Yoshizawa, a Japanese artist helped revive the art of origami when he developed a process of dampening the paper so he could mold sculptural forms. He called the process “wet folding”. With his geometric skills, great imagination and precision he created magnificent dragons, elephants and birds using a single sheet of paper. His directions for folding have been cited in a great number of origami primers. Yoshizawa received world recognition in the 1950’s and later was the cultural ambassador for Japan.
Issey Miyake is a fashion designer who’s unique style merged eastern fashion with western by incorporating the concepts of origami into his creations. In 1993 he designed two clothing lines, one called “Pleats Please” and the other “A POC” (A Piece of Cloth). Pleats Please was a clothing style that allowed for unrestricted movement without the fabric losing its shape. A POC was a piece of cloth that was woven from a single thread. This was accomplished by a weaving machine that was programmed by a computer. The A POC wasn’t released commercially until 1999. In 2006, the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Literature for lifetime achievement was awarded to Miyake for his designs, this being the first time the award was ever given to a fashion designer.
While he was still in kindergarten Hojo Takashi was introduced to origami for the first time. Later when he was in junior high he read the book Viva Origami that showed him the vast possibilities of the art of origami and increased his dedication to the art. Throughout his lifetime he has used the wet folding techniques invented by Yoshizawa and created unique figures with soft curves that have had a great emotional impact of the people who see them.
Unusual Uses for Origami
Furniture: Dakota Jackson designed a chair for the Lane Company, called the Coda, that was made from folded paper. Recently a chair, whose base is actually the packaging it is shipped in was developed using principles of origami. This was done in an effort to cut down on the amount of packing material that had to be disposed of. Just unfold the packaging to form the base of the chair, add the cushions and covers that are packed inside and your chair is ready for use with nothing that has to be thrown out or recycled.
Buildings: Fumihiko Maki designed the Kirishima International Concert Hall. This hall was built using the architect’s trademark brushed silver surfaces and was located on a secluded mountain site. In a style that resembled an origami figure the building had “folded” stainless steel planes that peaked into one of his “cloud” roofs. Yokohama International Port Terminal which was designed by Foreign Office Architects is another building that had a steel plate ceiling that resembled folded origami paper.
Therapy: Origami has been used in both physical and mental therapy sessions. It has been found to be flexible and convenient, readily accepted, simple, safe and helpful for evaluating things like concentration levels, degrees of cooperation and ability to solve problems. It is also useful as a relaxation tool.