This is Vincent Floderer demonstrating his crimp method of folding a mushroom. It came to my attention on the that directory of wonderful things, bOING-bOING, where it was posted under the heading, Perfect mushroom origami. I’ve never seen Floderer fold before, though I’ve admired his work for some years. This is brilliant stuff and well worth investigating.
The reason I’m posting it here is that the post was followed by a flurry of comments by people saying, very nice, but it’s not origami — it’s papercraft or paper sculpture or maybe something like papier maché. When it was objected that this kind of folding was widely accepted within the origami community, there were comments about modern origami and how it’s not classical origami and so on. Classical? We had a classical period? Does he mean the Tokugawa?
What these well-meaning folks meant and could not articulate was that Floderer’s folding did not fit with their concept of origami. The Internet was made for such opinions — nothing slips through the tubes faster than informal fallacy. I sympathize: I am full of opinion. Half the time, I’m not even aware I have an opinion on something until people ask me and then it just comes out. Once, I was at this bus station and a Nestorian bishop walked up and asked me how I felt about the filioque controversy. So I told him. We went ten rounds before he won on points. Yeah, that’s right, defining terms and kicking ass. But afterwards, I’m on the bus to the next town and I’m thinking, “I have an opinion on this?” I found I did — it was informed and not badly set out. Well, opinions are free and we’re all free to have them. Doesn’t mean they’re right.
There are some things that are origami and some things that are not. I’ll grant you, the border can be fuzzy and I tell you this because I live in the marchlands: oschene knows from fuzzy. Papercraft, for instance, definitely not origami. Why not? Not because it has cuts — a lot of origami involves cuts, particularly that from the Tokugawa period. Not because there’s glue — yes, some origami has glue in it. No, it’s because papercraft, when it refers to this kind of papercraft, finds its shape in cutting and gluing and folding. This is its essence and that’s okay. I understand that people who practice papercraft pay their taxes, mostly, and are kind to their mothers. Relatively few of them are Nestorians.
On the other hand, Floderer’s work seeks its shape in creases and the creases are induced by folding. When he folds, he wears his intention on his sleeve and folds with authority. He maintains a sense of humor while he works. The man’s a genius — what he practices is origami. Yes, that’s my opinion, but I speak it with vatic certainty. As a fuzzy fringe-dweller, I have leapfrogged Time and return to tell you that this is O and that the non-O people will simply have to come to terms with it.
If you are an O person and disagree with me, you should certainly feel free to say so. But I insist that you define your terms and guard your left ear.