The shop window is a feast for the eyes. Rainbow coloured paper cranes hang suspended from the display shelves, fluttering gently each time the shop door opens. Delicately folded paper flowers, pastel bunnies, multi-coloured spinning wheels, red roses and bright orange koi carp add to the vivid display catching the eyes of passers-by.
Once inside, we are surrounded by a wide selection of beautifully folded paper, handcrafted into different forms of art and jewellery. We are treated to an amazing display showcasing the beauty and diversity of the traditional art of Japanese origami.
Welcoming us into this origami oasis is Midori Furze, also known as Origami Dolly. Midori is a Japanese-born, Sydney-based artist and designer who practices origami with love. Her origami project, "Fold with Love III" was selected as one of the participants for The Rocks Pop-Up 2014 and her studio/gallery opened at 85 George Street, Sydney, in April 2014. In addition to exhibiting and selling her art from the pop-up, Midori also runs origami workshops, giving her the opportunity to share her passion with adults and children who want to learn more about this traditional Japanese art form.
My 11-year-old boys who would normally prefer transformers of the robotic variety became fully immersed in Midori's workshop. They were captivated by the square pieces of paper being transformed into bright and fully functional spinning devices, carefully folded under the instruction and guidance of Midori. Amazed with the end product and wanting to develop their folding skills further, they each purchased a kit to bring home to continue their origami journey. In addition to being a fun and satisfying activity, origami offers additional educational benefits including observational and listening skills, links to math and geometry, motor skill development, cognitive development and multi-cultural learning.
Whilst customers can just pop-in to Midori's pop-up studio/gallery and participate in workshops, it is recommended to ring ahead and make a booking as it can get very busy, especially during weekends. See here for contact details.
If you want to find out more about exhibitions and additional workshops being run by Midori, further information can be found on her website.
Midori has also lent her passion and skill to benefit children in need. The project "Fold with Love – 1000 paper cranes" was based on the Japanese legend of 1000 paper cranes and involved Midori and a fellow artist, Mayu Kataoka, running over 20 workshops with children in hospitals and local schools, supported by Louis Vuitton Australia. The exhibition displayed more than 3000 paper cranes at Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick and brought many smiles to the faces of those who participated.
We could not help but get excited by Midori's passion and enthusiasm for origami and her wish to bring more and more people into the fold. She has certainly found some new converts in us and I am enjoying finding little cranes and spinning wheels around the house that have been created from scrap paper which would otherwise have been disposed of in the bin without a second thought. Recycling with resourcefulness is another thing we can thank origami for.