Friday, April 27, 2012

Origami madness...

It was a mess of paper, laughter and cramped fingers as we got down to making little origami dresses to use as embellishments for a gift series consisting of a birthday calendar book, fridge magnet and card for Mothers Day.

It was a project that had to be created from scratch.  A serendipitous side-effect of having to prepare materials for the club on a budget that is non-existent - is that it is forcing me to find creative solutions to work around our little obstacles.  In the process I am discovering things that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to engage, had it not be born out of this particular necessity.  I am grateful that it is constantly challenging my own creativity and hones my problem solving skills. 

We did not have proper Origami paper squares at our disposal.  So before the class, I set to work at creating the Origami Squares themselves  - I used Microsoft's design tools in Power Point to draw 10 by 10 squares and fill them with patterns and designs that a mom might find appealing.  I also brought along various scraps of gift wrap, patterned paper and media paraphernalia that I could spare out of my house. 

Students then had the unfortunate task of painstakingly cutting out the squares so that it was an absolutely perfect square.  They were meticulous in this regard.  One could almost touch the intense concentration in the room.

 The thing that drew the most laughter during the club meet that day was big, burly boys, with big clunky fingers folding itty bitty paper dresses.  They were really fantastic sports though and tackled the project with the same kind of spirit they would devote to a manly Rugby match but with the fine tuned finesse of a ballerina. 

We began the club at 1:30pm - by 3:30pm they were still furiously folding - I reluctantly asked them to pack up and finish their projects at home.  I have a feeling we could have been there until 5pm, if I had allowed them to.  They were really serious about those little paper dresses.....but alas we were already an hour over time - I had marking to finish and a paper to finalize and we needed to vacate the Philosophy Boardroom. 

By the next morning I had the suspicion that it might very well be that Origami Fever has virulently taken hold of the all the students, as I discovered upon entering my office - a few students had left notes that they had come by earlier to show me what they had come up with.   Fortunately I did manage to see Pona Litheko in the morning and was able to get some wonderful pictures of her project.

I was thrilled to see how students adapted the original design and added their own touches to it. I loved her addition of frothy, frilly "tissue-paper lace" to the top of the dresses.  I also loved the effect of the burned edges on the book text background and how it added dramatic contrast to the focal point.  Every single time we have held the craft club, and the students bring back their own projects - I am always blown away by the genius of their creative spirit. 

Pona Litheko

I must apologise to the students whose projects I didn't manage to photograph.  I will post your pictures and projects to this blog post once I have managed to photograph your fantastic work.

It was a bit of a busy day, I was scheduled to deliver a paper at the Lunch Hour Seminar on the Hands On Craft Project later on in that day to members of the Faculty of Arts and I was perhaps a little preoccupied with that, in addition to managing all my regular work effectively.

  Unfortunately, there were three different seminars scheduled on campus for that day and at that time so the turnout to the seminar was a little more scant than usual - but we were pleased to have been supported by members of the English, Sociology, Education, and Psychology and Development Studies departments.  We also had support from the craft club members and a few well known and respected senior students. 

In terms of feedback I am not sure if the fact that there were no visual or verbal indications of resistance, criticism or negative feedback qualify my assessment.  My impressions were that there was an overall decidedly positive reaction to the philosophical underpinnings of the Craft Club project, as presented in this talk.   I do hope though that we will be able to reach a greater audience and I hope that we will be granted another opportunity at a time when there are not so many other things going on campus to redeliver our vision for this venture.

Apologies for the blurry pictures of this event.  For some reason, the usually reliable camera turned out a series of blurred images and I wasn't able to find a clean, sharp picture - the three posted above were the best of the of the lot. 

And with that I conclude this report. I hope that you will be able to check in on us every now and again and let us know what you think.

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