Designed by Michael G. LaFosse
The word Koi is an abbreviation from the Japanese description "Nishiki Goi", meaning "fish as beautiful as colorful cloth". Koi are a particular kind of cultivated, ornamental carp. Some of these graceful and engaging fish are highly valued for their coloration and markings.
I designed this origami koi in the 1970s, immediately after watching them at a pond for my first time. Their graceful antics still amuse, inspire and relax me, and I could watch them for hours. While I was satisfied with my origami koi's form, they are primarily valued for their splendid coloration and marking shapes. I realized that a color-change origami model would be hideous, and that it would fail to faithfully capture the magic of these fish. I actually painted designs on the backs of my first origami models. Then, inspired by the Japanese art called chigiri-e, which uses torn paper to compose pictures resembling watercolor paintings, I applied patches of vibrant-colored, handmade papers to my later, origami koi.
I designed this model to be viewed from above, just as if you were looking down through the water at them, gazing into the pond from a stepping stone.
At the Origamido Studio, our panels with Koi have been some of the most popular pieces of art. We often arrange a small group of these origami fish to represent their gregarious, social behavior. The versatility of combining origami and chigiri-e has also allowed us to work from photos sent to us by Koi fanciers. We can represent the actual, prize-winning, brightly colored koi in origami, mounted on background panels of gampi - decorative, handmade, paper, pressed with inclusions of strands of coarse vegetation.
For best results, use a bright, white, 100% cotton, cold-pressed watercolor paper. It should be lightweight, only up to 140#. Cut it square, from 12 to 20 inches. Your Koi will be 60% as long as the side of the square you choose. Pulp appliqués can be torn pieces of handmade papers. Red and black are traditional.
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