Origami may have begun in Japan, but you can also do it in Bogota as Colombians have fallen in love with the art of folding paper.
Every Saturday afternoon in the Virgilio Barco library, Bogota’s local origami club, Around the World in 80 Papers, gets together to share their passion of making beautiful paper figures.
The club is celebrating its seventh anniversary and continues to welcome all who are interested in learning how to make origami.
When the creator of the club, Alexander Rodriguez, first began offering free classes on making origami, he never imagined that it would grow into a club with 50 regular members, and over 2,200 Facebook members from all over the world.
“The club happened spontaneously, people liked the origami classes so much that they went to the library just to learn more, so we decided to make it permanent here in Virgilio Barco,” Rodriguez told Colombia Reports.
“With origami you can discover how to make beautiful things with something so simple to get like paper,” said Jazmine Aceveda, who has been a member for 5 years. Her favorite origami figures are anything to do with the sea and nature, and on this day she was learning how to make a seahorse.
Aceveda added the club is a perfect way to meet new people and share fun moments together since origami can be a great icebreaker.
The Hernadez family are new members who initially came out of curiosity but now really enjoy the Saturday club a way to spend family time together. The father, a math professor, always makes geometrical figures and says that it helps develop the mind. The mother and daughter usually find themselves making origami animals, and said they’ll keep coming because it’s a relaxing and fun activity.
Besides being a fun hobby, making origami can be a very therapeutic experience and help improve mental health, added Rodriguez. People come and focus all their energy into making the figures and it helps them destress from a long week of work or studies.
Rodriguez is a local professor of origami and has been making origami for 18 years. After collecting more than 110 books on origami, he began to teach origami in nonprofits, in programs that targeted adolescents in trouble with the law. The origami served to develop their creative talents and also as a method of prevention so that children whose parents leave them unsupervised don’t fall into habits of delinquency.
Rodriguez has spread the love for origami by participating in origami conferences all over Colombia. From 2009 to 2010 he even starred in a television program, also called Around the World in 80 Papers, a show on the television channel CableUnion where he taught origami and read children’s stories with paper figures.
The love for origami also became the spark for romance. When Carolina Gutierrez Rozo saw the television program, she decided to attend Rodriguez’s class and happily shared that they’ve been dating now for four years.
One of the youngest members, who was building a grand, multi-colored castle, said that when making origami it’s good to have a lot of patience and never say never.
As Rodriguez helped one member with a tricky fold, he pointed out, “Look you can see how people make the same figure but it turns out different. Everyone puts something of themselves into the origami.”
Around the World in 80 Papers is free and open to the public. It meets every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5PM on the first floor of Virgilio Barco library. From June 24 to August 25, the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center is also holding an origami exhibition, Geometrical Metaphors, featuring innovative fashion designs made of paper.