The whole recent trend for origami has been passing me by somewhat. I became interested in it as a child when it was popular back in the 1970’s (yes I am THAT old) but struggled somewhat to do most of the projects by myself – perhaps I wasn’t old enough, or more likely, as I usually do, tried to tackle the most complicated projects in the book. I’ve dabbled here and there since, but not being the neatest or most precise person in the world, often ended up with indifferent results which didn’t encourage me to do more. So when I was invited to review ‘Origami for All’ by Ioana Stoian, it was with some trepidation.
Be warned – this is not one of those drop dead gorgeous looking craft books that shriek ‘buy me’ from the bookshop shelf, full of glossy colourful photos of beautifully made inspiring projects. I’ve got lots of those – they often remain pristine on my bookshelf, brought down and sighed over from time to time, but never actually used. This book however is very different. There are no glossy colourful photos, and minimal text. Instead the projects are given simple step by step diagrams to show how to make them. The design of the book, and indeed that of the projects themselves has been guided by the Japanese notion of ‘shibusa’- the striving for balance between simplicity and complexity. The little text there is has been made available in 5 languages, and further help, should it be required, is available via the website.
The 16 original projects offer a good variety, ranging from figures and decorative motifs to useful items (such as a place-card holder and a box), and even jewellery. They also vary in terms of their complexity, ranging from more simple projects which my 9 year old son was able to follow by himself using the diagrams, to more complex ones for the more ambitious.
So how did I get on? Well in typical fashion I decided to tackle what appeared to be the most complex project in the book, to make a rather dramatic bat. While not perfect – you needed a lot of patience for this one because of the number of folds – I did actually achieve it – hurray! And here’s a photo to prove it. If you fancy having a go at this one yourself, you can download a PDF tutorial here.
I was sufficiently encouraged by my success to try a few more of the tutorials, and hopefully might share some of the results with you over the next few weeks. I find that I rather like the simplicity and mininalism of origami, the fact that you need nothing other than paper and your hands to create something beautiful, so that you can do it anywhere.
Needless to say, this is one book which far from staying pristine on my bookshelf, is already starting to get a little dog-eared and battered with use!
If you fancy having a go yourself, the book is available for £9.99 from a range of suppliers in Europe and the US – find out more about it via the Origami for All website.