The Art of Paper Crafts: A Profile of Bronx Science’s Paper Crafts Club

Origami dates back to seventeenth century Japan. Today, Bronx Science’s Paper Crafts Club sustains the craft of this ancient tradition.


Tiffany Wang

During the first meeting of Paper Crafts Club in October 2022, students made paper roses. It was was an instant hit.

The word “paper” can carry negative connotations, especially for students who associate it with homework and exams. Additionally, some people perceive paper as being disposable, cheap, and sometimes even worthless. Despite the many negative implications of paper, it has still played a significant role in human history and culture. 

One significant artistic aspect of paper is with the creation of origami, an art form that is so popular that it is still made in the twenty-first century. The Paper Crafts Club at Bronx Science works every week to spread the craft of origami. The club board, consisting of Natalie Eng ’24 (president), Ayshi Sen ’24 (vice president), and Zihan Wang ’24 (secretary), has brought this art to the Bronx High School of Science. 

What is Origami?

Origami is an art form that involves the folding of paper into intricate designs that require precision, patience, and creativity. For many, origami is not just another activity, but instead, it is a way to express themselves and connect with others. It can also be a therapeutic practice, allowing individuals to relax and focus their minds. 

Origami also contributes to the creation of beautiful, yet sustainable and ethically-made clothing. Origami clothing, usually paper-crafted and handmade, is becoming increasingly popular, with its unique and personalized qualities. The complexity of the folding and pleating of the clothing creates distinct patterns for wearers.  

Additionally, origami is frequently used in fields such as architecture, engineering, and mathematics, in order to develop new techniques and ideas. Take the Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theater for example. The origami-like shape of the roof opens up to the sky, allowing people inside to enjoy both the scenery and the play that is being performed. 

History Of Origami

‘Origami’ comes from the Japanese word ‘oru,’ which translates to ‘to fold’ and ‘kami,’ meaning paper. 

Origami is believed to have been invented by the Japanese in the 17th century, although it did not gain traction outside of Japan until the mid-20th century. In early Japan, origami was used for religious and ceremonial purposes. 

Although modern origami consists of using paper to create complex designs, studies have shown that origami dates back decades earlier than the migration of paper to Japan. In those cases, cloth and leather were used. 

Why Paper Crafts?

Like the original founders of origami, the Bronx Science Paper Crafts Club board and their members believe that origami is a fun way to relax and express themselves. 

Trevor Badhri ’24 said, I joined Paper Crafts to be able to express some of my creativity and as a sort of release. With so much stress in life, sometimes taking time just to sit back and fold paper with friends is truly appreciated.” With the stress that comes with being a high school student, high schoolers need a way to relax, and in Badhri’s case, joining Paper Crafts was the perfect solution.

Prior to attending Bronx Science, Wang ’24 was always an art student and had a desire to bring her interests to school. She said, “I particularly love forms of painting and drawing, but making things hands-on has a special place in my heart. To share this fun hobby with others, I decided to join my friends in creating a safe space where we could do exactly that.” 

What makes Paper Crafts different from other clubs at Bronx Science?

Although there are over 100 clubs at Bronx Science, the board and members feel differently about Paper Crafts as opposed to other clubs. 

Wang claimed that she “wouldn’t say we’re just ’oh-so-unique,’ but I would say we’re pretty special. Our leadership puts all that they can into making our dear members feel special every time. Ranging from little prizes to personalized help with anything, crafts or not.” 

With special, individual, and personalized advice, Eng ’24 said, “One of Paper Craft’s many goals is to create an environment in which people can feel comfortable learning the things they want to make out of a single sheet of paper. I wanted to give people the same satisfaction and euphoria that my creations gave me.” 

Members also agree, claiming that they are free to customize their origami, allowing them to be creative and express themselves. Ella Stanley ’24 said, “Paper crafts is very relaxing but a lot of fun at the same time! It is unique because everyone can have their own individual style when making the crafts, and it’s so much fun to see everyone’s crafts at the end.”

What do you like most about the Paper Crafts Club?

In some other clubs at Bronx Science, students have structured club meetings.  With Paper Crafts Club, the club board allows members to have more unstructured play, as a means of relaxing and having fun. Badhri ’24 gave a favorable opinion shared by many members. “What I like most about Paper Crafts Club is how laid back the meetings are. Being able to just relax and enjoy myself is something I truly appreciate about Paper Crafts.”

Like Badhri ’24, Vanessa Chen Hsieh ’24 enjoyes how members are not obligated to make origami. She said, “You are not required to do the paper crafts. It’s a very relaxing environment where you can finish your homework or study for a test.” 

Natalie Eng ’24, President, Ayshi Sen ’24, Vice President, and Zihan Wang ’24, Secretary, welcome new members to the Paper Crafts Club, during the annual Club Fair.

Other members enjoy gaining something out of attending the club. “I really liked watching my creation come ‘alive.’ It makes my origami-making worthwhile,” said Rachel Li ’24.

Watching as members’ faces light up as they complete their challenging origami pieces is always a rewarding experience for the club’s board members. Eng shared that her “favorite thing about Paper Crafts Club are the ‘oooh moments.’ Sometimes, when we make a craft that has elaborate steps, some members become confused about where the process is leading them. When they finish the product, however, they are surprised by how they made it just from paper.” 

Experiences with Paper Crafts

Paper Crafts Club not only allows members to express their creativity through the art of making origami, but also to share their common interests with other members. The club board is more than happy to appeal to common interests among the members. 

For example, Paper Crafts held a meeting during the week prior to winter break in December 2022. The club board acknowledged the stress that many students had been facing during one of the most stressful weeks of the year, and they took that into consideration to make the best meeting yet. “Natalie made mini cheesecakes, and during the meeting, we just made mini Santas out of paper and ate the cheesecakes. At the end when everyone got the hang of folding paper, we just listened to music,” said Paper Crafts vice-president Ayshi Sen ’24. 

The World Cup was one of the most exciting events during the 2022-2023 school year. Thinking about their members, the Paper Crafts Club board allowed their attendees to watch the gripping semi-final match while making origami, a subtle way to show their thanks for the members’ attendance.