Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Fold in Time?

I do not consider myself an origami expert. Usually, when I try to fold a sheet of paper, the corners don’t match, the edges come out wrong, and not matter how careful I am, the paper itself seems to change shape as I fold.

A couple days ago, though, when I was researching origami paper, I found that not all origami uses paper. Origami folders apparently include artists who use the techniques on metal, food, an even cloth. Cloth, really, you ask?

It’s called napkin folding.

As I said, I’ve never considered myself an origami expert, but it just so happens, I have had lots of practice with napkin folds after working at The Farm Lodge for a couple of summers. One of my favorite jobs there was setting the tables for dinner, which included ironing and starching 10 to 30 napkins (depending on the number of guests that night), and then picking out a napkin fold for that day. The fold often depended on the number of guests, since a bird-of-paradise or a water-lily might be really cool, but a fleur-de-lis in a water goblet is much simpler. Of course, the edges didn’t always match up either, but then napkins aren’t actually square.

This all comes up because I’m working on a new writing project.

I’m now the Arts & Crafts expert for a review site. Of all the different areas where I might consider myself expert, this was not one of them. Sure, I’ve taken a couple art classes, I’ve entered more doilies in the county fair than I can count, and I’ve even learned some weird abilities like transcribing patterns from heirloom doilies and potholders. I even organized and taught a children’s art class, after much reluctance and a fair bit of trepidation.

But using that background for writing? Maybe for adding a bit of color to a scene with some minor character in the back of the room, working busily away over a bobbin-lace pillow. (No, I haven’t written that scene yet, but I do know about where it will show up in one of my stories.) Still, actually thinking of myself as an expert on the best type of oil pastel, or watercolor paper? Not likely.

Until a couple weeks ago, that is.

I don’t know everything about paper or paintbrushes or , but I do know enough to start, and I also know where and how to find the extra information I need. So, even if I’ve never considered myself a proper artist, certainly not an expert, the experience still came in handy.

I even got to practice my French and Spanish a couple times when I needed to look up a brand’s website and it happened to be made by a European company. Now I just need to work on German and Japanese for those other companies’ websites…

And I might have to try actual paper origami again one of these daysafter I play with my watercolors sometime or get my hands on a set of oil pastels.

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