The Art Of Paper Folding – Origami

2021 is here! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! The celebrations have been simple and joyous. It was about spending time with family at home for most of us. All of us have been thrilled to bring in the new year filled with hope for a better tomorrow. New Year resolutions are not my thing. 2020 has been a difficult year but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. They say if you want a different outcome then do something different today.

So how about this? Let’s make an Origami model of your dream, of what you see yourself as, of something you want! That model on your desk will keep telling you, you can do it! It will tell you to keep your focus. If it’s something you want to get rid of, make them and throw them away, let them fly away or vanish into mid air. This activity helps you get rid of the negative emotions and works on building the positive ones.

I want to be free like a bird in 2021. Somewhere our freedom has been curtailed because of the pandemic. Free to fly, free to meet people, free to eat wherever you want, free to roam about, free to breathe. These are some of my wishes. So I am going to make birds – ‘As free as a Bird’.

But why Origami? I could do this with anything else? True! Origami because all you need is a sheet of paper. It shows that something so common and simple can turn into just about anything you want – as long as you are really willing to! This exercise also helps generate new ideas for creativity and innovations. Just in case you haven’t heard of it yet, I’m talking about ORIGAMI – The Art Of Paper Folding.

Origami  Animals and Birds
Origami – Animals and Birds

We can create a model or a sculpture by folding a sheet of paper. Origami is a Japanese Art. Usually a traditional Art from Japan will have a given set of rules or instructions to be followed. Traditional Origami does not permit the use of glue or making any kind of cuts in the paper. Hence modified versions have also been adapted and are quiet popular. The methods and techniques of Origami have seen applications not only in the field of Arts and Crafts but also in other fields such as Medicine and Engineering.

Origami is for all. One can learn it at any age. Some popular Types of Origami include 1) Modular Origami or Unit Origami 2) Kirigami 3) Action Origami 4) Wet – Folding Origami

Japan is earthquake prone. Hence the materials used in their houses are light weight. We can notice a significant use of paper in their houses. Another observation I have made is about miniatures in Japan. Being a densely populated country, land is very expensive. This makes them use their space optimally as a resource. Japan always amazes me. Creating things, making the best of what we have and making a come back when you are knocked out – Japan aces it! I see it’s reflections in Origami too.

I wanted to convey that Origami isn’t just about building tiny or toy models. It is real and much more than that. I learnt traditional Origami when I was in the 7th Grade in School. I had books on Origami – a set of five volumes. I remember at one point of time I had made all of them. Folding Paper neat and precise, visualising something in a sheet of paper – builds concentration and imagination. And of course that feeling of ‘I made it’. One of the most fascinating things I have seen made with Origami is ‘Jewellery’.

Materials required are as simple as square sheets of Paper. Ready packets are available in the market at all stores that keep stationery. Books to guide you and inspire you are also easily available. So even if your country has some lockdown restrictions, this is one activity you can easily do at home. Not to mention all the other added benefits it would have such as make you smile and stress- free.

Origami  Cranes
Souvenirs from the Paper Museum in Japan

The most popular design is ‘The Crane’. From animals to objects – there are so many things one can make. Did you know? Now there are apps that can show you some folds. There are websites that show you the popular designs for free. You must definitely try out a few!

This zeal for Origami attracted me to ‘Napkin Folding’. I think Napkin Folding is very similar to Origami. Only here we use a Napkin – a well starched cloth to fold. I was reverse engineering this design at a restaurant when the person in – charge of setting up the table noticed me. He said “would you like to learn that?” Surprised! I immediately said “Sure, why not!” He was kind enough to show me three four different folds. The rest I learnt from books.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started! Share the Origami models you make or about your experience creating them. Have an Arty Week!

Year in a Review

In the Holiday mood, I am also going to take a break next week. Most people have already signed off till New Years. As a shop owners, we are busy making products, posting on social media, settling accounts, packing, shipping and making new and the cycle continues year round. That makes us use our phones for long hours at work. A little digital detox to spend time with yourself, family and nature can rejuvenate us.

My Desk
My Desk! It’s Christmas 🎄

And we can come back in the New Year refreshed and charged up for another year ahead. Many people also use this time to upgrade their skills, read up on books they always wanted to. I started my Blog this year in September 2020. I have 17 Posts by now. The response to the Blog has been overwhelming. It’s been a good journey with your love, support and encouragement.

So I thought I would do this year in a review post. Helps me connect with the new followers too! Here is a list of the posts I have done on Arts and Crafts so far. You may click on the title to go to the post. All these are listed on my Blog page – ‘The Art Life’

So just in case you missed out on reading any of them, you still can. Please note the Blog page shows only the last 10posts and so to see the previous ones you may use the links above or scroll to previous posts.

