The practice of origami, or paper folding, has long been one of the most popular of hobbies, and origami is certainly one of the oldest of all crafts.
The exact origins of the art of origami are still shrouded in mystery. It is known, however, that paper was first developed in China during the first century A.D. By the sixth century A.D., Buddhist monks had brought this new invention to Japan. It is unclear, however, whether the art of folding paper we known today as origami originated in the Japanese or Chinese culture. It is widely recognized, however, that it was the Japanese who raised origami to a high art form. The very word origami is a Japanese word. The term oru translates to “to fold”, while the term kami translates to “paper”.
Many schoolchildren use the art of origami to make gifts for family members and friends, and origami is one of the simplest, and least expensive, crafts for teachers to do with their students. In addition to those ever present paper airplanes (often made without the teacher’s approval), origami is often used in school to create elaborate birds, animals, boats and toys.
Birds are a frequent subject of origami art, no doubt due to the special place birds hold in Oriental culture. In addition, there are a host of origami animals that can be created, and virtually any object can be created using the origami skills crafters have learned.
As with any type of activity, the art of origami has its own unique language. As one becomes familiar with the art of origami, one will also learn such terms as “mountain fold”, “valley fold”, “square base” and “bird base. The various bases and folds used in origami can be combined to make a wide variety of different objects using a limited number of basic techniques. This makes origami one of the most versatile of all craft forms.
Origami is one of the least expensive of all crafts to pursue. After all, the only thing needed for origami is paper and some skill and imagination. For those in search of a more elaborate origami experience, craft stores, both on the internet and in the brick and mortar world, sell wonderful origami kits that contain everything needed to create some truly unique and wonderful origami creations. From special paper to full patterns and instructions, these origami kits are a great way for any new origami enthusiast to get off to a great start.