Page 1 of 4

Origami... Intellectual Art ?

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 1:21 am
by PaperMate

Just an observation - but judging by the forum member's list, the 'typical' Origami-ist is:
a young, academic-type male ?

Is this :
1, a true representation of the Origami population ?
2, a stereotypal, sweeping generalisation ?
3, simply true of many/most internet forum users ?

Share your thoughts....

Anyway, whatever your age/gender, I think Origami can certainly be classed as an 'intellectual' art, which appeals to all introspective individuals
I guess because of it's step-by-step procedure it focuses the thought processes and thus has a certain meditative effect.
It's both creative (free) and mathematical (governed)... Agree ?

Ignore me, I'm probably just rambling... must be a full moon ! :lol:

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 2:05 am
by Joe the white
I'm not totally sure on this because I havn't met, in person, another experienced* origamist, other than a female, Japanese, foriegn exchange student (which in Japan 99% of the population is Japanese, and traditionally women or children fold origami). From the people I know, they fit into your group, including myself. I don't know that many experienced female folders, but they may not get enough exposure, or do not commonly take origami to the enthusiast level, or possibly do not use the internet for that reason. I know we have a fair amount of women origamists on here, they just don't speak up much, but they should. :wink: whatever the reason I'd say it could be either 1 or 2, but you'd need to take a survey. :)

*folded many or more than traditional models for several years

I believe origami is a intellectual art, but I took a test once that said I was an extrospective person, but I think I'm both :) . I do lots of martial arts and chi excercises, and I find that origami can be like meditation, and does help in focusing. I've also found it has greatly improved my accuracy in shooting weapons, from rifles with sights and also blowguns without sights. Years ago I often missed the target , now I can hit a bullseye within a 1/2 inch at 40 ft or so with my blowgun.

It is a very geometrical art, but also random at times when using judgement folds. I think a good representation of what you describe is the Kawasaki rose, and also why it is so popular.

Hmm today is a full moon. :D

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 7:37 am
by bshuval
Thanks for yet another interesting topic for discussion.

In Israel, there is approximately the same number of males and females practicing origami (=member of the origami center). However, the approach of the males and females to origami is quite different. This could be a direct consequence of the differences between the male and the female brain.

We all know few (prolific) female origami designers. However, we mostly know the Japanese, English, and American ones. I have recently found out that there are many female Russian origami designers.

As for origami being an intellectual art: it is true if you pick up origami on your own. Most hard-core origami enthusiast, I believe, have picked up origami on their own. If you haven't got an analytical mind a good spatial perception, origami can be quite frustrating, and it is not likely you will become hard-core.

However, in Israel, origami is now being taught in many schools around the country. There are many many young origami lovers, from grades 1-6. They are taught origami differently, by specially trained teachers, using techniques developed especially for teaching origami to children. The children taught range from regular kids to kids with mental disabilities. The success is phenomenal, and the kids LOVE origami.

That said (and I may raise an eyebrow or two here), I do not know how many of those origami lovers would fit into the "hard-core origamist" criteria. Many of them, I believe, would abandon origami once classes are over. The few that are drawn to origami the same way we are might become hard-core.

My closer origami-friends almost all fit the criteria of academic type males. (Not young, by the way. I know a 77 year old folder, with whom I have had many exciting and stimulating conversations)

As for users of this forum. We need not ask what is the general characteristic of a user on this forum; but what makes one want to join a (this) forum. This is why I think that the demographics of this forum are a bit skewed compared to origami enthusiasts in general.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 7:40 am
by bshuval
One more thing...

Why do you think that "free (creative)" and "mathematical" (I disagree with governed) are two different things?

Do you think maths cannot be creative? If so, you have much to learn. There is a lot of beauty and creativity in maths. I have seen very creative proofs, using some radical ideas.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 8:41 am
by Hiba
@ Joe the White:you do a lot of martial arts and Origami?
The same to me.
We can be good friends.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 8:59 am
by PaperMate
Thanks for your replies,

I agree that there's probably a lack of exposure for female folders.
On many forums one tends to find a 'clique' of male respondants.
Perhaps it's time we girls redressed the balance and contributed more, (of course one doesn't have to post replies to contribute).

