Guiding Light of The Month

All is light, all is love, ignorance and egoism are but vain phantoms, they can be dissolved. And over all things spreads Thy sovereign peace, Thy fecund calmness. - The Mother

Art of paper-folding


(An Origami Workshop in progress at the Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry.)

There are many means for us to be creative. Creative writing, painting, art and craft work are few of those. When we have a movement in us, a kind of a pull that draws us, we can take a plain canvas and paint on it without any restrictions and see what comes out of that. A heart-warming experience will form ideas in us, wonderful words gather together and they just walk out as we pen them down. Or it is just a silent feeling that gets expressed on a canvas.

Craft activities wherein we work with papers, glue, scissors and many varied things that we can collect are interesting works that enhance our creativity - activities that immerse us completely in the present moment. In this category, there is an ancient craft work that transforms a piece of paper into an interesting object.

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding that originated in 17th century when the monks in Japan used it as a means of meditation. The word ‘Origami’ originates from two Japanese words - Ori means folding and Kami means paper. This art became popular when papers were produced in large volumes and were easily available. The beginning of modern origami was developed by Akira Yoshizawa in the 1930’s.

We breathe life into a piece of paper and turn it into a vivid shape. Started as a religious activity among the monks, this art has evolved into a professional work among the artists today. There are defined techniques of working with the paper and many stages involved in the process. The key importance in the process is given to folding the paper. There are different types of folding - valley fold, mountain fold, squash, sink and reverse folds. With each fold, we move our fingers in specific directions with a firm hold on the paper and apply the appropriate pressure to create the crease. The crease defines the pattern that forms the final shape of the object. There is also wet folding where a piece of paper that is a little sturdy then the ordinary one - because it should not tear when it is wet - is taken and damped with a wet cloth before folding. When the created pattern dries, it forms the shape. This method is called Sizing and is usually used when creating objects that have gentle curves – like statues and animals. Origami patterns can also fly like that of a bird or a flight. Can also float like that of a boat. We can also create embossed, 3D or inflated patterns with Origami.

In Pondicherry, in the same lane as the Ashram dining hall, there is very nice little shop called ‘Nava Vihan’. It sells beautiful gift items that are prepared by the Ashram departments. With them, there is an origami kit that helps us make butterflies with a piece of square paper. It has got interesting patterns drawn on them that come to the surface as the butterfly is made. We can paint on these patterns later to make very vivid butterflies.

- Sandhya

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