Rachel Katz - New York, USA

If you put the word Storytelling and the word Origami together, you get Storigami. It is fun to use your imagination as you see the shapes emerge and put them into a story. Then when you want to make the model again, the story will help to remind you of what to do next. When the story is very helpful in remembering the fold, I call it a Teaching Tale.

The PAPER PUPPET is an example of a Teaching Tale.

Sometimes several origami models seem to suggest a story. The kite, whale and duck suggested "The Wishin' Magician" to me.

Learn to fold the story models on my website.

Rachel Katz's Storigami Gallery

Paper Puppet
Start with Square Paper

One day as I was putting my book away... I went into my house and started to play. That’s when I found this envelope and letter, “fold me some more,” it said. “You can do better.” I folded the top down and made a good crease. “Open up! It’s the origami police.” Now fold it just half-way. No more should you dare. And the bottom can you see up to where? Then hold it and push it, and here’s what you say “I can do origami. Hooray! Hooray!”


The Bunny Rabbit Olympics
Model of the Traditional simple bunny

Two bunny rabbits climbed the hill to watch the Olympics. “It’s not fair,” said the complaining one. “People get to run in the Olympics but we never do!”
“Never mind,” said his happy friend, we can go down the hill and get an ice cream cone.
He was still complaining as he held his ice-cream cone when a runner came by and knocked the ice-cream cone. “I never have any luck, “ said the complaining rabbit. “Never mind,” said his friend. “I’ll give you some of mine.
“Let’s have our own Olympics said the happy rabbit. We have THE TORCH. Let the Olympics begin! There is a track, “We can each run from one end to the other and see who is the fastest.”
“Okay” said the complaining rabbit as he began to get into a happier mood. “Can I go first?

“Sure,” said his friend. So our bunny ran from one end to the other. Well, the rabbit was trying so hard as he ran his race that he was running so quickly he fell on his face. Then “Look at me,” he said with a laugh and his side rolled over and he folded in half. Then he picked up his head for all to see, another happy rabbit made with or-i-gam-i!

Rainforest Storigami
Turtle model by Sakata
Jose and Lydia were thrilled to learn that they were going to the rainforest for a week’s vacation. “Imagine all the wonderful creatures we’ll be able to see” said Jose. They were to stay near the Amazon river in a house built on higher land. Not wanting to waste a minute, the children raced outside and ran back to the river making such commotion that the birds all flew out of their hiding places. Just then, a wise old owl appeared. He said, “If you want to see the animals, this is where they live. It is not your home. Remember to respect their habitat and walk softly. Always lift up your foot slowly and place it down carefully. And the animals in the forest will soon be visible to you.” The children flipped when they discovered...a TURTLE!

Nodding Bird
Model by Kasahara

I heard there was a very unusual bird that could nod its head up and down and even from side to side. It’s known as the “Nodding Bird” and the only place you can find it is near the diamond lake. I learned that best time to find the bird was in the winter when the hills are covered with snow. So I started my quest by climbing a hill. It was so cold; I had to clap my hands to keep them warm. I didn’t find any sign of the bird but I did find a cave. I was brave enough to explore the inside of the cave. Luckily, there were no bats at the top of the cave but I came outside to find a baseball diamond. It was no fun watching the game as the player on first base had an argument with the player on third base. So, since I was at the lake, I decided to take out a boat to look for the nodding bird. Unfortunately, there was no wind, and the boat hardly moved. My family must have felt sorry for me, because, the next thing I knew, they came along side in a speedboat. The speedboat took me quickly away where I was met by a giant bird. “Oh, could you be the bird that can nod its head," I asked. “Is it too difficult for us to learn to fold this origami bird?” So, if we become good custodians of the earth, many species will be around for a very long time.

Pilgrim Story
The traditional boat model
In England, first the church dictated how people must live and worship, and then the King took over that function. This was intolerable to many people who decided to set off across the seas to the New World. These people were called Pilgrims. “Oh no” said their parents, “You’re leaving but when? We don’t know if we’ll ever see you again.” Pilgrims said “We don’t want to bow down to a Queen or King. We must have our freedom; that is the main thing.” They waved to their loved ones on the left and right, as they held back their tears with all of their might. The captain raised the anchor, sails were unfurled. And so, the Pilgrims, they sailed to the New World.

Penguin Pete
Traditional penguin model
Pete lived on the hill and that was covered with snow. He wore a black coat, and held his head low, he rolled over on his tummy, and kicked snow with his feet. Then he picked up his head, saying: “I'm Penguin Pete!”

The Wishin' Magician

*Florence is named for Florence Temko whose model of the duck inspired this story.

