I received an invitation this morning to the opening of Joan Sallas’ “Gefaltete Schönheit”, an exhibition of folded napkins. I shan’t be attending, but it looks very impressive. If you’re anywhere near Vienna, try to see it.
I was taught this box by Erica Thompson at the last Sheffield maxi-meeting, using “roller blind” paper. The lines of development from the Kawasaki Rose are clear, but it’s not just another clone. I found it fiendishly difficult (being old and out of practise), but the result was well worth it. I gather there are a couple of variations out there.
I found a site selling t-shirts with two of my designs on. They’d simply taken the diagrams from my site and started selling them! I had a protracted e-mail exchange with the culprit, who initially claimed they were his own designs!
Eventually he ‘fessed up and to be fair, removed them from the site. You just never know what’s going on behind your back, that’s why the Origami Artists & Creators are so important, helping to police things.
There seem to be an endless number of sites who allow you to upload images and generate income from various types of merchandise. You may have seen Dave Venables impressive merch site.
Dover Publications softback books, 21*28cms 96 sheets of paper $14.95 ISBN 0-486-43923-2
This boxed package continues Dover’s repackaging of earlier Montroll books. Each of the three books is 48 pages and contains designs from “Origami for the Enthusiast” and “Animal Origami for the Enthusiast”. They are entitled “Wild Animals”, “Sea Creatures” and “Birds and Insects”. For the origami enthusiast, if you have the source books, there is absolutely nothing new to be had. Even the photos of the models are originals, and, it must be said, poorly folded. Such as shame that Dover didn’t invest in the services of an expert to fold fresh examples to a high standard.
If you don’t have the source books, these represent a cheap and easy way to dip your fingers into the awesome range of techniques and designs that Montroll unleashed in his younger days. To the average reader of the Tanteidan magazine, the designs may seem pretty straight-forward, but step back in time over 20 years and this was cutting edge complex material. Whatever aesthetic quibbles you might have, Montroll’s contribution to creative origami is vast and should be fully appreciated.
However, at this price, the package is likely to attract newcomers to origami, spurred on with sales lines such as “3 books of projects from basic to advanced”. What will they fi nd? Well, what they won’t find is any kind of guide as to the best order to tackle the projects, nor any general introduction to origami or folding techniques. The only design which I’d put in today’s “simple” category would be the “Fish” and even that has instructions such as “inside-reverse fold the inner layer”. The rest of the designs fall into the intermediate to complex areas. I’d imagine most beginners would struggle to complete more than a few designs from the entire package.
The original titles made it plain they were “for the Enthusiast”, the new edition pretends they’re suitable for all. I’ve just seen a review on the Net saying “this is the perfect kit for the beginner“. As a rich source of folding material for those who are new to Montroll, this is a “must buy”. If you have Montroll’s books, I’d buy it, keep the paper and give the books out to promising young folders at local meetings, stressing the historical context. For newcomers, I’d advise them to steer clear until they have a sound grasp of origami symbols
H&R Magic Books ISBN : 0-9727938-3-6 48 pages softback
H&R appear to be a small company that promote magic and related areas. This book came to my attention because it was illustrated by none other than our very own David Petty. Such an experienced hand means that we get top-notch instructions, with every effort to show extra layers and generally give depth. Author Sterling Dare has an impressive CV of work flying, teaching and business studies and was inspired to fold by Harbin’s Origami 1.
The designs are all his own work (apart from four by DP and a couple of traditionals) and are all fairly quirky – the subtitle of the book is “a collection of wild or strange animals”! They are not without charm though and use a wide range of origami techniques to achieve the end result.
There is an ample section on folding symbols and basic techniques. A suitable audience would be folders of basic to intermediate ability, young or old, who have a few dollar bills (or Euros) lying around. You can order from their website www.magicbookshop.com and at $15, it’s pretty good value.
Water Trade ISBN 0-9534774-3-6
To liberally quote from the website: “Origami Alfresco is a collection of 30 elegantly simple and easily reproducible sketches, drawn without pen or ink, using the contrast between the white and coloured surfaces of standard origami paper. The subjects covered range from landscapes through portraits to paradoxical images”. I have long been fascinated with this style of origami (I call it “Painting with Paper”) but the style either grabs you or it doesn’t. Some admire the simplicity and elegance, others just don’t see the point.
To my mind, it has echoes of origami from the early years, when designs sought to capture the essence without worrying too much about realism. It is in many ways reminiscent of the late, great Eric Kenneway, a designer whose influence is rarely seen in today’s work, to my sorrow. Although a few of these ideas have been explored by others, it is a largely original, coherent and thought-provoking body of work which offers a refreshing change to the popular trends of modern origami.
This collection is spread over 44 A4 pages with a softback cover. It is part of Mitchell’s own imprint Watertrade and whilst this outfit is seemingly now sunk, there are still copies of this (and others) to be had. If you don’t snap them up, you’ll regret it.
Japanese 135 pages, inc. CD. Softback 19x26cms ISBN4- 7741-1880-X 22,20 euros.