As a Science graduate, with higher Maths, I'd agree with bshuval.
There is a simplistic beauty and creativity in both disciplines. Many of the findings of the most influential scientists would be testament to this.
I was simply trying to draw a distinction and suggest that Origami was in fact 'open to all', wherever their academic strengths lay.... but I believe there's the science of art and the art of science..

Yes, you're right I have much to learn... Don't we all :?:

Speaking Origami,- I'm a white-belt.... any advice/tips on a 'closed sink'?

PS. You're quite right about a full-moon, Joe !
BTW: I'm into Shotokan Karate/Taekwondo, too

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 10:20 am
by bshuval
Papermate, do you know what the problem is with English? You cannot distinguish between a male and female speaking when you read most texts. In Hebrew the is a great distinction, so you almost always instantly know. I was absolutely certain you were male... So, sorry for my mistake. It's good to see female folders on this forum.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 10:23 am
by TheRealChris
most folders I know, are female. but I don't really know much about their education, and, to be honest, I don't really care about their education. my best folding friends are a 35 year old ex-butcher (now postman) and a 67 year old retired ex-chief-officer in a german department. one of germany's biggest talents (Stefan Weber) is a homeless artist, the other ones I know fit in that academic drawer. maybe it's the mixture between art and science, that makes so many academic people doing origami?
most female origamists do simple and mainly colourfull origami. women have, in the avarege, not a very good spatial sense, and you need that for doing complex models. maybe that's one of the reasons, why female folders often stay on modular stuff. maybe men have the tendency to like boasting with their models (active or passive), and that's why we like to do complex origami? any opinions about this?

Why do you think that "free (creative)" and "mathematical" (I disagree with governed) are two different things?

in my opinion, the difference between mathematical and creativity is, that math follows defined rules, and creativity doesn't. you surely can be somehow creative within math, but only within mathmatical borders. maybe that's the difference?



PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 12:01 pm
by bshuval
I don't agree that math follows defined rules... There is so much freedom within math. But this is a digression...

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 1:53 pm
by TheRealChris
I don't agree that math follows defined rules

oh, it definitely does. 1+1=2 there may creativity room for using the rules and formulas, but you can not change the basic rules for arithmetic, geometry, algebra and so on.

- Christian

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 2:50 pm
by bshuval
So you want to get into this conversation... They might have to lock this thread, but...

You know Geometry, right? Well, like everything in math, it is built over a few basic axioms. The fifth axiom is that given a line and a point, you can draw one and only one line parallel to the first line. And it is these "rules" that are the ground for what we call "Euclidean Geometry".

However, years later, someone thought of new kinds of Geometries. For example, Geometry on the unit circle, where lines are circles. Or geometries in 3D space, and so on.

Thinking of these new kinds of Geometry is what I call creativity.

As for 1+1 = 2, this rule, again, isn't correct. Over the field GF(2), for example, 1+1=0...

I am sorry for all of those who found this post really boring.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 5:35 pm
by TheRealChris
maybe you confuse creativity with delevopment. things are changing, in every science, and also in origami. maybe this is also a semantic problem, because I wouldn't call somebody very creative, if he creates the 25th elephant, or another modular cube. I wouldn't call it creative, but some (many?) others would. that's the semantic problem with the word creativity. creativity in origami was, in my opinion, the usage of the transparency of paper, to create models that look more complex as they are. creativity in origami was the creation of modular toon-models. "over the water under the water" is extremely creative, or "geco on a wall", or knotology, or Herman van Goubergen's skull. it's not very creative to recreate something, or to take something to make it look better, that's development... development through creativity???? hmmm... it's getting confusing, isn't it?

in math, it's not like "hey, how about letting a beeing b" but more like "why didn't we looked at it from that view". it's not that creative to have a sudden inspiration, or to study something for a long time, to be better or have better use of something.
As for 1+1 = 2, this rule, again, isn't correct. Over the field GF(2), for example, 1+1=0

I know what you mean, and I know where the mistakes are lying. but we shouldn't go deeper into this, that's too far from origami.

maybe we should first reduce the term "creativity" to a common denominator. often it's only a point of view, and maybe I have another view of "creativity" than you have.

could everybody please give a short opinion about, what he/she thinks about the term "creativity", and what it means to him?