If you like reading my posts and wish to continue our association, you may click follow or subscribe to the Blog. This will make the posts come to your Email Inbox and you may read them at your convenience.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December Calendar with a Christmas Wreath that I created Digitally

This is an Instant Digital Download (JPEG) File that can be purchased at my Etsy Shop NMARTWORKS Picture Format opens with any Photo Editing Software. Once you pay, you can instantly download and use.

Book Recommendations – Arts and Crafts

They say a good book is always a good investment. Today all material is available online but I still prefer to take a book, read and learn from it. The online material gets downloaded and saved. Later if I want to refer to it again after a while, I am unable to find it. On the contrary if it is a book ; I can pick up the book, flip to the page, refer to what I was looking for anytime.

The Human Brain does not remember everything it saw or heard at one go. We need to go back and forth to remember and understand things clearly. Besides we don’t usually learn until we actually get our hands into it. That is when the real questions pop and problems happen.

Sometimes google gives the answers but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to understand. Books on hobbies including Arts and Crafts are expensive. One of the reasons most book stores don’t keep them or keep just one or two. The helper at the bookstore would tell me “Ma’am, we have only one. People just read it here. They are expensive so people rarely buy it. If you want the other titles I can order them for you”.

There were times when I would go to the hobby section of every library I visit and check which books they have on Arts and Crafts. Coffee Shops also kept a few books; books people gave them or they collected. Sometimes I would find a good book there – Coffee Table Books.

Collecting books to learn a new Art or Craft became a holiday activity. I would pick magazines during my waiting hours at places, even if they had like just a single article on Home Decor or Crafting. I would still check it up. Another place I would get some good books was the Children’s Reading Corner at Resorts. If it’s in their library and I have been there, the chances are that I have read the book.

My mom had enrolled me for speech and drama classes. Thanks to my teacher there Reading became a habit. Even today I pack books every time I am travelling. On a holiday, you are most likely to find me at a cozy comfortable spot indoors or outdoors with a book. My folks like reading too. So my parents didn’t mind if I bought books and added them to my personal library.

In this article I share about four books that I recommend for Art and Craft Lovers. I have been collecting books for years, so I do not know if they are easily available or you would have to really look for them. We don’t get these online and recently when I checked the local bookstores they didn’t have them either. One place we are likely to find these is the book stalls at Art Fairs or Exhibitions or Art Galleries.

And after all the effort if you do get your hands on these, don’t miss your chance. I have actually managed to learn these Arts and Crafts with the help of the books.

Books on    Arts and Crafts
The Four Books that I have recommended

1) GIFT WRAPPING : The first one is ‘Creative Gift Wrapping’ by Yoshiko Hase. She is a ribbon creator from Japan and this is the 2nd Part of the series. It has 132 different tutorials on Gift Wrapping. In Japan a lot of importance is given to Gift Wrapping: the colour, the ribbon, the paper, the card everything. And they are really good at it! With the festive season coming up, who wouldn’t love some special wrapping tips from the experts!

2) SEWING : The second one is ‘SEW Step-by-Step’ by Alison Smith. She has been a Textiles Tutor at the Liberty Sewing School in London and the Janome Sewing School in Cheshire. Alison also has her own shop – Fabulous Fabrics and a sewing school – Alison Victoria School of Sewing in Leicestershire. Her school is the largest independent sewing school in England. This book really guides and takes you on a complete step-by-step process to everything you need to know about sewing on the machine. A beginners workshop at their training centre when I bought my Janome Sewing Machine along with this book was enough for me. The book has been my go to guide or sewing manual every time I want to try a new project.

3) CANDLE MAKING : Your Christmas Decor would be incomplete without Candles. If you wish to make them at home for your family and friends and need some ideas to get started, then my next book is all you need. It has 20 different projects with items you can make, by yourself at home. The book explains all the tools and materials that you require for different types of candles too. The book ‘CANDLES’ by Diana Civil is great for a holiday activity of Candle Making.

4) NAPKIN FOLDING : Inviting friends and family home for lunch or dinner? This book has 150 ideas on Napkin Folding that surely make an impressive table setting. If you are following a theme or a particular style and want something to match, this book has it all. It is called ‘The Practical Guide to Napkins and Napkin Folding’ by Rick Beech.

Have you read these? If you have read any other books on Arts and Crafts that you have loved, do share about your experience. I would be happy to hear from you and add new books to my collection too! Have an Arty Weekend!

Note: If you are looking for Christmas Gifts to buy, do visit my shops and take a look. I have shops on Etsy, Society6 and Redbubble all three by the same name ‘NMartworks’. If you like something, there are offers and discounts this weekend. Links are on the Home Page. Thank You!