Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Lotus Origami (for Goddess of Mercy / Guan Yin / 观音)

After "manufacturing" large numbers of paper lotuses for the Qing Ming festival, I have decided to explore folding paper lotuses that are attached to an intricate looking base.  Of course I wasn't gifted in origami but I relied on You-Tube videos as a form of reference in making it possible.

Please refer to the video clip below if you are interested in learning how to fold paper lotuses:

For a start, mastering the art of origami for a layman like myself has always been perceived as a challenge.  Reason being that I have never been quite good with art work.

Origami for religious purposes meant that you would be required to ensure that you "got it right" where the placement of prints such as incantations, sacred wordings, sutras, etc are in the right places of the finished product.

As the paper lotuses are manually done, there would always be some glitches, imperfection in the outlook of my artwork.  Photographs featuring what I've accomplished are attached below.

To all newbies out there - practice makes perfect.  So let's hold up our cups & drink to perfection in the Origami.


Postscript :  The prayer papers for folding these paper offerings are bought from Fushan (Yang Yong Ann) which had been mentioned in my earlier blogging entry ["Origami" for Qing Ming festival - Paper Lotus] dated 30th March 2012 & joss sticks shops in the heartland.

Paper trimmed in gold tone - bought from Fushan (Yang Yong Ann Pte Ltd)
This prayer paper is catered specifically for folding golden ingots. 

However, I decided to use it to fold paper lotuses since the floral designs at the sides looked pretty.

The outcome of the paper lotus didn't turn out the way I envisioned it to be. :(

The print placement is such that the lotus flower prints on the prayer paper are all concealed.

It was then that I realised that the floral print at the 4 corners of the prayer papers wouldn't be revealed on the petals of the paper lotus. 

Side view of the paper lotus

As I've mentioned on the preceding photograph showing the full appearance of the prayer paper, it's meant for folding golden ingots and after folding just a single paper lotus, I had switched lanes to folding paper ingots which I picked up from You-Tube videos too.

To tell you the truth, learning to fold these golden ingots took me quite a while to have a full grasp of the folding technique.  I was slow in picking up and there were times when I got confused.  Unlike how the professional in the You-Tube video has fared, not all my ingots are exact in their alignment when folded.

There are 2 sides to the golden ingot after folding it.  Different wordings are shown in both sides of the golden ingot.

(Sorry about the poor editing... edited using Aviary sponsored by flickr.com... sorry to say this but it's user unfriendly...)

Both corners of the golden ingot are flanked by lotus motifs as illustrated in the photograph.  Isn't it pretty looking?

(Please excuse me for the blurry looking photograph...)

I was surprised to see that image of the Goddess of Mercy (观音) showing up at the hollow section on the reverse side of the golden ingot.

Before we offer the golden ingots to our 观音 deity at home, I would stuff paper money meant for 观音 into the hollow section.

The photographs below illustrates another variation of decorative prayer papers that are used for offering to 观音 & available at Fushan (Yang Yong Ann Pte Ltd).  This type of paper is definitely cut out for making into paper lotuses - the lotuses have appeared on the tip of every flower petal.  Unfortunately, they aren't my favourite. 

The paper is alot thicker because of the gold foil that's printed on the prayer paper. Due to the thickness of the prayer paper, it was alot difficult to shape the petals & "bloom" them.  As such, the appearance of the paper lotus looks ... crumpled & somewhat messy when created by a beginner like myself. :P  Some of which would even turned out not as pretty & errr, deformed.

Top view of the paper lotus

Side view of the paper lotus.

This is a more presentable version of what I had folded using this style of decorative prayer paper.

The photographs below shows paper lotuses that are made from decorative prayer papers that are commonly sold in joss sticks shop at the heartland area.

Top view of the paper lotus.

Side view of the paper lotus.

This is another design of prayer paper which could be bought from Fushan @ Aljunied Road (KH Plaza).  Such a design of prayer paper comes in several versions catered for different purposes.  The one which I bought is meant for offering to Buddhas (including Guan Yin):

After watching the You-tube video (link right at the start of this blogging entry) which had been conducted by an expert Taiwanese aunty using another different form of prayer papers, it took me many rounds of practice to master the art of creating a throne-like base for the paper lotuses.

So here comes the photographs of the final product & the product-in-transit!

The challenge for me in creating this "throne-like" base was to ensure that the folds of prayer papers doesn't unwind on their own... otherwise, the outcome would be a disaster.

The Taiwanese professional aunty used 36 sheets of the prayer paper, folded into halves before tying them up with a red string.  I've tried cutting corners and discovered that I require at least 28 sheets of prayer paper so that the "folds" would have a "holding power" to stay in place & shape.

Posing the unfinished product in front of the camera lens.

The semi-finished product... pending the mounting of a paper lotus at the top of the "throne-like" base.

I found this strip of embellishment in the packet of prayer paper & decided to use it as a skirting at the centre of the base.

Dislcaimer:  Please note that I do not own any of the video clips which are attached in this blogging entry.  Full credits would go to the respective video producers on You-Tube.  I am also not affliated to any of the retailers / organisations which are mentioned.  Thank you.

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