Wednesday, 29 October 2014

LaFosse & Alexander's Origami Flowers. Kit review.

LaFosse & Alexander’s

Origami Flowers

Lifelike Paper Flowers to Brighten Up Your Life

By Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander, Origamido, Inc.

Tuttle Publishing 2014

Kit: Paperback book, DVD, 180 folding papers

ISBN: 978-0-8048-4312-6

Star rating: ****1/2

Here’s another origami kit review during World Origami Days.

Origami lends itself to kits. This “box set” is comprised of a paperback book, plus an accompanying DVD, and 180 sheets of origami paper. There are instructions for making 18 different origami flowers of varying intricacy – so there’s something for all origami skill levels.

This package is nicely timed to coincide with the paper flower-making trend. Origami, of course, lends itself to paper flower-making, the blossoms being interpretive rather than realistic-looking (my strong preference). The flowers, the majority of which are designed by Michael G. LaFosse, origami guru (contributions by others are attributed), are of both one-piece and modular construction. Constructing the modular interlocking units is fascinating. 

Some of my favourites include: the Maple Leaf (LaFosse) – and autumnal beauty. The fancy folding even conjures up a suggestion of leaf veins impressive!Plumeria, with its gently curling petals, and the modular Star flowers, which are dramatic in either one colour or two. The showstopper project is A Rose for Irene, its 3-D centre offset by swirling petals (and an accompanying calyx). The intro-tro chat for each project is informative and friendly.

The DVD is a powerful learning tool when used in tandem with the book. Clock the fold diagrams in the book, then watch the DVD for the accompanying step-by-step video segment to clarify and fine-tune. The videos are no frills, but effective: grey background, hands folding paper, voice-over. It works. 

A highly commendable feature of the kit is that after you’ve folded your flower, you are not left high and dry. There are how-tos for the rest of the flower components – the calyx and leaves. And on the DVD, there’s a segment about flower and leaf assembly using florist’s tape, wires and glue (not included in the kit) – so you can rustle up a boutonnière – or a bouquet.

The book contains some good suggestions about alternative flower-making materials – recycled sweet wrappers or foil paper. The papers that come with the kit are pretty basic, regulation-issue origami papers – solid on one side reversing to white (sizes: 15cm (6in) and 7.5cm (3in). The papers a a  tiche disappointing, which is why the 4-1/2 stars rather than 5. 

Full marks for the content of the book and DVD. This box set is prime gift material. 

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this kit.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Origami 365: a kit by Taro's Origami Studio. Review.

Origami 365

By Taro’s Origami Studio

(book by Taro Yaguchi and Masao Donohue)

Race Point Publishing 2014

Kit (paperback book + origami papers): £16.99 UK, $24.99 US, $27.99 CAN
ISBN 978-1-937994-52-5

Star rating: *****

To celebrate World Origami Days (24 Oct - 11 Nov), I’m featuring several origami books on the blog. Today’s title is an appealing kit (book + papers) which features a clever gimmick.

The book’s author, Taro Naguchi, is the founder of Taro's Origami Studio in Brooklyn, NYC (and another branch in Oakland, CA). Taro has brainstormed the Kyu System of origami learning in which the mastery of origami skills is tied to advancement through colour levels à la the martial arts belt system (the Japanese term, kyu refers to the system of achievement levels). The students in Taro’s studio get to wear colour-coded wrist bands – fun! (Colour levels in order of skill level: yellow, orange, blue, purple, brown, red).

The 80-page paperback book, by Taro Naguchi and Masao Donahue, is concise but well-written. The upfront material is info-packed and invitingly presented. There’s a concise history of origami, a bit on paper types, plus instructions for the basic folds.

The book contains how-tos for 12 origami models featuring key folds and base forms. The aim is to provide fundamental origami know-how. The models are well-chosen in that they offer variety of shape and method – 2-D, 3-D, modular, shaped. The models are: Samuri Helmut, Ninja Star, Heart Pendant, Butterfly, Pinwheel and Flying Disc, Crane, Twisted Rose, Chrysanthemum, Iris, Frog, Peacock, and Turtle. A good mix of projects with appeal for boys, girls, all ages. At the start of each project is a header key listing the colour-coded folds necessary for project completion – a handy ref so you can do a quick-study if necessary.

Now for the papers – they come in three sizes: 15cm (6in), 10cm (4in), and 5cm (2in). The smallest size is really teeny-tiny for folding – some people like a challenge. The papers have been specially designed to be used with the models in the book. Some of the papers have a pattern reversing to a solid, others have double-sided patterns. Patterns are both trad and modern. The papers have a slight sheen, like magazine pages, a pleasing effect. They are packaged in a re-useable clear plastic lidded box, which is handy. There are 356 sheets – one for each day of the year, hence the title.

So – full marks to this title for giftability. It is ideal for origami newbies, and would be appreciated by those with intermediate skills.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gingerbread House Card Rack

I've been making my toast rack-style card racks for three seasons now - so I thought I'd ramp things up a little and try something different to the ususal domed shape (Toast Rack Card Racks 2014). I've tweaked the design of the rack to resemble a gingerbread house. 

The Gingerbread House Card Rack is made in pretty much the same way as my original design - make the slotted body first, then pop in the ends. The difference for this style being that you must crease some additional folds to create the house shape. Tip: score the fold lines in the toast rack body before cutting out the slots. And... when you do fold the rack, place a metal ruler along the scored line as you fold all the slots simultaneously. 

The eaves of the roof of the Gingerbread house project beyond the toast rack. There are two versions of the toast rack ends: basic gingerbread house and gingerbread house with its owner/occupier on the doorstep.

Here are your freebies:


For co-ordinating cards to go with the card rack, go here.