Krafters Korner is for everyone and it takes everyone to make Krafters Korner what it is.
Monday Night Chat for February 24: Scissors and other Tools for Cutting
Join for a discussion of all things sharp. Learn what your fellow crafters are using to cut and trim their various projects.
Monday Night Chat for March 17: Rainbow Loom
Learn how to make these popular bracelets using small rubber bands on a Rainbow Loom.
You can always be up to date and meet the other members of the division at Monday Night Chats (now with a more focused approach) or on the listserv. You will find this information in the side bar on the left.
This section, "Current Happenings," will always contain the very latest information about what is happening in the division.
January 1, 2014
by Loraine Stayer
Lindy van der Merwe
State/Country: South Africa
Contact: email@example.com, via Skype as stephlin777, or on Twitter at @stephlin777
Website: Practical Products
Lindy van der Merwe has been totally blind since the age of 25. She was born partially sighted, but lost her vision from RP. She has a BA in Political Studies from the University of Johannesburg, and is a user of Braille from an early age.
Lindy's interest in Origami began as a way to interest her children. She searched online, finding many interesting paper projects. Unfortunately, many of the instructions were verbal or pictorial rather than text. As she researched various models, she began to write down the instructions. Often sighted help was necessary to make sense of the diagrams. Lindy determined to provide textual instructions to make Origami accessible for blind users. As the text for various projects piled up, Lindy decided to organize them, and began the Accessible Origami Project.
Her website was still under construction when interviewed, but a free copy of Accessible Origami File 1, a text file containing twenty models which she has described using a standard text-only format, is available by simply e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Accessible Origami" in the subject line. The models are fairly easy, and aimed at beginning folders, teachers of the visually impaired/blind children and at visually impaired or blind parents who would like to enjoy paper folding with their children.
The origin of Origami, or paper folding, may stem from as early as the second century AD in China, though written evidence places it in the seventeenth century. Reasonably, folded paper would not last many centuries. Paper folding as an art was known in other countries as well, including Japan and Germany.
Origami got its name from the Japanese words oru (to fold) and kami (paper), though it was originally called orikata (folded shapes). The art of Origami allows paper to be folded into many shapes, the most famous of which is the crane. The art, however, is not limited to birds. One can find elephants, butterflies, cubes, and just about any shape it is possible to conceive. Dry folding and wet folding are different types, yielding many possibilities. The Japanese say that if one folds one thousand paper cranes, s/he will be granted one special wish.
Originally, Origami did not allow cutting or gluing, though standards have loosened over the centuries.
Origami papers are often slightly heavier than standard typing paper, but "green" Origami uses discarded papers such as newspaper, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper and various handmade papers. Thinner paper that holds creases well may also be used.
Lindy is an integral part of Krafters Korner's list, which is run by the National Federation of the Blind Krafters Division. It is open to anyone from any part of the world who is interested in crafts. Lindy has taken and presented Origami classes via email, a new format for the division that allows people from different time zones to participate. Other crafts that interest Lindy are scrapbooking, card making, photography, sewing, soap making, and working with clay.
Her work with Origami is as much about the craft itself as it is with creating things that are interesting, useful, and with emphasizing universal concepts such as peace, working together, recycling, giving to others, and sharing. Origami is a way to be creative without investing in huge amounts of money, needing simply paper and a hard, flat folding surface, and of course, instructions, which is where Lindy has tried to make a difference.
The craft of Origami allows for hands on experience, which Lindy feels is especially helpful for blind children. Because a blind child cannot read the words on a print page does not mean that he or she would not be interested in and able to create crafts from paper. There are many things that one can make from paper that would be interesting for blind children, including of course, Origami and Braille. It is Lindy's hope that more blind people will explore different options for pursuing paper crafts in the future, and that teachers and instructors of the blind and visually impaired will help to facilitate the learning of new skills, including Origami and other paper crafts.
In 2011, Lindy established Practical Products, a home-based business selling various products and services delivered countrywide in South Africa. The business provides products for the general market, but also to those with special needs including parents and children with disabilities.
If you would like to take one of Lindy's email Origami classes, please join the Krafters Division and check out the current classes.