The word origami (折り紙) comes from the Japanese words for “folded” and “paper.” When you hear the word you probably think of small children folding cranes and hanging them from the ceiling. But in fact, the world of origami extends far beyond an activity for kids. Traditional Japanese origami has been widely practiced since the Edo period in Japan, beginning in the 17th century. Origami were traditional accompaniments for gifts and were also used in Shinto wedding ceremonies. Today, knowing how to make origami has grown to a full-fledged art form with designs growing increasingly intricate and complicated as artists continue to innovate in the field.
Traditional origami makes use of a special kind of paper called 和紙 (washi) that is stronger than ordinary wood pulp paper and holds creases better. However, origami can be made using any paper that holds a crease including printer paper and even money!
Today we are talking with professional origami artist, Tadashi Mori. Tadashi is from São Paulo, Brazil and started folding origami when he was just seven years old. These days, he runs a YouTube channel on how to make origami with over 300,000 subscribers and 100,000,000 views!
What made you fall in love with origami?
Origami is an important part of my life. Do you know Einstein’s quote “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid?” That’s exactly what origami is to me. I had several problems with school subjects and failed the 3rd grade due to self-esteem problems. Origami was the one thing I knew I was good at, and it helped me recover my self-esteem. Now I have graduated from one of the best universities in Brazil. (University of São Paulo)
Do you think anyone can learn to make origami like yours?
Absolutely. Nowadays I hear people say I’m a genius for being able to create complex origamis, but I know I’m not. Usually I ask them if they know how to read Chinese. I don’t know how to read it, but there are at least 1 billion people around the world who can read it. Origami is the same thing, it’s all about practice.
What is your favorite origami you have ever created?
Right now, my favorite origami is the Angel 3.0. But my favorite origami changes every year as I create new ones.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become an origami expert?
They key point is to overcome the frustration. Origami is not easy in the beginning, so you will eventually think you are not capable of making it. It took me a lot of time to start folding intermediate origamis, so just be patient and passionate about it to get there. About creating origamis, my first attempts took a few weeks to make an extremely simple origami, but by creating it I just put in my head that I’m capable of doing it, so now I don’t let the frustration get me and I don’t give up. My newest origami (charizard) took over 15 attempts and 60 hours working without a good result. It’s not easy for me, but I know it’s just about not giving up.
As you can see, folding paper isn’t just child’s play, and anyone can learn how to make origami! So grab a piece of paper, queue up one of Tadashi’s videos and see what you can create!