Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Origami Garden, by Mark Bolitho. Review.

By Mark Bolitho
Jacqui Small, May 2017
Paperback (includes pack of double-sided origami papers), 
£14.99 UK/US $19.99/CAN 29.99

ISBN 978-1-911127-10-9

Star rating: *****

The publication of this delightful title just happens to coincide serendipitously, with The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We can all appreciate the horticultural glories on display – but not all of us have green fingers (or thumbs, as the case may be). Some of us express ourselves creatively by papercrafting – and The Origami Garden is an appropriate, perfectly-timed treat for us.

The book is being pitched as a mindfulness activity, origami joining the mindfulness bandwagon – which, of course, any involving craft you can lose yourself in qualifies for. Calm sounds good. And origami is much more mentally engaging than colouring!

So – what’s in the book? Splendid, fun, imaginative 3-D designs, well thought out and made up in suitable papers (which are handily provided inside back cover). The models are divided into four themed sections –  Seeds and Plants, Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables, and Garden Life.  So, plenty of variety. There’s a Seedling  in a Pot (including  origami “soil”), Nuts in a Bowl, various flower blossoms, a delightful pleated Palm Leaf, trendily genius flowering Cactus in a Pot, and a cleverly constructed freestanding Pine Tree. There’s a Mushroom, Pear, and an appealingly puffy Tomato. A Butterfly, Frog, Bird, and a perky Snail. Many of these projects would be suitable for gift presentation – or as giftwrap embellishments.

Each project is star-system rated for complexity. Each is accompanied by detailed step-by-step line drawings, including directional arrows and indication of paper side. These are clearly accompanied by text.

The author, Mark Bolitho, has been a long-time member of the British Origami Society, a former Chairman. Having retired from his day job, he has forged an exciting second career as an origami creative. He is a prolific origami author and design  consultant. Now that’s living the dream! Congrats.

Glad to hear that Mark Bolitho has more themed origami books in the pipeline. I look forward to seeing them.

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

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Gingham Pocket

This is a quickie project - a cute gingham pocket that makes a sweet card enclosure, topper, or party favour. The purpose of my doing it is to suss out Silhouette Studio 4 (it seems very intuitive) and how to post make-it project links to you.

The pocket has accordion-pleated sides - the folds are indicated by the coloured-areas on the template:
Easy-peasy. You can add the reinforcements to the right or flip sides - your call.

Here are your free patterns:

Hope this works. Sil studio seemed to want to save in Studio 3- probably for the best as you may not have upgraded to Studio 4 yet.

Anyhow - hope this clears the way for more makes in future! Enjoy. A tisket, a tasket - a folded gingham basket (paper variety).

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Origami Animal Friends, by Mari Ono. Review.

Fold 35 of your favourite cat, dogs, rabbits, and more
By Mari Ono
Cico Books 2017
Paperback (includes 50 sheets of origami paper) £12.99 UK/ $19.95 US/$23.95 CAN

ISBN 978-1-78249-422-5

Star rating: *****

This delightful origami book, by expert Mari Ono (with an assist from her artist husband), could be the makings of a very special half-term “together” activity. The book provides 35 cute animal models – and a pack of printed origami papers specially engineered to fit. Such a very good idea. The models really come to life enhanced by the custom-designed papers. (I love engineered prints – they are a design sweet spot – decoration strategically placed to enhance form.) The papers are designed by Mari Ono’s husband, a graphic artist. They make a great team. 

The book’s intro provides a capsule history of the Japanese origami tradition. A nice opener to set the tone.

The book is divided into four sections: In the House, In the Garden, On the Farm, and In the Wild. Representatives of the animal kingdom include an adorable Scottish Terrier, a cuddly Hamster, a fun Hedgehog, a Parrot, a Pigeon, a Peacock, an Angel Fish, a puffy Blow Fish, a Hermit Crab and the sweet cover bunnies. 

The projects are photographed in imaginative, colourful papercraft landscapes, and are accompanied by detailed step-by-step how-tos. The photos have superimposed directional fold lines and are accompanied by instructional text. Each project has a transliterated Japanese name with its English counterpart. 

The papers are packaged in a durable plastic wallet inside the back cover. (I probably shouldn’t say this, but an obvious thing would be to scan/and or photocopy all the papers before making the models so that you can make repeats – as you are sure to want to do.) Many of the models would be recognizable when made up in just-plain origami paper, or they could be enhanced with hand-drawn details.

More please! This idea has legs. I hope that further origami projects with engineered papers are in the pipeline. Christmas makes would be an obvious choice.