On our last visit to Japan, I watched my six year old granddaughter as her little fingers nimbly folded and turned and folded until a frog emerged from the square of paper she had started with. She placed it on the table top, used a finger to press down and release at the right spot and the frog jumped. She giggled. I beamed. Amazing.
Origami has been around for a very long time. It is impossible to pinpoint where or when it started but since China is credited with making the first paper, perhaps it began there. Once the Japanese started the origami however, it was made into quite an art form. Many of the standard patterns for origami animals have special meaning. The popular crane stands for honor and loyalty--perhaps because the crane mates for life.
Our ladies at church will be learning to make butterflies for our Butterfly Brunch this year. Chocho, the Japanese word for butterfly, is a symbol for young girls as they spread their wings and emerge into beauty and grace. Two butterflies dancing around each other is a symbol of marital happiness.
Kaeru, or frog, is a symbol for good fortune and often travelers will carry one to insure safe return from their journey. I guess with all of our travels I should put in an order to my granddaughter for several of her frogs.
Origami is not difficult to learn but does require patience and attention to detail. Precise folding is important as well as crisp folds. Many craft stores have origami papers and they can be ordered online of course. The origami paper is usually thin although some of the more colorful papers and the foiled papers are a little thicker. Actually you could practice with a piece of computer paper that is 20lb. or less. Just be sure to start out with a perfect square of paper.
Our ladies will be using paper from the 100 Yen store that I bought when we were in Tokyo. The 100 Yen store is like our dollar stores. Here is a video of what we will be doing. Maybe you'd like to follow along. Happy folding!