Wednesday, 16 July 2014

FEATURE: Origami – my newfound hobby

   Origami models that APH produced, so far.

Origami horses.
 Origami owl


I FOUND a new hobby.
It’s called paper-folding, most famously known as origami.
It’s one of the biggest cultural exports of Japan that rivals another export – the world renowned culinary delights sushi, sasami, odon, sukiyaki, and hundred more.
Origami came from China centuries ago, then brought home by Japanese warrior expatriates to Japan, where it morphed it into a high art form, which is known these days across the globe – and of course, across the internet.
It has become a craze in Europe and in the US among hobbyists.
I’ve realized that this one is better and more productive than Facebooking.
Flapping bat
To a 66-year-old man like me, with a faltering memory of what took place just a minute ago, and with a very short recall-span, I knew origami has spurred my brain into a bit of action to remember what took place in my life some minutes ago.
It has become the “vitamin” for my worn-out brain cells that have been working hard for the past 66 years and three months amid their diminishing potency – just to keep me on stream and online with other thinking souls.
You see, origami involves a piece of (mostly) square paper and sequences of basic folds – vertical, horizontal and diagonal, and sequences of shapes – square, pyramid (triangle) and rectangle.
Would you believe that I did my first origami when I was in the grade school? 
My first origami, Grade 1, circa 1955-56
Remember those art projects such as the papel na bangka-bangkaan, papel na baso, papel na bola, and your most favorite of them all – the papel na eroplano.
They were all origami – because you won’t be able to produce them without a piece of (color) paper and the three basic folds – vertical, horizontal and vertical.
As they have always said, just like in life which you must start with the right step – that is praying -- when you woke up in the morning so that you arrive at the things you would like to reach at the end of the day, making your origami project also begins with the right move – that is making the RIGHT folds – which could be vertical, horizontal and diagonal, and the right shape – which could be square, rectangular or pyramid.
Failing to remember – I repeat – REMEMBER – the very first fold in a project, say, an owl, a flapping bird, or the simple talking dog – would tell you right away that you won’t get anywhere.
This has been my problem: remembering what I did just minutes, or days ago.
So far, I have created about 20 origami objects since I begun three weeks ago, following the step-by-step instructions in the diagrams or shown on video.
So far, so good …

But when I tried to repeat the very first project that I produced 21 days ago – the flapping bird – without looking at the diagrams, or even by trying to unfold the bird just to trace back the folding sequences – I could not recall how I began with it in the very first place!
It’s quite a challenge especially when you dealt with a lot of folds and unfolds in various sequences; it really makes you feel very frustrated.
Sometimes, I cheated my self. I peeped through the downloaded/printed diagrams in pdf, which I kept handy every time, so I could proceed to the next fold. Well, you can cheat once in awhile, just don’t overdo it): … nobody could really help it.

So, to “sharpen” my recall as soon as I had done one origamimodel, say, the butterfly, I would have to repeat this pronto at least ten times in just one sitting using fresh square paper each time (which I produced from A4), just to etch into my brain the sequences of folds, which usually counted up to as many as 20!
So by the time I was done with the last try - successfully at that -- I would see in front of me a heap of rubbish of crumpled unsuccessful origami butterfly.
But creating one, and being able to repeat it without “cheating”, is heaven. It trains you in the ways of precision folding (misaligned folds and creases could immediately spoil your project). Also, it meant my total recall was working again up to some acceptable level.
I knew I have improved my recall a bit, saving me from being a total “malilimutin na dahil sobra-sobra na ang edad …” Translation: Uliyanin (senile).
Now, for a demo: I will make an impromptu – now – of my favorite flying bat – ala-Batman – which was the fifth model in the series of the more than 15 that I produced.

This one is quite interesting because it makes some sort of noise with its wings when flapping.  The kid -- my next-door neighbor -- really loved this one for its sound, when I gave it to him as a present.
Now, I will recreate this one from memory!
I won’t look at the diagram, you see.
Well, I could remember this Flying Bat should start with a square paper, which I will produce from A4.
Now … hmmmm … what was that first fold and shape to start this with, in the first place?
Ano na nga ba iyon?

(Blogger’s note: So I would remember how a particular origami model starts, I decided to keep a small notepad (pictured below) where I noted the shape of the paper and the very first two or three folds, out of the 15 or so series of folds. To be exact, I made a rough sketch of the shape - square, a pyramid or a rectangle – that is used to start a new model. By just looking at these clues (shape of the paper and the first two folds) on my notepad, I would be able to proceed with shaping a particular object.)

Visit this link to find out more, and enjoy your first origami mission:

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