My latest classic (cough) has arrived – a box containing 25 copies of “World’s Best Origami” has been dragged thorough the wind and rain to finally arrive at Seaview. It’s always a nervous moment, flicking through a book when you completed the artwork nearly six months previously. My first instinct is “what have the publishers done this time”, but thank Clapton, this one looks good!
I still feel the investment of colour within would have been worthwhile, but then I’m not doing the financial predictions or paying for it. After 10 minutes perusal, the worst thing I can find is that the leading on the text and the outer margins could both have been reduced a tad. It’s also weird reading credits anywhere other than the start of the book. I’ll happily settle for both these! As for the title, I tried hard to have it changed, but the publishers are always right 😉
So, all I can say is go out and invest in a copy as soon as possible, remembering to support your local bookshop – yes, you can save a quid or two at Ama$on, but their policies are doing nothing to support authors and are actively killing off independant book shops.
Oh yes, I’m currently “between books”, so if you want one writing or illustrating, please get in touch!
Editorial Salvatella: ISBN: 978-84-8412-411-5 122 pages A4 softback
Gil More is an unfamiliar name to folders, I suspect, but he’s clearly on top of his game with this book. It’s an extensive collection of geometric models and theory, in the main using modular designs, but also 1-piece and strip-folded models. The text is in Spanish, but if you have an enquiring mind you can learn a lot from the diagrams alone, much as we did with the Fujimoto books in the 80s.
Gil More draws from and credits existing sources, but many of the designs appear to be his own, although with negligible Spanish skills, I can’t tell. There is no bibliography at the end, which is perhaps a little surprising. Worth buying? If you understand Spanish, most definitely. If not, it’s probably for collectors and geometry enthusiasts only.
This spiral-bound collection contains 102 pages devoted to realistic origami aircraft. They include many sleek, modern jets and other designs such as the Stuka. As well as clear instructions, you get a bonus CDrom containing a photo gallery, word files with more designs in them, plus images for colour “skins”, so when you fold your plane it will look cool as well.
Self-published in 2006, this book will be a great purchase for any lovers of complex planes and they are all designed to fly, with hints such as “give it a hard toss” to help you launch properly. The book now appears to have been published by Dover.
Dover Publications 174 pages softback 16*22cms isbn : 0-486-44212-8
This is a translation of “El Lado Oscuro de la Papiroflexia” (Salvatella 2000), although given the paucity of text throughout the diagrams, the translator had precious little to do! You get a wide range of fantasy critturs, such as a troll, griffin, satyr, Medusa, Sphinx, unicorn and many more, 25 in all. Most fit into the high-intermediate or complex area, so you need a fair degree of ability to complete them and even then, it’s sometimes hard to produce an attractive version. As with many designs of this ilk, tissue foil allows you to produce neater results with somewhat less finesse.
The designs of Iniesta have more character to my eyes (or fingers), especially the “dragon with wizard” and “witch”, but if you like complex fantasy designs, you’re bound to enjoy folding most of these. The introducatory text is brief, but interesting, as we learn how Netto and Iniesta discovered fi rst origami, then that they shared a common interest in fantasy creatures. Netto offers this thought; “If you get inspiration (to create) then I advise you to close the book, it won’t move from there, and follow your muse where it takes you”. Sound advice.
I do have one big problem with the book though, and it’s one shared by many such reprints, that of print quality. The diagrams are condensed, often with 16 (complex) steps per page and the manner in which they have been scanned and printed has left the shading much darker than it should be, and of indifferent quality. You can clearly see the mottled effect where tif images have been shrunk down.
It’s a real shame, since it would be a trivial task for the designers to lighten the images so the detail was clearer. However, the type of folder who would buy this book can work around this (providing they have good eyesight and a reading lamp) so perhaps I shouldn’t carp – it’s a lot of folding for a tenner.
Dover Publications 80 pages softback 16*22cms isbn : 0-486-40284-3
Originally published in 1995 as “Papirofl exia Facil” in Spanish, this book demonstrates once again what an enormous debt is owed to Vicente Palacios for his ceaseless work in promoting and researching origami. The book has a distinct bias towards modulars and containers, but there are other classics in there, including a Momotani plane and the amazing “whistle that whistles” by Angel Ecija. It also contains a “vampire bat” by some chap called Robinson.
I’ve long been an admirer of Palacios’ excellent diagrams, which are both lively, clear and unusually for these modern times, drawn by hand. If you don’t own it, buy it now – a highly entertaining selection of lesser known designs. At £5 on Amazon (or, of course $5 with the ubiquitous 1:1 exchange rate) it’s a genuine bargain. My only beef would be the title. Whilst not by any means complex, it’s certainly not a book for beginners.
Dover Publications 64pp softback 83/8 x 11 isbn : 0-486-45076-7
Following in the footsteps of the late Florence Temko, Stern has produced a book of simple designs which reflect aspects of Judaism. In the introduction, Stern explains some of the connections between origami and Judaism and how they can enhance each other. Simpler subjects include a ram’s horn, prayer book, candles & tablets. Listed under “intermediate” is a dreidel, shank bone and frog (one of the plagues!). Finally under “advanced” you get four sons (wise, wicked, simple and one who does not know how to ask!), scrolls and a table. There are 24 designs in total.
