Sunday, January 07, 2007

Making Origami Paper

For our wedding, Kenji's mom and dad folded 1,000 cranes out of shiny gold-colored paper squares, and had them arranged in the shape of the family crest, mounted on a black matte background and framed. It hangs in our living room, above where the sofa corners up with the love seat, and looks like this.

In Japanese culture, it is tradition for the bride-to-be to fold 1,000 paper cranes before the wedding. This is meant to teach her patience. I'm not sure what it means if the bride-to-be's in-laws fold the cranes for her -- so I've been making up for it for the last two and a half years by folding tiny cranes out of the little paper napkin rings that come on the flatware at some restaurants. At least the wait staff is patient with me while I fold instead of review the menu.

Getting back to the family crest - I don't know anything about it, such as its origins or whether it has any particular meaning. Kenji says he's only known of the crest for about ten years, so he really doesn't know anything about it either. Perhaps Kenji's mom or dad could leave and informative comment to this post if they happen to know some more information. ;)

Anyway, after this weekend, I am about 22 cranes closer to my 1,000. Two of them I folded at Chevy's in Clifton while we waited for our lunch on Saturday. But the other 20 were a result of me playing with Adobe Illustrator all weekend, recreating the crest as a vector graphics file. I have an evil plan for this file, hee hee hee. Ok, it's not an evil plan, it's just a plan. But saying I have an evil plan is more fun for me.

What was not part of my evil plan was deciding, after printing the crest, that it might be cool to fold into a crane. I was very pleased when I finished to find that the family crest is especially well-suited for this. If folded correctly, the leaves align themselves nicely on the wings, the lines in the leaves look like ribs and a spine, and the small circle in the crux of the leaves becomes a collar bone around the base of the crane's neck. As you can see from the photos below, I experimented with making the crest two or even three different colors.

Using three colors results in a bird that has one color for its breast, another for its wings, and a third for its back and base of the tail.

My first few cranes had only the large crest on them (not shown). Then Kenji suggested adding smaller crests to the wings to dress them up a bit. I decided to add the mini-crests to all four corners of my origami paper, which resulted in a nice decorative head and tail.

I now have a template that prints twelve 2.5" origami squares on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. Although my template also prints little crop marks, I find the biggest challenge is cutting the sheet to make the pieces as square as possible. Anyway, fun-fun-fun. Now I just have to find something to do with all these colorful cranes!

No comments: