Most of us with less folding ability than we’d like find reasons to justify our modest efforts – “I’m not patient”, “Life’s too hard”, “I’m not artistic”, “the diagrams are not clear” and even the old classic, “the paper’s not square!”. I suspect a lot of it is down to confidence and being prepared to put the hours in to refine our techniques.
Now and again, you learn about an individual who puts things in their proper perspective, for example Saburo Kase. Kase lost his eyesight at elementary school, but it didn’t stop him from becoming a gifted teacher and creator of origami. I was lucky enough to attend one of his classes at the COET and he was so calm and confident. At one point, his translator asked “Mr Kase asks if anyone has problems”. One eprson did and handed his model to Kase, who calmly and nonchalently unfolded the last step, corrected it and gave it back.
My friend Francesco Mancini alerted me to these simple but elegant concept. So, I tried it with my class today and it was a great success. The students were too young to go into any geometry, but really enjoyed putting it together.
I’ve just given my first commercial origami lesson using skype, with a young girl from Manchester pictured below (pixellated for privacy). I’d invested in a new webcam and used software to integrate an overhead view with a conventional view, to create a friendlier environment (bottom right of the image). The lesson lasted an hour and we folded a variety of simple designs, for which I sent her diagrams to print out. All in all, a great success and I hope I can find more of this type of work.
Nathalie Mornu told me about a fascinating article on old paper planes, appropriate since I’m working on the final stages of the Idiots Guide to Paper Planes (keep your jokes to yourself please)
Here’s a project that I couldn’t sell to anyone 😉
I am organising an origami didactics one day event, to introduce basic folding skills to Sheffield teachers. Does anyone know a good way to send a message to all schools? There used to be an internal mailing list, but now, apparently, I have to mail each school individually. I can’t find a facebook group or any local teaching forums.
My good friend John Farrell wrote to me:
“I had a small group in on Tuesday lunchtime and showed them the first part of your video about how to make the stem, which we all folded from green copy paper. They struggled a little with the reverse fold, but they have it now. Today (Wednesday) we stayed in again at lunchtime and folded the flower part. They did very well at that. I had to help some of them to collapse it into the gem shape. One of the children assembled the two parts herself with only the briefest of instruction and then proceeded to help the others. All in all, a great success!”
John works hard in his Midlands school to encourage and promote origami, it’s brilliant that something of mine has proved useful! Here is a photo of their work.
For some time now I’ve been taking an ever-increasing interest in the aspects of origami other than the actual folding of models. My two visits to the conference in Freiburg (see my report) have further fired up my enthusiasm for this, so I’ve put together a forum for discussing these aspects of origami.
They key to its success will be the level to which people who join the forum stay within the brief when posting. I really don’t want it swamping (like that of Saj Khans) with photos of every dog-eared model that people have folded, along with request for diagrams and “how do I fold this?” requests. They are fine in the right place, but the Didactics forum most definitely isn’t the right place.
I’m hoping it will become a place of historical debate, tips on teaching, information about antique books, maths, geometry and software. In short, everything *but* folding itself, although inevitably there will be elements of that from time to time. The categories will develop as the posts roll in.
I’m going to be a fairly tough moderator, since I appreciate that stance from other forums I frequent. Maintaining the “on-topicness” is key to attracting input from those who have little time to spare. We shall see!
I’ve set up a topic on the forum to discuss a possible event in the UK.
I have many dealings with advertising agencies, who in the main have no conception of how origami is created or the proper way to use it in their campaigns. Thus it is that there have been an increasing threat of court cases and legal exchanges over origami. A small number of people who were particularly concerned with “origami rights” have formed an organisation to support each other and other creators whose rights are being abused. Origami Authors and Creators (OAC) has four key aims;
1. To promote the authorised and legal use of our original origami work.
2. To maintain control of our intellectual property.
3. To protect against unauthorised use and distribution.
4. To prevent copyright infringements and internet piracy.
As a voluntary group, resources and time are limited to what the individual members can offer, but problems are discussed, possible solutions recommended and the necessary steps are taken. They have a website www.digitalorigami.com/oac where you can find out more about their valuable work and how to support it.