The ancient art of origami paper folding, boasts a rich history and tradition. This exquisite art form finds its origins in Japan where it has been practiced for centuries. The term “origami” itself is derived from Japanese words “oru” (to fold) and “kami” (paper), encapsulating the essence of this craft – transforming a flat, two-dimensional sheet of paper into intricate, three-dimensional sculptures through the meticulous process of folding.
The origins of origami can be traced back to the 17th century, although there are indications that it may have existed in various forms even earlier. The art form blossomed during the Edo Period (1603-1868) in Japan, a time marked by strict social structures but also rich cultural evolution. Paper, initially a luxury item reserved for the elite, gradually became more accessible to the masses. Origami, thus, transitioned from being a ceremonial or decorative entity associated with religious and celebratory events, to a widespread, popular hobby.
Types of Origami Paper:
- Kami – Kami is the most common type of origami paper. It is lightweight, easy to fold, and comes in a myriad of colors and patterns. The reverse side often is white, providing a dual-tone effect that can be exploited to enhance the visual appeal of the origami creations.
- Washi – This type is crafted from wood or bark fibers, rendering it tougher and more textured than the standard kami. It’s particularly esteemed for its aesthetic value and is often employed in creating more complex and decorative pieces.
- Tant – Tant paper is renowned for its unique color palette. With muted tones and a slight texture, it brings an element of elegance to origami. It’s relatively thick, yet pliable, suitable for both simple and intricate folds.
- Foil – As the name suggests, this paper has a metallic finish, adding a shimmering effect to origami creations. It holds folds firmly, making it a popular choice for models that require rigidity.
- Double-sided – This paper features different colors or patterns on each side. It’s particularly useful for models that showcase both sides of the paper, contributing to the dimensional aesthetic.
- Lokta and Banana – These are handmade papers from Nepal made from the fibers of the Lokta and Banana plants respectively. They are known for their strength, durability, and unique textures which make every piece of origami a distinctive work of art.
Where to Purchase Origami Paper
The surge in global interest for origami has led to increased accessibility to origami paper. Physical stores specializing in art supplies, bookstores, and sometimes supermarkets, often stock various types of origami paper. However, for a more extensive assortment, one might turn to the virtual world.
- Amazon – The e-commerce giant offers an extensive range of options, from the basic kami to the textured, handmade varieties like Lokta and Banana. Buyers can explore and choose based on their needs, and have it delivered to their doorstep.
- Etsy – For those inclined towards artisanal, unique, and handcrafted paper, Etsy boasts a collection from independent sellers. Customizations and personalized orders can often be accommodated.
- Specialized Online Stores – Websites like Origami-Shop and The Japanese Shop offer a curated selection of high-quality origami paper. They also serve as a resource for enthusiasts, with tutorials, books, and tools available.
- Local Art Stores – Never underestimate the treasure trove that is a local art supply store. Not only does it support local business, but one can also physically feel and assess the paper quality and texture.
When selecting origami paper, considerations extend beyond color and texture. The intended model, skill level, and the desired aesthetic outcome are pivotal in choosing the right type of paper. As the world of origami continues to unfold, bridging the traditional and contemporary, the choice of paper remains central, each type offering a unique journey of creation and expression, from the simplicity of a fold to the complexity of a masterpiece.