Japanese origami art at St. George School

Mar 08, 2014
St. George students, from left, Alexis Rytky holds an origami fish, Meghan Keizer showcases a folded fish, Chloe Fournier with another fish, and Nicole Paulsen holding a crane.

St. George — Seventh-grade students at St. George School had a unique opportunity to create origami animals in their art classes, thanks to guest workshops conducted by Arden "Georgi" Thompson, a former Maine teacher of gifted students, and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2006.

Origami is the Japanese art of transforming a simple piece of paper into a complex three-dimensional paper animal, all due to precise folding. In the past, Thompson has used this ancient art form to increase student interest in math and to illustrate how engineering can be beautiful. At St. George School, the workshops in origami art were a way for seventh-graders to develop an awareness of another culture, and to show how even the most complex art can be accessible.

“In order for students to be successful in origami, they must watch closely and listen carefully to specific instructions and then carry them out with neatness and accuracy. I watched my students learn patience that led to pride in their work, the ability to focus energy and increased self-esteem,” Julie Ryan, RSU13’s K-7 Art teacher said in a news release. “Altering a flat piece of paper into a three-dimensional fish, crane or any other figure is a lesson in spatial reasoning and symmetry.”

Students at St. George School met with great success during the workshops, and developed a keener sense of creativity and personal pride for trying a new, difficult undertaking. They learned that patience often pays off, and that art and science are often interconnected, according to the news release.

Funding for the two workshops was provided by a grant secured by RSU13 Adult & Community Education Director, Shannon M Parker.

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