A lot of people think of origami as a children’s craft, making little frogs and cranes, something to do at school.

Robert Lang's Stars and Stripes Opus 500

But it is so very, very much more.  I didn’t realize how much more until I happened to see the film “Between the Folds” on PBS last year.  This film is a work of genius, about the work of origami geniuses.  If you ever stumble upon it on PBS, stop what you’re doing and watch it.  It will blow your mind.

work by Giang Dinh

This film is not really about showing origami pieces.  It’s about exploring the artistic vision and obsession of paper folding, and the deep convergence of art and science in the work of the new origami artists all over the world (England, Israel, the US. and

elsewhere).  Japan is hardly in the film at all!!

Here’s the official synopsis of the film:  “GREEN FUSE FILMS’ award–winning documentary Between the Folds (Check out the cool PBS Independent Lens site for more great info!) chronicles the stories of ten fine artists and intrepid theoretical scientists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at hard–earned graduate degrees—all to forge unconventional lives as modern–day paperfolders.

Pangolin, by Eric Joisel

As they converge on the unlikely medium of origami, these artists and scientists reinterpret the world in paper, and bring forth a bold mix of sensibilities towards art, expressiveness, creativity and meaning. And, together these offbeat and provocative minds demonstrate the innumerable ways that art and science come to bear as we struggle to understand and honor the world around us—as artists, scientists, creators, collaborators, preservers, and simply curious beings.”Luminously photographed“, with a “haunting” original score featuring the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the film paints an arresting portrait of the mysterious creative threads that bind us all–fusing science and sculpture, form and function, ancient and new.

Face, by Giang Dinh

I’ve included a few pieces by a few of the artists featured in the film; they are all folded from ONE SHEET of paper.  But really, this is a film about people, not paper, and philosophy, not folds.