Friday, June 27, 2014

Kit Review: One Minute Paper Airplanes by Andrew Dewar

There is something about paper airplanes that always seems to excite boys, even grown-up boys.  I can think of a handful of adult males: fathers, uncles, and teachers who would love this kit to work on with their young ones, or even just for themselves.  I, as an adult female, don't usually get that excited about paper airplanes, but I was certainly delighted to see the cool, unique designs of the paper airplanes when I first opened this kit.

The kit includes 12 pop-out paper airplanes, an instructional booklet, and a catapult launcher.  They all fit in a nice box that comes in, even after building the planes (if you remove the cardboard inside).  The catapult launcher makes these planes fly so much faster and further than hand-flying, which is a big bonus!

Just after receiving this One Minute Airplanes kit I had an opportunity to spend time with a seven-year-old nephew, so we got to try this kit together.  He seemed to love it!  Below is a little videoclip of him flying one of the planes.


I should point out that the name of this kit, "One Minute Paper Airplanes" could be misleading.  First of all, I think that the One Minute implies the time it takes to build each airplane, but it certainly takes longer to build one until you get a hang of it.  I realized that diagramming system for building paper crafts is different from origami's so it took me a while to figure it all out.  Even after building all the planes, you would end up spending a lot more time flying them so this is not just a "quickie" kit that you'd get tired in a short amount of time.

I think this kit may be a bit too challenging for a young child without much experience in paper crafting to figure out how to build.  But it would be an excellent kit to build together by a parent-child team.  Building and flying them together could lead to a great bonding experience.

It would be fun to bring this kit to vacations as well.  Just be sure to bring a stapler and a ruler to build the planes with.  A smaller head stapler would work better if you have one, since regular sized staples seem to weigh the planes down.

Also, be sure to test out the planes in a large open area without obstacles, on a calm, dry day.  My nephew and I flew them in the wooded area with a pool, and we ended up losing a plane in a pool, another one in the woods.  Oops.

Tuttle Publishing just released the One Minute Paper Airplanes kit just a few days ago.  You can purchase one directly from Tuttle, or also from Amazon and Powell's.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parkinson's Disease Patience Finds Solace in Origami

My friend and student Bev copes with Parkinson's Disease, and she says that practicing origami helps settle her symptoms and distract her from pains.  Her story was featured on OregonLive in April: Parkinson's Awareness Month.  Although April had passed, and I had already shared this story on my Facebook page, I thought that I should share it here on my blog as well.  Because a good story deserves more attentions.

Bev has encouraged and inspired many others who cope with this disease, including my family member.  She has done that not only by sharing her story on  local media, but also by connecting others with PD, starting a Parkinson's support group and leading it.  Despite her chronic pain and limited mobility, Bev is always optimistic and has a good sense of humor.  She keeps herself busy with physical therapy, gardening and all kinds of art and craft projects.  Her quote, "our bodies change, but our spirit does not have to."  I admire Bev's creative passion and am grateful to have gotten to know her through origami.

Below is a "sneak peek" video clip of Bev folding an origami ring in my class, originally posted on OregonLive.  There is also a whole article where she and another local PD patience was featured on OregonLive (here is the link).  

Parkinson's Disease patient finds solace in origamiBev Mickelson, 59, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2008. She discovered origami after moving to a senior living center in Southeast Portland. When she's focused on art, she said, she forgets she's sick.

If you suffer from Parkinson's Disease, know someone who does, or want to find out more about PD, here is a link to Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Origami Animal Sculpture by John Szinger

Origami Animal Sculpture book by John Szinger comes with an instructional DVD and will be released from Tuttle Publishing on July 22, 2014.

As it's implied by the title and the photos, this book is not meant to be for origami beginners.  It is for intermediate to advance folders who are looking to tackle some challenging models.  If you like to wet-fold your origami models, I think most of the models in this book would be fantastic as wet-folded sculptures.

I must admit that I do not usually challenge myself to advance models or wet-fold just for pleasure, but I very much enjoyed tackling the models in this book so far.  The first two models that I folded are Foxy Fox and Narwhal, during an 1.5 hour flight.  I folded both of these out of 10x10 origami paper.  The author gives suggested paper size for each model based on the complexity level, which is helpful.

I had never seen an origami narwhal model before and was very excited to see this fascinating creature in the form of origami!  It's hard to believe that narwhals really exist because they look like unicorns of the sea.

I also folded a Bull Walrus out of 10x10 black origami paper.  I think this photo taken at at the poolside location came out pretty cool.  It makes him look lively, as if he is about to jump in the water.

Here is another photo that I took of the Foxy Fox model, with the redwoods in the background.  Foxes actually do live in the woods around there, so it seemed appropriate.

This Adirondack Chair below is not an animal model, but it is included in the book.  I folded out of a 6x6 brown origami paper and set it in the middle of wild flowers.  I call it a tiny chair for a fairy.  This would be a cute model to put in a dollhouse.

I enjoyed taking the pictures in these appropriate settings, thanks to my family members who live in the beautiful spot.  The models came out looking more lively than just in plain background.

I am still folding more models from this book, but perhaps I will wait to share them until they look more presentable.  I think that each model in this book is aesthetically refined and accurately depicting the characteristics, so they deserve quality paper, precise folds and beautiful presentations.

I would give a 5-star rating on this book!  The models are pleasantly challenging and provide good practice for aspiring folders like myself, who need to work on difficult folding techniques, such as crimp and sink folds.

Lastly, I want to share my favorite photo from this book, below.  It looks like these cephalopods are having a meeting, with the blue Giant Squid being the leader of the group.  It cracks me up.  All of the example models shown in the book are folded by the authors, John Szinger.  Photographs by Bob Plotkin.

You can pre-order this book directly from Tuttle Publishing, and also from most major book retailers such as Amazon and Powell's.  As mentioned earlier, it will come out on July 22nd.

Book Review Alert! Coming up soon...

I recently received several pre-released origami books, kits and packs from Tuttle Publishing, a premier publisher on Asian culture.  Tuttle has published absolutely the best selection of origami books, with easy-to-understand diagrams/instructions.  Needless to say, I was delighted and felt honored to receive these gifts, even before they hit all the bookstores!

I had a chance to go through and test out some of these products during my recent 3-day trip to visit my family in the Bay area.  In less than a week I start my annual summer art program, Willowbrook, where I will get to share these with the campers as well.  That being said, there will be reviews and project photos of these titles coming up on this blog in near future!