Paper Rocks 

Thursday, March 31, 2005

A cornucopia of origami marvels:

I started off looking up the traditional samurai helmet origami pattern.

I found C3PO.

I went on a little further and found Dot and Spot, along with a cache of other origami films and below that, a section with origami conversation starters, fillers and enders.

This conversation starter "I made a special flower for you" reeks; the martini glass made from a dollar bill would better kill the two birds with one stone - a chance for the hapless male to display his paper-folding prowess as well as to show off a hundred-dollar bill.

(The martini glass doubles as the bird bath, giving the a sinister significance to the idea of "kill the two birds with one stone.")

In my youth, someone told me not piss off men I meet in bars. You never know when some vengeful misogynist gets one rejection too many and decides to blow torch off the woman's boobs. Therefore, I would respond by handing over the praying mantis to my erstwhile suitor.

The sort who would fold paper to attract the opposite sex already has Very Naughty Origami and Pornogami on the nightstand table beside the kleenex. Imaginationless types. Yawn.

Yet, more imaginatively, the idea of kokigami, a "paper sculpture of an animal over [the man's] organ," and the subsequent "unwrapping" reminds me of one of the uses of henna (or mehndi) applications on the hands of women: the bride, who often met her husband for the first time at her wedding, had her groom's initials inscribed in her henna design, which the groom then had to locate on their wedding night - this custom allowed two people who met for the first time to get comfortable with each other. (For those of you still into book-buying, get a more detailed guidebook to kokigami here.)

Naughty as these origami designs are, would anyone really want to decorate the place with them? They're assymetrical and clumsy, the paper obviously over-worked.

There are far better uses for origami than a lame ploy to get some action or to get over not getting any action.

In Japan, where cute little foreign English teachers get sack-fuls of origami what-nots, a colleague came up with a use for the choiciest of the bunch. She tied a string to the origami sculpture and taped the string from her ceiling. The more abstract designs add a modern flair to any room, but even a lone wasp might do the trick.

When your kids whine about wanting new toys, why not toss a few papers at them? You could yell, "Make your own goddamn toys!" I suggest a mobile of diplodoci, acrocanthosauruses and tyrannosauruses.

If the lucky bats look as good as they do in diagram, I am folding up a cluster of them and hanging them from my ceiling. They will go good with my spider and skeleton paraphernalia. Guess what kind of Halloween cards everyone is getting from me this year?

For those of you who collect teabags, you can make yourselves a herd of deer.

Origami, by the way, is the best way to make friends while on the road. In my travelling days, I made many preschooler friends by demonstrating and giving away origami animals. Once, when directions to a free beach led me to a Filipino slum village instead, I befriended the entire neighbourhood with folded paper frogs. As I was about to leave, someone ran up to me with a stool, made me sit down and demosntrate over and over again how to make the frogs, until every child had their very own. Just before I left, a lady barbecued some bananas for me. That's the power of origami.

Unlike other origami sculpture, for which you need a perfectly square sheet, however, you can find the tea bags for these deer anywhere. Whether in China or in Ethiopia, tea bags come in a standard design and are no further than your continental breakfast.

For novices and for those of you who tend to shy away from following directions, the easiest origami project is the origami boulder. Even if you lack the time or patience, you can order online specimens today for your collection. Origami is for everyone!

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