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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Hands On Art; Origami

    During Campus Lifetime on Wednesday, a crowd of students and faculty members participated in an origami workshop in the campus bookstore. Stony Brook alumni, Shrikant Iyer, who now works as a systems administrator at the university, gave an hour-long lesson on how to fold and produce various origami creations.

    At least 30 students and faculty members passed in and out of the small area of the Stony Brook campus bookstore in which a table set up for eight spectators as well as two rows of five chairs each set up for the origami demonstration.

    On several occasions throughout the workshop passersby paused to listen and watch, standing because all of the seats were taken.

    This event was the first of the fall semester at the bookstore, according to Deborah DiFranco, the provost’s liaison to the university bookstore. ‘These workshops came into being because several students that work in the bookstore thought it would be fun if talented students and faculty members showcased their abilities during Campus Lifetime, since everybody gets a break from classes,’ she explained.

    Iyer, a passionate folder, provided pipe cleaners, a wide range of colors of paper squares and rectangles and instructed participants on how to create everything from the basic paper crane to flowers and butterflies.

    He gave verbal instructions on how to fold the paper and supplemented it by using a much larger square than those distributed to show the audience what to do. When the participants made paper cranes, Iyer told the group of the legend that is correlated with the various items the paper crane resembles before assuming its final form, which features a magician that turned a bird dissatisfied with its diminutive size into a whale, kite, and a duck before finally making it a crane and distributing the magic of origami to all of mankind.

    The alum, who has a graduate degree in electrical engineering, also displayed an impressive range of his own creations, including a rat, a highly detailed rose, a wrapping paper jack-in-the-box, a miniature box constructed from a one dollar bill, and a change purse folded from what was formerly a Ssips juice box.

    ‘Origami is a great way to go green,’ Iyer remarked with a grin as he brandished a large box he had constructed from thin cardboard. ‘You do not necessarily have to use special origami paper purchased from stores. You can also use many other things: junk mail, milk cartons, aluminum foil, even starched fabric.’ Iyer has been folding since he was nine years old, when he flipped through channels on television and found himself riveted by a program on origami.

    ‘The show was all in Japanese, so I did not understand a thing they were saying, but seeing the folding was quite enough to spark my interest,’ he explained. ‘I could not help but be fascinated by every little manipulation of a simple piece of paper.’ Many of the participants were as well, for they remained after the demonstration to flip through the various books of origami on display.

    The bookstore hosted the origami workshop as part of an effort to give back to the campus community. After the workshop, DiFranco said, ‘We know a lot of people view us as merely a profit center, and we wish to quash that reputation.’

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