The Public Paperfolding History Project

Index Page

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A Brief History of Educational, Decorative, Recreational and Artistic Paperfolding Worldwide in the Modern Period (after 1970)
 

By educational paperfolding I mean paperfolding intended to act as a means of education. By decorative paperfolding I mean paperfolding used to create items intended to be used as ornaments or decorations for the home or elsewhere. By recreational paperfolding I mean the activity of folding paper to amuse or entertain oneself or others, or to create toys or facilitate the playing of games. By artistic paperfolding I mean paperfolding used to create objects which are intended for sale or display as artworks.

At present this page presents only the sketchiest outline of some aspects of the relevant history in the modern period. Further detail will be added as time permits. Suggestions for alternative waysof analysing and thinking about the history of this period are welcome.

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A: The Growth of National Paperfolding Organisations

National paperfolding organisations typically promote interest in recreational paperfolding in their national language, organise meetings, conventions and exhibitions, publish perodicals enabling the sharing of news, ideas, and diagrams for new designs, and act as sources of information for the local media.

Somewhat bizzarely, some forms of recreational paperfolding, such as Golden Venture / 3D modular origami are not usually included in the activities of the majority of these societies.

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i. In Japan

Akira Yoshizawa had established his own origami society, called the International Origami Study Society, in 1954 and Toyoaki Kawai had established his own society, called the Society for the Study of Creative Origami, at a much later date, probably in the 1960s. Both these societies seem to have been based on the master / pupil relationship model of traditional Japanese arts and crafts education.

In May 1967 a group of nine Japanese paperfolders, including Kunihiko Kasahara and Toshie Takahama, formed a new kind of origami society, The Sosaku Origami 67 Group, one that was not led by an origami master but one in which all the members were equally free to make contributions and develop their talents in whatever way they saw fit.

After 1970 this group seems to have ceased to function, perhaps because of the fornation of the more broadly based Japan Origami Creator's Association. I do not at present know much about how this society was set up, how it functioned or when it ceased to exist, but it seems that it became clear to at least some of the membership that there was a need for a more broadly based society, whose membership was not limited just to origami designers, but also catered for the interests of people who folded for recreation, and that this realisation led to the founding of the Nippon Origami Association (often just known as NOA) in 1973.

In 1990 Makoto Yamaguchi, Yoshitoshi Kimura, Seiji Nishikawa, and Kazuo Yoshino formed the Origami Tanteidan (Detectives) which changed its name to the Japan Origami Academic Society (JOAS) in 1999.

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ii. In Europe

The first formal national paperfolding orgamisation in Europe, the British Origami Society, had been founded in 1967. Other formal societies were formed in other European countries from the late 1970s onwards:

France: The Mouvement franšais des plieurs de papier (MFPP) was founded by Jean-Claude Correia in 1978.

Italy: The Centro Diffusione Origami (CDO) was founded by Roberto Morassi and Giovanni Maltagliati in 1979.

Germany: Origami Deutschland was founded by Paulo Mulatinho and 7 other origami enthusiasts in 1979.

Spain: The Asociaciˇn Espa˝ola de Papiroflexia (AEP) was founded in 1980.

The Netherlands: The Origami SociŰteit Nederland (OSN) was founded in 1983.

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iii. In The USA

USA: The Friends of the Origami Center of America was founded by Michael Shall, Alice Gray, Gay Gross, Natalie Epstein, Alan Kaplan, Robert Neale, Florence Temko, Gwen Williams, and others, in 1980, as a formal successor to Lillian Oppenheimer's informal Origami Center organisation. In 1994, after her death in 1992, the organisation changed its name to OrigamiUSA.

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iv. Elsewhere

Many other formal national paperfolding societies have been founded in many other countries from the 1990s onwards.

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B: The Development of Paperfolding Ethics

The development of ideas relating to paperfolding ethics, ie what techniques are allowable in a recreational paperfolding design, did mot begin in 1970. However these ideas was not particularly influential among paperfolders until after this date.

i. The idea of pure origami

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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C: The Development of Paperfolding Technique

The various paperfolding techniques in use by modern paperfolders were often originated at an earlier, sometimes at a much earlier, date, but the use to which these techniques have been put has greatly expanded during the modern period.

i. Paper Sculpture

Information about his topic will be added in due course

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ii. Pop-ups and Origami Architecture

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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iii. Modular Origami

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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iv. Corrugations and Tessellations

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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v. Box-pleating

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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vi. Wet-folding

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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vii. Circle Packing and Grafting

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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viii. The Use of Curved Creases

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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D: The Copyright Debate

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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D: The Idea of Artistic Origami

Information about this topic will be added in due course

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E: The impact of the internet and social media

The internet has made it much easier for recreational paperfolders to keep in touch with each other and information about new designs and design ideas now spreads with lightning speed, so that it is now probably impossible to distinguish between paperfolding styles and techniques on a geographical basis.

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