Traditional origami has always been shrouded in secrecy, with instruction being given orally and passed down from generation to generation. Modern origamists regard their models as designs that deserve recognition, meant to be seen and appreciated.
Uchiyama Koko, one of the early modern origamists went so far as to patent his models. Many modern origamists believe that the folding sequences should be viewed as intellectual property. Modern origami holds the creativity of the designers in high regard and has a great appreciation for the folders. One of the most important aspects of modern origami is that the models can be easily reproduced. The diagrams of the folding sequence correspond to the models themselves and having the complete sequence in the exact order is vital to the folder who needs to recreate the model the way it was meant to be. What diagrams there were in the traditional origami did not always show the complete sequences.
Modern origamists prefer to use the pure single sheet origami. Using only Origami paper, no glue, and no scissors. Using more than one sheet of paper is acceptable only if all the sheets of paper were the same size and no glue was used in the process.
In the 50’s and 60’s a group comprised of creators and folders established and international origami group to promote the popularity of origami. This group went on to form local as well as national organizations and also published the models of American, Japanese and European designers.
To the mathematicians and modern origamists origami is a puzzle. They see squares, triangles and rectangles that they can manipulate geometrically. They see competition as to who can develop the most intricate design. On the other hand the artistic origamists are more concerned with the figure’s expressiveness and creativity. They are concerned only with the beauty of the model and don’t intend their pieces to be done over and over again by others. The artistic origamist’s concern is bringing out the expression of the paper. The paper itself is extremely important to their work. They employ methods like wet folding, cutting edges or making their own paper. Unlike the mathematician or even the modern origamist they are not concerned with sequences or the ability to reproduce any model. They feel it is their design and their expression and it is meant to be seen and appreciated not mass produced. Also since every folder has a slightly different touch and technique an artistic origamist’s piece would be almost impossible to duplicate.
Many of the Origami models back in the Edo era were made possible only due to the use of Washi. Washi is a very strong Japanese paper, which unlike the western papers didn’t tear easily when being folded. Without the Washi paper the folders would have been unable to do models such as The Catfish or the Water Lily. Besides the creativity and the expressiveness the folder’s sincerity was an important factor when it came to ceremonial origami.