Do you remember making paper fortune tellers in primary school, to find out who you fancied or who fancied you?
Chances are you have wrestled with trying to fold an ordnance survey map, only to realise with increasing frustration that with every failed attempt, you have moved a little further away from the neatly folded map that you bought in the shop.
Without paper folding, we would have enormous, unwieldy maps and newspapers, restaurant menus as big as the table in front of us, and the postal service would be very different indeed if letters and cards could not be folded. Just how would we cope if hotel toilet rolls were not folded into points at the start the roll?
But without paper folding, there would be no origami. So no paper fortune tellers in primary school to get the inside track on who you will marry, but – possibly more importantly – no thousand year old tradition of creating beautiful art from paper.
And talking of folding maps, next time you’re wrestling with a troublesome map during a walk, why not airily inform any friends or family members who think they could do it better that you’re just a bit busy with ‘combinatorial mathematics’, thank you very much. And that far from struggling, you are folding the map into a Turkish fold, one of the many map folding techniques in the digital age.
But for now, if you have a piece of A4 paper and 10 minutes to spare, make an origami crane, considered to be the most classic of all Japanese origami designs?