So THAT’s what all the origami was about…

Any of my friends can tell you that over the last few months I’ve been cultivating my origami skills — as evidenced by the constant photo documenting with which I’ve bombarded them all.

I’ve always enjoyed doing origami, and decided to use the making of this stop motion animation as an excuse to do a lot of it.

Origami starts off being incredibly frustrating. Instruction sets use cryptic annotations that command specific folding maneuvers, sometimes corresponding to multi-step fold sequences, which you’re expected to know. Some diagrams make it incredibly unclear how you got from one step to the next. You might try to circumvent the challenge of interpreting 3-D actions from 2-D diagrams by watching a video tutorial, but those too can be unclear or painstakingly slow.

Eventually, though, I began to notice this creeping intuition arise. Not only was I able to glance at a set of instructions and easily understand what I needed to do, I could even at times anticipate the steps I needed to perform to create a certain shape or structure. It reminded me of instances when, after days of running through practice problems for my organic chemistry class, I finally understood how to look at a synthesis problem and envision a pathway for how the reaction occurred. It became very clear to me that origami is an entire way of thinking and visualizing space. Being able to look at a flat sheet of paper and understand how to create a three-dimensional entity without making any cuts or insertions? That requires an awareness of space and folding that seems nothing short of magic to me. 

Around this time I also began to realize how many diverse applications of origami there are. Just to give you an idea, here’s a smattering: studying crash impacts in vehiclesassembling DNA structurescreating stents to open clogged passageways in our bodies; understanding how pollen grains combat dehydration and boosting solar panel productivity. The list goes on, and incorporates diverse examples across disciplines.

On a whim, I thought it would be cool to make a stop-motion animation using origami. From that journey, I came away with a life-long appreciation for the possibilities of origami and its impressive repertoire of applications. I’m definitely still an amateur folder, but I’m excited to explore the various tessellations and fractal-outgrowths of this medium.

I’ll leave you all with the trailer of Between the Folds, a documentary on origami that I haven’t seen yet, but hope to watch real soon. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought!





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