The Art Of Origami

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Origami can be a great exercise for senior citizens. It could help people exercise their brain and even relieve stress. Here’s a first hand account from someone practising it for 30 years and more.

When you walk into my house, among the first things to catch your eye are intricately folded paper models. There are baskets, birds, flowers and boxes, all made out of brightly coloured paper, festooned on tables, suspended from lamps, scattered all over.

I am often asked about these artefacts, which are properly known by the name ‘Origami.’


Origami boxes by the author

If you follow the google trail, you will soon find that Origami is an art of paper folding invented by the Japanese soon after paper was brought to Japan by the Chinese around the 6th century AD. Ori means ‘folding’, and kami means ‘paper’ and it has spread beyond Japan to other countries to include all types of paper folding.


Traditionally Origami used a single sheet of paper to create designs, like birds and flowers. The art has evolved to include the use of multiple sheets. Origami can be practical- it is used in the medical sciences and for model-building but for me it is an exercise in mindfulness and stress relief. I was introduced to this art by a colleague and friend over 30 years ago, but I still consider myself to be a novice.

The discipline of folding to a pattern and the demands origami makes on my creativity and visualisation, keeps my mind sharp and relieves the tensions of everyday life. I keep square sheets of paper with me always and when I need to relax or need a distraction, I create flowers and birds. I am surrounded by their beauty and I do not need to pluck or cage a living thing for it. My mind and hands are actively engaged, and the satisfaction of creation is for me far better than passive means of relaxation such as TV.

Origami is even green, as the boxes can be used for a wide variety of purposes. My daughter and her friends have learnt to make these boxes, and use them instead of wooden or plastic boxes. When my daughter was in school, I had made a Christmas tree which she took to school. The next day half a dozen of her friends came home, all wanting to learn how to make the tree. The joy that you get when you see a square sheet of paper turning into a bird or a flower is something that you have to experience.

Pencil stands

Pencil stands

Recently, I had a short origami workshop for children. Watching children wanting to learn this art and the joy on their faces when they see the final product is total happiness. This is a peaceful art, and one which has enriched my life. I will continue creating as long as I am able and teaching anyone who is interested.

Christmas tree

Christmas tree

Origami is not a difficult art to learn. There are many videos available on YouTube from which this art can be learnt. One can start with the easy ones, the ones that are meant for children.

All Origami photographs courtesy author

Featured Image: Ravi Acharya holds an Origami workshop for children. Photograph: Silver Talkies 

Ravi Acharya also teaches Origami. If you wish to learn from him or want him to conduct a workshop for a group of people, please write to us on


About Author

Ravi Acharya

Ravi Acharya has been associated with education for more than 40 years. He has worked with Orient Blackswan, major publishers of school textbooks, among others. He also worked with IIM Ahmedabad for 25 years and was the involved in setting up an educational institution in Pune. His interest lies in education, especially the quality of the text books at the school level. He started practising Origami 30 years ago and it remains a stress buster for him and also a way of spreading joy.