Westwood Middle School Boy Teaches Origami
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When one student at Westwood Middle School in Gainesville "works on a paper," it means something much different than most other students.
He has taken the art of origami to a new level.
He can create art out of almost any kind of paper.
And this seventh-grader is sharing his passion for origami with others.
"It's my favorite thing to do," said Rafael Munoz- Gonzales.
12-year-old Rafael is a self-taught origami artist.
He learned the art of folding paper at just nine-years-old while living in France.
He says it's his favorite thing to do to unwind and relax.
"I start folding and then I forget about everything else," said Munoz- Gonzales.
Just last year Rafael started an origami club at school.
Before classes start on Monday mornings, he and a small group of students get together at a teachers classroom where they "learn from the master."
"The students really respond to the way he's teaching them. And he teaches them to be very precise on their folds because it really does make a difference in step four or step ten," said seventh grade science teacher, Sandy Hankins.
The traditional Japanese art of paper folding is to create sculptures without the use of cuts or adhesives.
"no cuts, no scissors, no tape, no glue. if you break any rules, you go to origami prison," said Munoz- Gonzales.
Rafael has decided that's he's gonna teach me a traditional Spanish design called "la pajarita"… or the little bird.
And after a few flips, folds and creases… "la pajarita" took flight.
"This is the pajarita we made."
"It's really amazing to see how much passion he does have," said Hankins.
Hankins' classroom is filled with origami creations made by Rafael and other students.
She displays them proudly by her desk.
"For Mrs. Hankins I make usually animals cause she likes origami animals."
Rafael hopes the origami club continues to grow at Westwood Middle and he even may start teaching other students once he's in high school.
Rafael was invited by the Origami USA Association to New York over sprink break and showcase his work.
He learned paper folding online and says he hopes to start his very own YouTube channel this summer.
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