Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Origami Dress-Up Paper Dolls

When I was little, one of the most favorite things to play with was dress-up paper dolls, which kind of explains why I love playing dress-up.  If you have met me in person you probably have noticed me with a weird skirt one day or another.  I have a collection of skirts... and I know they are all weird...  I love fun, novelty prints not only for skirts but also for origami papers.  And I have a collection of pretty print origami papers also.

So you can imagine how I got excited when I found an instruction book on how to make dress-up paper dolls in origami.  The book is called 折り紙きせかえ人形, written by Makoto Yamaguchi, a renown origami artist in Japan.  Many of his books are translated into English, but unfortunately not this one.  When it comes to origami instructions, though you can usually understand it just from diagrams so it doesn't really matter even if it is written in a language that you don't know.  Most origami paper packages are from Japan and come with instructions written in Japanese, but my American students still use those.

Last week I ordered this book at Kinokuniya Bookstore which is inside of Uwajimaya in Beaverton and am still waiting to receive it.  It is very well reviewed on Amazon Japan.  Oh I can't wait to get it!  I will review it on this blog later. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Art of Teaching Origami

I recently watched a documentary called Between The Folds, after hearing about it from multiple people.  It is more amazing than words can say about these origamists in this documentary.  They are true geniuses.  I realized that many people who are so captivated by origami are people with superior "left-brains," like physicists, scientists, mathematicians, engineers. 

No, not me.  I'm not like them at all.  I've done fair share of math and science courses in school like everybody else.  I did maybe average to better-than-average on those subjects.  But they were never really my favorite.  I'm definitely not a "left-brainer."  Am I an "right-brainer" then?  Not especially.  I loved drawing when I was little, but I eventually got discouraged to follow my path to creativity along the way by my no-nonsense entrepreneur parents and my 6th grade teacher.  So I had long given up on the idea of becoming an artist.  I actually chose to study mostly social sciences in college. 

How did I end up teaching origami then?  I could explain this in length, but in a nutshell, I was led by some wonderful people.  They are my college professors, my past and present employers and students, who inspired me to follow my path to the art of teaching origami.  I had been teaching for a few years before I finally realized origami is really what I wanted to teach. 

I haven't really able to create complicated models completely from scratch and turn them into diagrams.  I have created a few simple models of my own but that is about it.  But I love making origami models from instruction books and adding my own twists by turning them into dioramas, cards, framed pieces, and other decorations.  I love experimenting with different colors, patterns, textures, and sizes of papers and combining with other art forms.

And of course, I love to teach origami.  The moment when I finish teaching an origami model to a group of students - everyone is appreciating what they just made, with a sense of pride and accomplishment - is priceless.  So I always work hard to try to achieve that.  I believe that teaching origami is the art itself and what I'm blissed to do.  Over the past years I have gotten so many children completely hooked on origami, and some have taken the art form to a whole different level.  Maybe someday, I hope that they will grow up to become likes of those genius origamists in the film;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

What are these creatures?

Here is a photo of a greeting card I folded last month.  I hope people can tell what these creatures are, if they have seen the movie.  I am a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki and so excited to honor my all-time favorite characters in the form of origami!  I found the instructions of this model from Aruchu Masa's website (アル中MasaのおつまみGAMES!).

photo by An Vu.

I gave My neighbor Totoro soundtrack album to my friend's toddler daughter for Christmas, and for the cover of the CD, I made something similar to the card above.  When I gave it to her, she recognized Totoro right away, and that made me so happy. It was like, I made it just to see her recognizes it.  This is one of many reasons why I love making origami.  Every time after I make something I show it to someone recognizes it or to see a reaction.  I know everybody else who loves origami can relate to me!

P.S. I also gave her another CD, which was a collection of all the Hayao Miyazaki movie songs.  I drew a picture of Kiki and Gigi from Kiki's Delivery Service as its cover.  She recognized them in my drawing as well!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is my first blog posting.

Here is my blog site, finally!  I plan to use it to keep records of my artworks, announce my upcoming events such as classes and art shows, introduce some awesome origami books and related products, share my inspiration, and much much more!  Through this blog I hope that I will inspire people to try this profound form of art, and I also hope to connect with other origamists.