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Meet the American Godmother of Origami

Origami USA Paper CraneFor just over a fortnight, OrigamiUSA leads the world in a celebration of the art of origami. World Origami Days commences annually on October 24, the day Lillian Oppenheimer, the founder of the first American origami group, was born in 1898, and ends on November 11, when the paper crane became a national symbol of peace in Japan.

In honor of World Origami Days, let’s take a look at the wonderful, origami-filled life that Oppenheimer led. “Why should the Japanese have all the fun?” Oppenheimer asked. She answered that question first by founding the Origami Center of America in Gramercy Park in Manhattan. That organization eventually evolved into OrigamiUSA, the host of World Origami Days.

Oppenheimer enjoyed another fun hobby during her life: puppets. In a fusion of her two passions, she made puppets out of origami to tell stories. Later, she would go on to write books about origami, paper napkin folding and puppets, some in partnership with the late famous Lamb Chops puppeteer Shari Lewis. You can learn more about Oppenheimer in a series of videos on OrigamiUSA’s website that feature her reminiscing about her life and passion for origami.

Origami Seal, Credit David Masters Origami T Rex, Credit Stewart Butterfield

So how does one celebrate World Origami Days and partake in this passion of Oppenheimer's? Besides enjoying the Origami Page-A-Day® calendar, there are a few big celebration of the paper arts, such as the Ultimate Origami Convention from October 31-November 2 in France, or the OrigaMIT’s Convention on November 8 in Massachusetts.

You can also buy your own origami set and fold at home. The Joy of Origami breathes fresh energy into the art form with fun patterned paper and 57 different projects that create everything from a T-Rex to an elephant in pajamas. Star Wars fans can make Darth Vader, Yoda and Princess Leia come to life with the Star Wars® Origami set, custom-designed with art from the movies.

Take origami on vacation—or find a way to keep your kids occupied in the back seat during road trips—with Origami On the Go, which will keep idle hands busy and happy.

Page-A-Day 2015 Origami Calendar  Origami on the Go

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