The instructions are clear and steps are pleasingly 3D where it helps the folder and despite being in 3 levels, there’s nothing that would tax a folder of moderate abilities. Highlights? I like the “Parting of the Red Sea” where a fl at surface collapses in the centre. The “four sons” are simple and pleasing to the eye, reminiscent of the late, great Eric Kenneway.
All designs have been thought through and indicate a creator who understands the idea of sequencing. Available on Amazon for a mere £2.15, I’d say there’s good value for money here and folds you can enjoy and teach whether or not you are of the faith.
A.K. Peters Ltd. 8.5 x 11″ softback 120 pages 978-1-56881-584-8
Anyone who has bought Meenakshi’s previous two books (“modular” and “ornamental” origami) will know of her deep fascination and love of modular origami. You would think that publishing at this rate, at some point her creative well would dry up, but there are no signs of it in this book!
Chapters include geometry, simple cubes, “four sink base” models, pentagonal models, miscellaneous, plus a chapter by guest contributors Carlos Cabrino of Brazil, Daniel Kwan of the USA, Aldo Marcell of Nicaragua, and Tanya Vysochina of Ukraine. Appendices included recommended reading and websites.
Given the explosion of interest in modular folds (there is a healthy Facebook group devoted to them), there will undoubtedly be debates about “who created what and when”. Meenakshi tackles this honestly and sensibly. She talks about how a given unit was developed and rigorously acknowledges all those known to have worked in a similar vein.What’s more important, she brings an artistic sensibility to the designs, they are generally both engaging and eye-catching.
Yes, others may have created similar units, but it’s clear she’s following her own creative “nose” and as is often the case, creating one unit leads naturally to variations and further developments. Would that other creators were as pragmatic – few origami designs these days are genuinely original, and especially in modular work you should expect to be duplicated elsewhere, but it shouldn’t prevent you creating in your chosen field.
The illustrations are excellent and use of full colour throughout allows for many finished examples to inspire you. I personally dislike the slightly thin, glossy paper used for the book, but as long as you’re reasonably careful when handling the book, it shouldn’t be a major problem. All in all, a worthy addition to her collection and thoroughly recommended. More info and sample pages on her own amazing website.
Workman Publishing 152 pages softback ISBN: 0-7611-3988-5
I could be wrong, but this appears to be a collection of models already published in the series of calendars that Van Sicklen has produced for the same company. As such, you know what to expect – a mixture of traditional original designs ranging from simple to low-intermediate. Some are credited, others frustratingly not – such as Kasahara’s Dove (here “Urban Bird”) and Keiji Kitamura’s wonderful cat. Many are also re-titled; the trad “junk” becomes “the Ship of 1000 Cranes”.
Other designs have titles such as “the Rabbit of Wisdom” and “Thirsty Bird at the River of Tranquility”. Who say there are no hippies left? You also get 100 sheets of “whimsical” paper bound into the book. Sadly, the paper is glossy and covered with inappropriate and garish patterns. Quite how the spine will survive when half the contents have been pulled out is another question.
You have to admire the authors love of her subject and the book is bright and cheerful. I dislike the cutesy touches, but the book is presumably aimed at younger Americans and not grumpy old hacks like me. A slight shame about the variable credits and there is no information about OUSA. Probably not a book for any serious folder.
Search Press (Quarto)
Also sold as “the Origami Artists Bible”, this is a classic example of repackaging at its worst. Every single model within has been published before by Quarto and has simply been redrawn. Some of the models are credited to the creators, but many are not (Brill, Jackson etc). Worse than that, some have been credited wrongly.
Despite there being many of my designs within, I’ve only been actually credited once, for “use of his dollar bill rhino”, when a) it’s just a photo, b) not my photo and c) the rhino is by Stephen Weiss. One of my designs has been credited to Alain Georgeot. Add to that the fact that they borrowed the title of a existing book of mine, you can imagine why I feel somewhat miffed.
There is absolutely no excuse for this slipshod approach to accreditation. Whilst I grudgingly accept they probably have the legal right to ransack their own back catalogue in this fashion, I have worked several times with the editor in question and she knows how important proper accreditation is. It would have taken fifteen minutes to identify the creators and give them their due credit. Needless to say, none of the creators were contacted in advance for permission and none have received a complimentary copy.
They have offered to make amendments for future print runs, but but nothing said about permission, it’s already too late and really shouldn’t be necessary. It’s no wonder creators are beginning to be far less free with their work and ultimately, publishers like Quarto will cut their own throats if they wish to continue presenting exciting new origami models. I urge you all to spurn this book as you would a rabid dog, even if it’s cheap in a remainder shop!
Breckling Press 168 pages, softback ISBN 0-9721218-4-6 / 0-9721-2180-3
Ms. Sudo continues to produces fabric origami books almost faster than people can review them! Both books present a variety of simple origami designs that can be applied to fabric and stitched together to produce some stunningly beautiful results. Full instructions are given as to the size of cloth required, which stitching techniques to employ and you get templates for use when cutting out the cloth.
The techniques seem simple enough, providing you have a steady sewing technique. “Fresh, fun and oh so easy” trumpets the back cover and one has to agree. Flower Origami contains 230 patterns and the companion volume Folded Flowers contains 24 flowers and six purse designs. Both should provide much fun for anyone with an hour or so to spare.
A slightly more obscure offering by the same author is “Flower Days”, an “origami inspired creativity journal”. Essentially a journal for you to note down your ideas, experiences and impressions, it is a seven inch square book with a very neat magnetic flap to keep the attractive cover closed.