Hawaii: In Real Life ~ Origami Dō

With origami masters Richard Alexander and Michael LaFosse.

With origami masters Richard Alexander and Michael LaFosse.

How many of you have ever folded origami cranes for a wedding, or dollar bills for a graduation? Chances are, if you’re like me, you haven’t graduated past that kindergarten lesson in paper folding. But this weekend, you can learn more about making more artful origami — and paper, if you want to get really fancy — at the Spalding House (formerly known as The Contemporary Museum) from two world-renowned origami masters.

Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander of Origami Dō have written dozens of books on origami, from beginner folds to the more advanced items that have been featured in art shows and museums. You may have seen their work in magazine and TV ads or retail store windows like Saks Fifth Avenue and Hermes, but LaFosse has also produced exhibits for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Peabody-Essex Museum, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, and Matsuya Ginza in Tokyo.

Fancy tips: Origami seahorse, star, and butterfly from dollar bills.

Fancy tips: Origami seahorse, star, and butterfly from dollar bills.

I don’t know exactly what folds you’ll learn in the Saturday classes, but they have beginner, intermediate, and intermediate “wet” sessions and have an amazing array of paper flowers and animals to show you how to take your origami to the next level. You also get to talk to them and get a better idea of how they apply the science of folds to the art. We take it for granted, but there’s quite a bit of math and geometry involved! And for those of you who think you are too left-brained to be artistic, think again: Both Alexander and LaFosse are biologists.

On Sunday, Alexander will teach you how to make your own paper. Whether you’re an origami enthusiast or a home crafter, or want to modify your favorite papers to make them more suitable for your needs, this is the workshop for you. He will discuss fibers and blends, pulp beating, sheet forming, pressing, and drying techniques.

Whichever class you take, you’ll get a special sneak preview of the Spalding House Less Is More exhibit, opening February 4, featuring LaFosse’s and Alexander’s origami works.

I talked story with LaFosse about origami, the upcoming workshops, and some quick folding tips as he made me an intricate butterfly, one of his original designs:

We also talked story with both Alexander and LaFosse about their background, different books, and original creations seen around the world. One of the things that interested me was the book on recycling various paper items to create new things. These are great tips for teachers, who can’t always afford to buy their own materials for class. Visit HawaiiIRL.com to see more!

Origami Dō workshops at the Spalding House
January 17 (click for details)
10-11:30 a.m. : Introduction to Origami ($20)
12:30-2 p.m.: Intermediate Folding ($20)
2:30-4 p.m.: Intermediate Wet Folding ($20)

January 18 (click for details)
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Papermaking for the artful folder ($175, $150 museum members; class is limited to six people)

Reservations are required. To reserve a space, call (808) 237-5230 or email seng@honolulumuseum.org.