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When most people think of origami paper they probably think of the kind found in any arts and crafts shop - thin, smooth, multicoloured on one side and cut to squares. This type of paper is called 'kami'. Kami is the Japanese word for paper but is used in English in this specific sense. It was invented in the late 20th century as a mass produceable, attractive way to teach school children origami. To a serious folder it is usually not used in a finished model; it is prone to fading, may be too thick or thin, may be inaccurately cut and generally leads to an unimpressive result. However, it is in wide use since it is cheap - often selling in packs of a hundred or more and comes in a dazzling range of colours. 

A sometimes more suitable and certainly traditional paper is washi, or chiyogami if it is patterned. Washi is not made from wood pulp like office paper, instead it is made from a plant fibre called gampi. It can also be made from mulberry, wheat or rice. As such, it is quite soft and…


In the year AD 1621...