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Akira Yoshizawa-sensei (1911-2005)
The life and work of Akira Yoshizawa-sensei stands unchallenged at the pinnacle of origami achievement.

In the 1930´s, he began to create his own models, realizing that the endlessly repeated traditional models that every Japanese child knew were the tip of a creative art form.  He almost singlehandedly re-invented origami as a creative art, establishing also the universal system of diagramming, using water to dampen paper and thus achieve rounded, sculpted effects and introducing character and expression into the art.  

In his lifetime, her reputedly created 50,000 unique pieces, but never sold even one.  In 1983 he was presented The Order of the Rising Sun, by the Japanese Emperor.

In 1992, Yoshizawa-sensei sent Paul Jackson a small box of different butterflies to photograph for a book he was writing.  This small collection of models are some of the few outside the near-complete collection work held by the sensei´s widow.  They have not previously been exhibited together.

The butterflies show Yoshizawa-sensei moved fluently from extreme simplicity to extreme complexity, creating work that a young child could fold and other work that would challenge the most experienced technical folders.  Further, his use of different papers is precise and appropriate to each model.

As a series, the butterflies summarize Yoshizawa-sensei´s origami, displaying a diversity of technique and expression, and representing his commitment to the development of his art.

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