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Paper Folding in the Office: A Complete Guide to Origami

Oragami at work

In the work place there are a number of tools employees use to accomplish the tasks critical to their job. Often, because employees are generally specialists, the same devices are used frequently throughout the work day. Because of this it is important to consider how people interact with the devices they use. There are a number of benefits of considering such interaction both in terms of safety, getting the job done efficiently, and preventing employee fatigue.

The Basics of Origami

Origami is technically an art, which involves transforming a piece of flat material - like paper - into a sculpture by folding the material until the desired shape and volume is obtained. The word "Origami" is a Japanese word that literally means 'paper folding'. "Ori" means "folding", while "Gami" pertains to "paper". In the traditional definition of origami, the paper sculpture should be made only by folding the sheets and there should be no cutting or gluing. Otherwise, such paper folding by-products are not referred to as origami but kirigami, where "Kiri" means "to cut".

Worldwide Influence

Origami has long been a part of the Japanese culture but such paper folding practices cannot be attributed to Japan alone. As a matter of fact, several other cultures have long incorporated paper folding in their traditional practices – some of which must have been at least a century old. China, for instance, has a tradition wherein folded papers in forms of gold nuggets should be burned during funerals. This practice was passed on from one generation to another and until now, the exact date as to when this practice started is still not certain. European nations, such as Germany, Italy and Spain, have provided evidence that boxes and boats were among the earliest forms of paper folding products in the continent. While there are many speculations as to where paper folding practices were derived from, still, such claims could not be supported because there is too little evidence.

Symbolism and Application

Paper sculptures are extremely important in traditional weddings, celebrations and even burials, especially in Japan and in China. They are symbols of sorts. Some are considered good luck tokens, while some are vital in adhering to particular superstitions and beliefs. One of the most popular forms of symbolic origami is the paper crane. For the Japanese and for the people of other nationalities, paper cranes generally symbolize peace and unity, which is why many people believe that origami paper cranes can be used to spread awareness all over the world. This concept was popularized by Eleanor Coerr in her book, "Sadako and 1,000 Paper Cranes".Red origami boat

Aside from symbolism and association with culture and tradition, origami is considered in technological advances as well. In the present, origami is widely used by mathematicians and innovators because it can be easily associated with mathematical models that are generally highly technical in nature.

Now that origami is being popularized in Modernized Art Form, many architects, engineers and other professionals in the construction industry endeavor to create innovative building designs inspired from forms obtained from origami - to the extent that "Paper Folding" can now be also referred to as "Paper Engineering". Fashion designers along with other designers did the same as well – they incorporated origami in various fields and subjects. Currently, origami can be seen in various forms – buildings, fashion accessories, temporary facilities, etc. After all, the use of origami presents a wide range of practical approaches and product designs.

Man folding origami

More Information and Origami How To's

For more information on origami, its uses and on how to learn it, please consult the following links:

Origami Information and History

Origami Clubs and Organizations

Origami Photo Galleries, Exhibits, and Artists

Origami Tutorials and Instructions

Origami Materials for Kids and Educators


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