Origami Origins

The Origins of 3D Origami

Chinese Paper Folding (Zhezhi) is the predecessor of Japanese Origami and is now more popularly known as 3D Origami, Modular Origami or Golden Venture Paper Folding. Origami as we know it today is generally used to describe one piece of paper folded into a variety of different shapes and animals, whereas Chinese Paper Folding incorporates lots of smaller, modular pieces that are built up to create structures ranging from simple bowls to extravagant birds of paradise.

Many of us have dabbled in origami techniques even as children, creating waterbombs, cranes and hopping frogs, but 3D Origami Art has only just started to popularise in Western society. In 1992, 286 Chinese immigrants travelling to America aboard the freighter Golden Venture ran aground in New York City, and while waiting for trial for political asylum they created 3D Origami Art from magazines.

Since this incident 3D Origami has only grown in popularity. There are large scale conventions in countries across the world and artists have been busy creating more elaborate and extravagant designs using this simple folding technique. My own 3D Origami designs make use of several common triangular and rectangular folds that I have personally modified to more correctly suit my needs.


The issue of copyright in Origami is a long and arduous debate. Origami techniques have been around since the 6th century and have been passed down through generations. I personally first learnt to make Origami in junior school from a creative classmate, but there are also hundreds if not thousands of books containing detailed instructions on how to create Origami animals and other designs. After searching long and hard to establish the original creator of the standard triangular folding method I use in my pieces I have concluded that he or she is probably long gone and forgotten, and such a task would match the enormity of establishing the inventor of the wheel. However if you have any information on this matter please let me know as I would be more than interested to know the exact origin of a technique I use daily to create my artworks.

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