By Christina VanGinkel
Have you ever had a hobby that you tried, could not get the hang of, and yet were so intrigued with it that you have made at least one or more repeated attempts to try it? I ask this because I have always been fascinated with Origami, yet no matter how many books on the subject I browse, demonstrations I attend, or websites I peruse on this most interesting of hobbies, I just cannot get the hang of it.
I have loved Origami since I was in elementary school and we had a teacher visit our class. He was a friend of our regular teacher, and was somewhat of an expert on Origami. He could take small sheets of tissue like paper, and other sheets emblazoned in fancy shapes and colors, and with just a few folds here and there, a tuck or two, voila, he would produce little swans, dinosaurs, the most gorgeous flowers, and more.
When you consider that Origami is actually a form of sculptural representation, I am not all that surprised that I cannot get the hang of it, yet I would love to! Many people that understand and do Origami also talk about the mathematics involved in truly grasping the concept behind this art form, so that might be a stumbling block for me too, as I am admittedly not strong when it comes to anything having to do with mathematics.
If you have never really considered all the fascinating things that can be made with origami, I recommend taking the time to browse a few online sites. My all time favorite online site, that I find myself looking to for inspiration each time I pull out my papers and determination, to hopefully learn this hobby is paperfolding.com, which has tons of links, information, and history on this centuries old craft that in the last century had somewhat of a revolution on how it is approached and delivered. Papercrafting.com also includes diagrams to follow to teach beginners and those still learning, along with even more links to more diagrams from others. This part is important to make note of, because even if you think you know how to do Origami, unless you are an expert at it and confidently creating pieces on your own with no instruction from others, there are numerous ideas and designs to be found amongst these links.
When you go to paperfolding.com, look to the list of links on the left hand side of the web page and click on the diagrams link. What you will discover is enough links to keep you browsing, learning, and motivated long enough that if you have any aptitude for learning Origami, you surely will. On the other hand, if you are like me and no matter how hard or long you try, you still need help; even you will discover something within the list to keep you going. This time around, I have found myself concentrating on several of the links that point towards paper airplanes and of all things, fancy folded napkins. Both of these are based on the same steps involved in Origami. One link that I would have loved to delve into further was for Origami folds that resembled characters from the Star Wars show. But as often happens with a list of links on a website such as this, some of the links go dead, people do not keep up their sites, etc. Still, there are enough links and so much information within this site itself that you will be able to keep occupied for a long time to come if the interest in Origami is there as it is with me.
If something hands on would be better for you, pick up a copy of Origami: the Complete Guide to the Art of Paperfolding, by Rick Beech. This book is large and filled with color photographs making it easy to see the work as it evolves. It was assembled with both the beginner (that would be someone such as me!) and the more experienced folder in mind, with projects that are simple to master to those that are much more difficult, but all with clearly made diagrams that are easy to follow. I have even been able to make a few of the included projects, with a bit of help from my youngest son, who of course has had no problem understanding the concepts behind what makes Origami as stunning as it can be.
If you are interested in learning a new hobby, while I cannot guarantee that origami will be easy to learn, I can guarantee that once you try it, you will want to learn more!