- Christian

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 6:06 pm
by bshuval
Wow, this is another difficult question. It reminds me why I didn't study philosophy.

Reading you examples of creative things, I think that you mistook "creativity" with "originality"...

I think that creativity is being able to use a basic set of tools to produce something that wasn't there.

I have changed the above definition five times already, while writing this post. Defining creativity is very difficult, and I am still not satisfied completely with the above definition.

In any case, I think that both art and craft are creative. Therefore, even merely folding a flapping bird is a creative act. It is just as creative as inventing a completely new model with an unexplored technique/subject.

PostPosted: June 4th, 2004, 7:19 pm
by wolf
PaperMate wrote:I agree that there's probably a lack of exposure for female folders.

Hardly. Go to any community folding event or convention, and the majority of the folders are female (at least in the US). And often it's the female folders who are to blame for the lack of advanced female folders. Example of a conversation at a convention:

Folder X: Hey, let's fold this model by Montroll.
Female Folder: Gasp! That's a Complex (tm) model, and I'm only a High Intermediate (tm) folder, so I can't do that. <folds another modular instead>

...and so the FF never gets to improve herself.

Or, another case where an FF is folding scales for a cobra, and another FF walks by and remarks that it'll make a pretty belt. Not very encouraging, that.

Then there's testosterone soaked teenage boys who sneer and look skeptically at the FF who'd just finished folding a supercomplex dragon. Not very encouraging either.

On many forums one tends to find a 'clique' of male respondants.

Which may not mean much, since it's easy to hide your true gender behind your handle. On online gaming communities, some guys use this to their advantage, because female player characters tend to be treated nicer and receive more favours.

There is a simplistic beauty and creativity in both disciplines.

Science is messy. So is mathematics, but at least it doesn't stink up your clothes. :P

.... but I believe there's the science of art and the art of science..

Science, art, call it what you will, as long as you're having fun doing it, who cares? :D

Speaking Origami,- I'm a white-belt.... any advice/tips on a 'closed sink'?:wink:

Practice on a waterbomb base. Start the sink at the edges and slowly work your way into the centre of the sink. It'll take a while for the technique to sink in, but after some practice, it'll feel really natural.

PostPosted: June 5th, 2004, 12:37 am
by PaperMate
Hi 'Guys', :wink:

Interesting replies, thanks! It's fascinating to throw out a thread and then observe the web being woven.

I think each of you is right and I guess 'creativity' is a 'concept open to individual interpretation. But hey, let's not get too literal.
See what I mean about introspective individuals ? :lol:

I'm new to Origami. I've never attended a convention, visited an exhibition or even met another 'folder' face-to-face. I'm just looking for feedback on the: who, why and where of origami-ists in general.

From your replies, I'm not so sure that this forum IS truly representative of the origami population and as wolf rightly puts it:
Quote:'s easy to hide your true gender behind your handle.
Male does not necessarily mean male.

I, myself am guilty of deception, or at least prevarication.. bad experience*, I always choose an ambiguous username.
But is it possible to remain 'genderless' online ? or do we find ourselves automatically asigning a gender to others... :?:
I was absolutely certain you were male. So sorry for my mistake... bshuval.
OK, no offence taken :) Many of my interests are more typically 'male' pursuits : aircraft / aviation, computers / programming,....

Anyway minor digression aside, and back to Origami. It seems that many of the high-profile folders are male ? Is that right ? A little like grand Chessmasters.
I'm wondering how you get to developing your own models... is it mainly trial and error, or (like chess) do you actually think a few (moves) folds ahead and visualise the model taking form ?
What makes a good folder..... great ?
For me, I guess it's what I mean by true creativity, (using the term loosely) the ability to work with the basic tools but to apply them in an individualistic way to create something truly unique. It's about seeing the wider picture... a little like Einstein!

Thanks for your tip re: 'closed sink' Wolf, perhaps it's too ambitious for a beginner but I'll give it a go... no limits.