The word Origami comes from the Japanese word "ori" meaning folding and "kami" meaning paper. This art form began somewhere between the 16th and 17th century, after the process of making paper, had migrated from China and taken hold in Japan.
At this time, paper was a luxury and very expensive to buy. So, it was only the wealthy who could afford to create origami. More accurately, it was only the wealthy who could afford to PAY an artist, to create origami for them.
Origami became a status symbol in the Japanese culture. Samurai warriors would present a gift of sushi, wrapped in origami paper, to honor the recipient. Origami artists were employed, to adorn sake glasses with ornate origami paper, for the bride and groom.
Origami originated in Japan and is defined as “the art or process of folding paper into shapes.” The concept is very simple but, the execution of it can be very complex. This contradiction is part of the fascination why origami
continues to inspire our imaginations.
Interestingly, no instructions on how to perform origami were written down until the year 1797. At that time, a book entitled "How To Fold 1000 Cranes" was released. Cranes are sacred in Japanese culture. It's said that the person who folds 1000 cranes will be granted one wish. Today, Japanese school children are taught to fold cranes, to continue the tradition of origami.
In origami there are 7 basic folds and 5 bases. It is from these basic folds and
bases that all other origami shapes are made. Once you understand these, you
are open to infinite possibilities as to what you can fold into creation.
These are the 7 basic folds, however, the mountain and valley folds are the folds which all other folds originate. There are 5 origami bases. These are a series of folds that transform the paper into rudimentary shapes. It's from these 7 basic folds and 5 bases that all origami creations are made.
The two most common folds are the valley and the mountain folds. The mountain folds are always folded away from you. The valley folds are folded toward you. Remember all those paper airplanes you made in grade school? Those might be your first attempts at origami. I know they were my first!