I picked this up whilst paying a flying visit to Freising in Germany recently. The wonderful Viereck Verlag origami store has a reputation for making the best origami books and paper available – have a look at www.viereck-verlag.de to see their range. Like many of Kasahara’s books, it is a mixture of the old and the new, but all beautifully interwoven. You’ll see a traditional fold, then an exciting new way of using or adapting it. There’s nothing complex here, (apart from the Japanese language!) but there’s hours of fun and countless new ideas and variations for you to try.
Kasahara loves cubes and there are a number to try out. There’s also an amazing 3-unit design which creates two cubes, one cube inside another (then the other inside the first), a form resembling the 6 WBB design, then a stellated octahedron. Along with the attractive artwork and diagrams, you get a free CDrom with flash animations, videos of some of the “action” designs, mathematical ideas and lots more besides. All sadly in Japanese – I get the distinct feeling I’m missing interesting and useful information, but even so, it’s a delight to watch and gives a great deal of added value.
Overall, a delightful and attractive book that will offer something to any folder who enjoys geometry, attractive folding sequences and stimulating ideas. It would be wonderful to see this translated (how do they decide which books to do this with?) but any KK fan will want to buy this book.
A4ish, 64 pages, softback, Tuttle Publishing ISBN 0- 8048-3495-4 (boxes) 0-8048-3496-2 (planes)
Florence Temko is a wonder. She has sold over 2.5 million craft books, many of the origami. As well as being a founder member of Origami USA, she has taught origami in 31 countries around the world and made countless TV appearances. Despite advancing years, her output and enthusiasm are undiminished.
I approached these books with a bit of trepidation. Tuttle may have a well established name, but they still sell the Sakade books, first published in 1957. The fact that these books, which passed their sell-by date over 30 years ago, are still being marketed for the modern day (and listed as “published July 2002” on the website) indicates their desire for sales overrides quality. However, good news. As well as the recentish LaFosse series (which doesn’t seem to be readily available in UK bookshops), Temko’s new series include everything the Sakade books lack.
The diagrams, whilst hastily drawn, (please round the joins/ mitres in future!) are clear and use modern terminology – none of the Sakade “place HF along GH”. The pages are clear, bright and colourful. Each book has sections on techniques, cutting squares, helpful tips, an origami FAQ (great idea!), how to teach others, where do models originate, copyright and contact details for societies. In short, all the areas that many lesser origami books skirt around.
The designs too are carefully chosen (and credited) and include many modern designs as well as the usual classics. One of these may surprise many BOS readers, it’s “Four Thirsty Birds” by none other than David Lister! The airplanes book also has a mixture of designs. As someone not unfamiliar with paper airplanes, I was delighted to discover several that were new to me, including an excellent “fighter plane”.
Later on in this book, you learn how to make an airport, design your own planes and hold contests. In summary, these books represent an excellent themed introduction to origami, with lots of stimulating ideas and techniques. In addition, they address important ideas such as copyright and creativity. Florence has made significant new additions to her impressive library of origami books. Long may she continue!
This review was written before her death.
Dover Publications : ISBN 0-486-43292-0
This boxed set by Dover contains three 48 page softback books previously issued by John Montroll; Easy Origami, Birds and Favourite Animals in Origami, plus a pack of paper that looks suspiciously like Muji. Montroll fans will have these volumes already, so there’s no need to cover their contents. I have to say that this package is a fairly unsubtle attempt by Dover to cash in on existing products. I’m not questioning the value for money – at £15 it’s excellent value, even if you can buy these books on Amazon in sets of two for the equivalent of £3.15!
However, to use phrases such as “fun kit for beginners”, “great starter books” and “you can do origami – right now!” implies that the models are carefully selected for a beginner. Whilst “Easy Origami” clearly caters for this market, the other two contain models that are mostly of intermediate complexity and don’t offer any kind of controlled progression. There isn’t even anything on the box to suggest in what order these books should be tackled. So, as a cheap way to build your Montroll collection, top marks. As a fun kit for beginners, it leaves a lot to be desired. I doubt the author was consulted on this release, but a little input from an experienced paper-folder could have improved this package no end.
Augustus Verlag A4 hardback 72 pages ISBN 3-8043-0962-3
Fun for Children is the title of this book from Hatman Sallas, crammed full of simple designs aimed at children 4 years and upwards. Many are traditional, the others designed by Joan. The book is in sections; simple figures, flying objects, water craft, instruments, small art objects, and “always in motion”. All are drawn with Joan’s exceptional graphic ability and include a difficulty rating and suggested paper type and size.
Few books are genuinely suitable for younger folders, they usually present classic models and assume they are suitable. Joan has carefully chosen ideas likely to appeal to youngsters (if you’ve ever met him, you’ll know he is young at heart himself!) and come up with a winner. His only regret is that he was led to believe that the model on the cover of the book (Kissing Lips by Soon Lee of Korea) was traditional and so didn’t give proper credit. Despite this oversight, the book is excellent value at 11 euros and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys simple yet intriguing origami.