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The history of Iris Folding

Iris Folding is a paper folding technique that resembles the iris of an eye, or lens of a camera. The patterns give the illusion of being a spiral, focused around a central point although they are made from straight folded pieces of color coordinated paper. Usually these strips are glued or taped onto cardstock to form greeting cards and picture frames, or in my case, artist mat board to form framed, original works of art.

Iris Folding originated in Holland in the 1700's. Many of the envelopes of the time from businesses in Holland as well as other European countries had a pattern on the inside much like the security envelopes of today. Dutch crafters cut the patterned envelopes into small strips, folded them lengthwise to get a straight edge, and placed them behind cutouts or apertures of different designs.

Now it is common to use lightweight colored and patterned papers including those used for Origami, or gift wrapping to create Iris Foldings.

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