On a day when the puffy white clouds seemed to be skating across the clear blue sky, there was a very unhappy little duck named Florence.* "Just look at me," said Florence the duck, "Here I am just stuck on this little square pond." When suddenly there appeared a strange little man. "Tis the Wishin' Magician, at your service," he said. "I heard there was a very unhappy little duck around here. Is that you?." "Well, said Florence, with all the birds and fish you see, no-one pays any attention to me. It's a much bigger creature I wish I could be. "No problem!" said the Wishin' Magician.

And so...
With some holding
And some molding
Which was really paper folding...

The Wishin’ Magician turned the startled duck into a giant WHALE.
You’d think our little duck would be trilled to be a whale but she wasn’t. Everyone swam away from her. Nobody liked the enormous whale taking up so much room in the little square pond. How unhappy she was! “No-one plays with me any more," said the whale. “They don’t notice my tail. And, I’m still stuck in this pond.” One day, Florence looked up and saw a bird fly by. She observed planes in the sky and even noticed kites flying high. “Now why can’t I fly?” she asked. And with that, the Wishin’ Magician made another appearance. “Did I near you make another wish?” said the little man. “I’m glad I came by, I’ll grant your wish to fly.”

And so...
With some holding
And some molding
Which was really paper folding...

The Wishin’ Magician transformed her into a KITE and off she flew. She flew over school yards and farm yards, over backyards and barnyards dipping her tale to ware at the children below. But, she didn’t have control of where she flew. She was at the mercy of the winds.

One day, the air currents had Florence flying in giant figure eights. She had no control over where she flew. She was at the mercy of the winds. Just then, she came crashing down - right between two trees. She could no longer fly… She looked like a giant SURFBOARD in the sky.

“If only I could land in my little square pond,” thought Florence. “I’d never complain again.” But she didn’t land in the water. Instead, she landed with a lurch right next to a CHURCH. “I don’t like these scary adventures. Where oh where are you, Wishin’ Magician?”

“You’re lucky you called me now,” said the magician. “This will be my last trick for I’m giving up this magic business. People are always changing their minds. Now what is it you want to be? This is your last wish, so choose very carefully.”

“Can you just turn me back into a duck and put me in my little square pond? Please?"

And so...
With some holding
And some molding
Which was really paper folding...

The Wishin’ Magician turned Florence back into a Duck.
And as he left, the magician spread his magic over everyone.
And so, if you’d like to transform a piece of paper.

With some holding
And some molding
Which is really paper folding...

You can make a whale, a kite, a surfboard, a church, and of course a duck. Just get yourself a square of paper and follow the instructions and then you too can become a Wishin’ Magician and spread the magic of paper folding to everyone.

Virtual Presence

Website: https://origamiwithrachelkatz.oriland.com/


Rachel Katz is an artist who specializes in origami (The Oriental art of paper folding). She is co-author of FUN FOLDS: Language Learning Through Paper Folding; and several of her original models have appeared in collections both in the United States and abroad. She is a N.Y.S. licensed teacher. Ms. Katz has become noted, not only for the art of paper folding, but also for her ability to entertain while emphasizing skills within the curriculum.

In addition to memberships in various origami associations, Rachel is the founder of L.I.F.E. (Long Island Folding Enthusiasts). Click here for information about L.I.F.E. Rachel honed her skills as a K-12 substitute teacher, a classroom teacher, scout and 4-H leader.

She was an elected library trustee and has various other community involvements. She is married to Martin and they have two grown sons, Geoffrey and Howard.

For the past 30 years, Rachel has been presenting her unique programs, which blend origami and storytelling, to groups on Long Island and beyond. From pre-schoolers through staff develpment and at various venues including Hofstara University, C.W. Post College, Long Island University her origami programs convince anyone that they are capable of learning this beautiful art form. She is a New York State certified arts-in-education "visiting expert" and her presentations can be funded through B.O.C.E.S. (Board of Cooperative Educational Services).

Rachel's presentations range from small group instructions to assemblies of several classes followed by smaller group workshops. Each participant learns to make origami models to take home. When presenting more than one workshop, each group learns something different to share with the others. This keeps the level of interest in origami growing.

An exhibition of award-winning origami by children is available for only the cost of first-class mail and insurance to any group that has a locked showcase. For information contact: info@origami-usa.org

A "Master Folder, " Rachel has been so honored by Origami USA. (A not-for-profit arts organization headquartered in the American Museum of Natural History.) This honor focussed on her extensive teaching and sharing of the joy of origami. She has been involved with many creative endeavors of this prestigious group including the annual Christmas tree for the museum. She is a regular presenter on many aspects of origami at the annual convention held in New York City attended by over 700 people from the U.S. and many foreign nations.

If you'd like to contact Rachel Katz, please send email to: origamiteacher(a)yahoo.com