex models.
In fact as the 7 musical notes, or the 10 digits in math, also origami bases itself on a very few number of folds. So learning to manage them all in the right way, it will let you to approch every origami model, from the more simples to the very complex ones.
In other words, you must have a clear idea of the available tools before starting to build something new.

Coming back to the main question, I can say that my origami models usually come from a sudden feeling that makes me thinking something like "what could be happen if I try to fold in that way instead of the other one?"
Here is how my mind, that untill a minute ago it has always done a model in the same way, starts considering it from another point of view and as a starting poit for something new.
I know that talking like that, it could seam easy to make a new origami model, but I can also tell you that those creative moments comes as often as you go on folding. But I have also to say that very often these intuitions don't take me in any place.
I've first met origami during my holiday, and so origami for me means free time, relax, and free mind. I really think that without those three components it would be impossible for me to create new models.

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