Do you have a funny April Fool’s Story?
This was me last Monday!!
Here’s how it happened . . . One word: ORIGAMI.
I woke up on April 1st with a crazy idea! I would teach Origami at all my art sessions! The last time I tried that, I swore I would NEVER EVER EVER do that again.
Why? Well, origami is the exact OPPOSITE of the usual art that I teach!
In origami (unlike expressive art):
- there IS a right and a WRONG way to fold the paper for each design
- there IS a specific OUTCOME (it should look like the picture when finished)
- All steps need to be performed EXACTLY and PERFECTLY - all corners should line up, etc.
- All steps need to be performed IN ORDER - you cannot move forward if the step before it is not done and not done PERFECTLY (see #3 again)
And although origami masters can teach a room full of hundreds of apprentices. Me, not so much. I have to show my group of 8 students one fold, and then go around and check each one and make sure they all did it "right," and help those who “don’t get it.” Meanwhile others get bored waiting or start folding it the way they want (aka "wrong"). It is not my recommendation for a therapeutic art class of more than 3 people, especially if they are dealing with ADHD.
The last time I taught origami, exactly one year ago, I had tried it a different way. I did it as a team exercise. I taught the person next to me one fold, then they taught the person next to them and so on. While that teaching was spreading around the circle, I could then teach the next step to the person next to me and repeat the process . . . in an attempt to keep the group from getting bored while waiting for the whole room to learn the fold. It worked somewhat. But with some of the groups i taught, it turned out to be a classic game of Telephone. What came back around the circle looked nothing like what I started with. Oh well. Mental note to not do THAT again.
Yet, on April Fool’s Day, I decided that I would be the FOOL and teach origami one more time (because many people love it and beg me to do it. Why do I listen??). Yet this time I decided to be more CLEVER about it and play an April Fool’s Joke on my classes. I told them that instead of me teaching that day — that they would be the teachers! I imagined me relaxing on my chair and watching them all come to life as confident art teachers.
I handed out origami books to each set of partners and told them to interpret the directions, fold the item, and then, if they like, to teach it to us during the last half of the class.
Well, it sort of worked. And yes, it was frustrating for some of them. And most of them did not work well in partners. And who can interpret those origami books anyway?? But we ended up doing a fabulous job on the 1st project in the book: a paper airplane. And they had a blast seeing whose plane flew the furthest. I gave prizes to everyone and hopefully they forgave me for any frustration they experienced. (Yeah, the penguin wasn’t an easy project, with 26 folds, and kudos to the pair that tried to teach us THAT.)
So at the end of this April Fool’s Day, I promised myself AGAIN, that was the last time I EVER EVER teach origami - lol! But already the next day, I broke that promise again:
The very next day in another art group, everyone was still finishing up a project except one artist who finished early. I asked her if she would like to make an origami crane - after all, I still had the remains in my art bag from yesterday’s horror. She lit up with excitement!
Guess what?? Teaching origami ONE-ON-ONE actually was FUN! I made a fold while she watched, and then helped her make the same fold. We did this for the 1st few cranes until she felt confident to try on her own (with me there to help if she skipped a step or got stuck). Once the rhythm of the folds is learned, origami can actually be meditative. And the process can be quite healing when you repeat the process over and over again. It becomes routine. And the success in the end gives a HUGE feeling of accomplishment to the artist! Her smile was beautiful (and her cranes too!) And boy did I need that success after the day before (even more than my client, no doubt!)
So . . . A HUGE THANK YOU to my solitary artist for bringing healing to me on the day AFTER April Fool’s Day. And thank you mostly to all the artists that SUFFERED through the origami APRIL FOOL‘s DAY this year.!
Art, like life, is full of so many life lessons. And what is hard for us in art, is usually hard for us in life. Step-by-step following directions is not what comes naturally to stubborn people like me - LOL! And that is my wisdom from my FOOLISH Day!
Most likely, next April Fool’s Day I will try it again. I am not THAT wise after all, and I actually am stubborn like that. And still searching for a miracle way to share origami. Perhaps I’ll just bring 7 more assistants with me next year so we can all teach it one-on-one. :)
Please tell me your origami or April Fool’s stories!
Amazon link to an all inclusive kit that's great for classes (small classes, that is):