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Origami - the Japanese art of paper folding

Table of Contents

Photo by Susan Dugan
Used with permission.

That's me wearing a Vincent Floderer creation on my head at OUSA Convention '01.

Some Background

Origami has been around for hundreds of years in Japan, where its use ranges from the religious (specially folded pieces of paper adorn many objects in Shinto rituals, and many offerings are wrapped in paper folded in certain proscribed ways, for instance) to the traditional keep-the-kids-occupied-on-a-rainy-day activity many of us were exposed to as children even here in the U.S.

(A wonderful discussion of the history of paper folding and thoughts about design and art in general is in the introduction to Peter Engel's book, Folding the Universe.)

I began doing origami when I was 6, and it's stayed one of my favorite hobbies. I collect books on the topic (currently I have over 200) and nice origami paper (haven't counted that, lately.) I've recently put up a spiffed-up catalog of my book collection - you can use it to check the name (in Japanese) of that book you bought the other day but maybe couldn't read, plus I've put in links to places you can buy copies of the in-print ones for yourself.

It's only a useful hobby around Christmas time, actually, when I make lots of little things to put on Christmas trees and packages and all. The rest of the time I make these fairly random things out of paper and they hang around the house 'til the cats eat them, or I get tired of them. But I love to fold. It's very absorbing, takes great concentration, yet in the end you're often left with something pretty silly. (What can you do with a 3 inch paper lobster, anyway?) Very good for my overly-goal-oriented western soul.

The Origami Mailing List

There's an Origami Mailing List hosted at (a server I maintain) where people discuss all things origami-related. It's a public list, so anyone can join (there are hundreds of members, worldwide) and you can also get and search archives of past discussions, etc. Read more...

Origami on the Web

Since Joseph maintains such a wonderful site, I'm not going to bother duplicating the materials he has there. The links included below are places I visit regularly, or order from, or just like.

Origami USA

And there's a national origami group, called Origami USA. Based in New York City, they sell all sorts of origami related materials (books, paper, etc.), publish a great newsletter, and hold a yearly 2-3 day convention in New York. Memberhip dues are $25 per year.

For more information, see the Origami USA Web site, or contact them at their real-world address:

Origami USA
15 West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
phone: (212)-769-5635/6

I highly recommend joining if you're interested in Origami! (And the convention is great fun.)

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