Dig Baton Rouge

Folding Paper

By Tara Bennett


When thinking of origami, most people think of small, simplistic folded pieces of paper. But a new exhibit held at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM) will turn that perception on its head.

“Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami,” will examine in depth the ways origami exceeds the boundaries of craft and inspires innovative concepts in math, design, engineering, architecture, and technology. The exhibition will be on display at the LASM from July 11 through Sept. 27.

Origami, which means “paper folding” in Japanese, has evolved from a Japanese craft into a skilled global art form using complicated math and science techniques to achieve the resulting finished art piece. “Folding Paper” will feature more than 140 works by 50 international artists. The exhibition covers topics ranging from the history of origami to its influence on modern technology and design.

“For us it’s really exciting because it’s showing how art and science can be combined and work really well together and don’t have to be separate,” said LASM Communications Coordinator Douglas Kennedy. “This fits in line with us because it’s connecting the disciplines and showing that art and science don’t have to be separate and they, in fact, can work very well together.”

Origami is an art form that has modern day applications and uses beyond that of a paper folding craft. Several pieces in the exhibition will display origami’s uses ranging from airbag deployment to fashion.

“We actually have a heart stint on display that was designed using origami techniques,” said Kennedy. “You get to see how an ancient art form is being used today.”

In coordination with “Folding Paper,” the museum is hosting related events, “Roll into Summer,” and “Origami Unfolded.” “Roll into Summer” is the next event in LASM’s Art After Hours programming. Along with viewing the exhibition, attendees will be able to try their hand at paper-folding and discover the techniques of sushi-making with Chef Bone of Hello Sushi. Complimentary wine and hors doeuvres will be available with the cost of admission. For members, the cost is free to attend, and students are allowed entry at $5 and nonmembers at $7.

On Saturday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. LASM will dive even further into the global art form with “Origami Unfolded,” featuring various origami-related activities, including tours, demonstrations, and providing hands-on activities by local enthusiasts. Attendees will be able to create their own rabbits, frogs or cranes. In Japan, the crane is a mystical creature and represents good fortune and longevity.  Traditionally, it was believed that if one folded 1000 origami cranes, one’s wish would come true.  It has also become a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times.  As a result, it has become popular to fold 1000 cranes (in Japanese, called “senbazuru”). The cranes are strung together on strings and given as gifts.

“The kicker [for this event] is you can create your own paper, and learn how paper is made,” said Kennedy. “It’s the element that inspires this art form.”

Participating artists in the exhibition include local origami experts Kao Hwa Sze and Dr. John Hu. Both specialize in modular origami, which uses two or more sheets of paper to create complex structures. Hu will be on site during Art After Hours demonstrating his techniques.

LASM is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit lasm.org.


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