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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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Origami artisans

Unfolding the origami journeys of West High students
Freshmen+Cole+Barton+and+Preston+Priest+make+origami+flowers+during+free+time+in+their+Drawing+1+class.+Both+gained+an+affinity+for+origami+through+the+internet+and+further+practiced+this+art+under+the+guidance+of+West+High+Drawing+1+teacher+Kat+Briggs.+%E2%80%9CTheir+origami+pieces+are+especially+intricate.+Both+use+multiple+small+pieces+of+paper+that+fold+and+interlock%2C+enabling+their+sculptures+to+move+and+also+simulate+textures.+They+also+use+very+precise+folds%2C+and+I+appreciate+the+careful+craftsmanship+that+%5Bgoes%5D+into+their+art%2C%E2%80%9D+Briggs+said.
Dana Zafarani
Freshmen Cole Barton and Preston Priest make origami flowers during free time in their Drawing 1 class. Both gained an affinity for origami through the internet and further practiced this art under the guidance of West High Drawing 1 teacher Kat Briggs. “Their origami pieces are especially intricate. Both use multiple small pieces of paper that fold and interlock, enabling their sculptures to move and also simulate textures. They also use very precise folds, and I appreciate the careful craftsmanship that [goes] into their art,” Briggs said.
Orizuru is the famous origami model of a crane. Cranes were considered lucky in ancient Japanese culture due to their long lifespans and powerful flight patterns. “Most people know about the crane, but it is actually an origami pattern that is of about medium difficulty and not for novices. But, it is still really fun to try to make,” Barton said. (Audrey Ghosh)

When a time of leisure arises in class, as students go on their phones or talk to friends or read a book, just one piece of paper and a sense of creativity can leave a student to casually experiment with art in the corner of the room. That art is the Japanese art of folding paper to form three-dimensional objects: origami, which has increasingly grown in popularity as a relaxing hobby.

Origami has existed since the 6th century, when it was first used to decorate temples and shrines in East Asia. It was only in the 1950s that the art, introduced by Lillian Oppenheimer, made its way to the western world. Oppenheimer popularized the Japanese term ‘origami’ in anglophone settings, allowing the activity to take modern American culture by storm. Today, renowned museums like the American Museum of Natural History and national organizations like Origami USA help to keep the art alive. 

Following this revival of origami over the past decade, freshmen Cole Barton and Preston Priest have worked to expand upon their origami skills in Drawing 1 under the instruction of art teacher Kat Briggs. Briggs discovered Barton and Priest’s proclivity for origami when they fashioned origami flowers during their free time in art class.

“[Their] skills from origami really show off their spatial and visual abilities. When [students] make origami, they are engaging in their own art-making process,” Briggs said.

Barton first began practicing origami after his mom discovered a tutorial on Facebook when he was 8 years old. After following the instructions in the video, Barton’s interest in origami was sparked. 

“Even though it was really hard, I enjoyed working on origami and learning from it. I binged videos and tutorials on it on YouTube,” Barton said. “Now, after years of practicing, I have memorized a lot of the techniques. I can fold and create a lot of things without using a tutorial, but some hard origami designs require me to search up videos at times.”

Similarly, Priest was around eight years old when he first discovered origami after visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden for the Japanese Cultural Festival

“I tried to hone the craft by practicing a lot. I haven’t had a lot of in-school opportunities to practice or create origami, but often at home, I will make more challenging pieces,” Priest said. 

Origami is particularly notorious for its steep learning curve with its emphasis on following step-by-step instructions and employing three-dimensional perceptual skills. Despite initial challenges with learning new folds and developing fine motor skills, Barton fervently practiced this skill. Eventually, he advanced enough to open up an origami stand to sell his artwork, raising over $250 in profit and donating $50 to charity. 

“Origami is a precise art. It’s not just about folding paper; you have to be willing to try again and again. It tests your stamina and patience,” Barton said. “Origami has helped me understand the importance of

Across three days, freshman Preston Priest created an origami peacock using 2465 pieces of paper. Starting out with tiny pieces of paper, Preston joined together each piece to construct larger structures, which were then attached to even larger pieces. “Even though origami takes a lot of time and energy, I love doing it. It gives me a sense of purpose and allows me to pay attention to details,” Priest said. (Preston Priest)

trying my very best. It is so easy to rush through things and not end up doing them properly. One misaligned fold can impact your end creation, so you need to take your time or you risk ruining everything. With origami, the key is in the details.”

Pries has gathered significant accomplishments in origami as well. Just a year ago, Priest won the Glory of Missouri Award for his origami artwork. Now, Priest sells his artwork to friends and family and hopes to eventually pursue origami professionally by setting up a website for origami art sales. He also aspires to write an origami instructional book when he is older.

I appreciate Preston and Cole’s keen spatial abilities because they can understand and conceptualize in three dimensions, whereas I am much more comfortable in two dimensions with my experience in painting and drawing,” Briggs said. “I am excited to see where each of them take these skills next, whether it be in sculpture, ceramics or drawing classes here at West or beyond.”

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About the Contributors
Audrey Ghosh, Opinions Editor
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 4 What is your favorite piece of literature? "Anna Karenina." Who is your hero? My grandma. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza (with different toppings).
Dana Zafarani, Photo of the Week Editor
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? My favorite piece of literature is poetry. I love how poetry opens the door for me to be as creative as I want with words. Who is your hero? My family and the group of supporters that surround me. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? It would most likely be a traditional persian food. I just can't get enough of it!
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  • M

    Mary A.Oct 24, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Great work!

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  • L

    Lauren HolcombOct 18, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    THIS IS SO COOL WHAT

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