The art of the fold

Carl Merriam / The Collegian
Origami club experiments with fun designs and colors

Precise folds take shape as she executes the steps. The wind blows a fine mist off the fountain and grabs her long dark hair. She pushes it gently from her face and makes another crease.

Nu Vang has been making origami since she was eight. It takes her a little over a minute to fold the center spread of the features section in The Collegian into a heart.

President of the origami club at Fresno State, Nu Vang is a junior majoring mass communication and journalism with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. She started the club in January of this year with her sister and club secretary/treasurer Song Vang, a freshman linguistics major.

The Vangs had to get 15 signatures to start the club, which was the easy part. They then set up a booth in the Free Speech Area to attract members and pass out flyers.

The club has 10 members that meet every other Friday in Speech Arts 153. The club has had only three meetings so far this year.

“It’s going well, but we would love to have more people join,” Song Vang said.

Bringing something new to Fresno

“The goal of the club is to have an environment or a place where we can have people come together and learn a little bit about the Japanese culture and also origami,” Nu Vang said.

For Valentine’s Day, the club folded the heart Nu Vang demonstrated by the fountain. Nu Vang said they try to apply origami to practical life as well.

The group uses regular copy paper and or small 7.5-centimeter square origami paper. The origami paper is made to fit the task, but many of the papers have a pattern on one side and a solid color on the other.

“You have to get the perfect paper to make strong, flexible origami,” Song Vang said.

Origami paper prices vary. Song Vang said origami paper is more expensive here in Fresno because of the lack of availability.

More than just paper

Nu Vang said right now she is working on what she sees as the most challenging origami: 3D. 3D origami involves the folding of many intricate pieces to assemble the whole. The piece Nu Vang is working on now requires 93 pieces.

Nu said she has also been enjoying folding strawberries. The strawberries are red, about the size of a quarter, with spiky green tops. Nu has drawn circular seeds on them with a black ink pen.

The club is not involved in any competitions or projects yet, but the Vang sisters hope the group can grow and evolve into challenges like that.

Nu Vang said her next meeting presentation will be on the different types of origami. Song Vang said she will be discussing the history of origami and its arrival in the U.S. The club is not just about making origami.

“It is a learning experience,” Song Vang said.

Song Vang said she would like to expand more on the cultural awareness the club has the potential to provide by doing more than just origami.

Club member Blake Honda, a junior communications major, said he was excited about learning an art form from his culture.

“I am Japanese and I don’t know how to fold origami,” Honda said. “I thought I should learn for my culture’s sake.” Honda said he knew the Vang sisters and that was another motivating factor.

Honda said he has enjoyed the meetings thus far, but agrees that the club could use more members.

Techniques like money folding and wet folding are familiar to the Vangs, but as a club they are still working on the basics. Nu Vang said the skill level in the group varies, but all levels of experience are encouraged to join.

To join the origami club, you need to attend a meeting, fill out an application and pay the $10 fee.

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