Ever since my oldest brother got given a huge book of origami patterns and he made me a little butterfly ring I have been fascinated by the process and results of folding a humble piece of paper. I can’t get my head around how someone can design their own complicated origami pieces (but I’ve always loved the pictures of the guys who do create them…head down in concentration sitting at a table surrounded by pieces of white paper in varying degrees of 3D-ness). I went through a stage about 1 or 2 years ago where I would keep a box of tiny litttle squares of origami paper in my handbag ready to fold something in a moment of quiet. I would fold little cranes and flowers and hyperbolic parabolas (so cool!) in public places like McDonalds and libraries and parks and I would leave my little creations on tables and chairs and hedges just so someone would see it and just wonder what the heck it was doing there! I think I still have some of that paper in my wallet. One day I will fold some more tiny creations!

So in honour of my love of origami I will share some of my favourite origami related pictures…

Firstly, a little bit of a show off…this is a Five Intersecting Tetrahedra that I made with my oldest brother. I made all the modules, but it turns out that I didn’t have enough arms (or brains) to put it together! So with four hands and two brains (and my bro’s genius new paper locking technique he devised to hold this together a little better) we put this together out of something like 30 individual pieces of paper and nothing else. This will always be one of my favourite completed origami projects! Sadly, after living on our top shelf for three years we decided it was time to let him go free…

Next is a simple origami vase and flower combination.I made a vase and a whole pile of lily flowers and some other tiny flower.  The lily folding pattern I used for most of the flowers is one of my  absolute favourite designs ever. I know how to fold it by heart. That is one of the designs I used to fold and leave on tables in food courts. It is also a design I taught to some kids at an orphanage I visited in Cambodia. I have to make this a long post and tell you about this day (probably my most recent origami adventure).

At the end of 2008 I went with a group of young people from my church to Cambodia to help out with some teaching at the Bible Education Centre that is funded by our church and to help with a few projects and we got to do  a few touristy things too. It was an amazing trip and I am considering returning for a longer period of time some time in the future. But back to origami…the team I was working with decided to go to an orphanage we had heard about at a restaurant (the restaurant raised funds for the small orphanage) just to hang out with the kids and we thought we might teach them a few songs or something (we didn’t really have anything planned). We were led by an employee of the restaurant down streets, into an alleyway and up some winding long stairs until we arrived. The orphanage had about 26 kids there and most of them were sitting on the ground concentrating on making beautiful Christmas decorations for their Christmas party the next day.

This is what they looked like hanging from the ceiliing…

I was intrigued and I sat down with them and I ended up teaching a few of the girls how to make the origami lily (I was a little bit rusty and I had to rack my brains but I figured it out in the end!). It was so nice to just sit and share something that easily overcomes any language barrier. This was one of my favourite experiences from the entire trip.

I am the one in the pink shirt in this pic, and my best bud is sitting in the front trying to figure it all out.

It was a lovely day and a couple of hours flew by just sitting drawing with the kids, while some of the boys played some games off to the side.  I really wish I remembered more folds that I could have shared with them though!

And thus concludes the telling of my origami adventures for today.

p.s. I still can’t fold that butterfly ring that my brother made me when I was a kid. I sort of like it that way.