Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: LaFosse & Alexander's Origami Jewelry

This is the second book about origami jewelry that came across me.  The first was Origami Jewelry by Ayako Brodek.  While Ms. Brodek's book is filled with feminine and intricate designs, this new Origami Jewelry by LaFosse and Alexander includes bold and striking designs.  Understandably, Ms. Brodek is a woman and Mr. LaFosse and Alexanders are men thus the difference in the same topic.  I very much enjoyed this whole different take on Origami Jewelry.

There are 25 different models that are introduced as "beads," or more like "folded gems" in this book.  They are geometric designs, some of which flat and others three-dimensional.  Some of the 3-D gems have beautiful curbed shapes to them.  As far as I know these designs are all new that had not been published elsewhere.  These gems can turn into earrings or necklaces, and the book explains in details as to how to turn these gems into certain kinds of jewelry that are shown as examples.

As always, LaFosse/Alexander's instructions are very clear and easy to understand, and the book comes with DVD just in case you get lost in diagrams or you prefer to follow video instructions.  For each model, they show the size comparisons between the paper and folded model so you will know what size of paper to use for the size of a folded model that you want.

The book goes into details on how to mount these folded beads, how to connect them and their variations, selecting paper and materials, back-coating to strengthen the paper, cutting and trimming paper to size, and all other details on tools and materials needed for making origami jewelry.

Furthermore, the authors "offer all of the jewel designs present in this book to the public for their unrestricted use, without obtaining any commercial use license or design royalty."  In other words, LaFosse/Alexander are OK with the readers selling jewelries made out of the designs included in this book.  However, you have to be aware that any other original designs by LaFosse/Alexander or by any other origami artists are intellectual properties so if you are to use them for commercial purposes,  you must first obtain permissions.

Here is an earring that I've made out of a design called Wolverine Claw in the book.  I think it looks more like the Eiffel Tower.

I've made an ornament out of another design called Square Rhombus Beads, which is used on the cover of the book as an earring design.  I think a lot of the designs in this book are also great to use as ornaments or garlands.

Lastly, I loved the analogy that the authors made in the book about musical performance and folded art, so I want to share: "Well-chosen paper is the instrument.  If the paper is patterned, the scale of the patterns, colors, and textures will provide tone, and even play their own notes, too.  The design is like the musical composition that provides the strength and substance necessary for durability.  Elegant results demand a careful, heartfelt execution, or a cogent interpretation during your performance.  Refining your folding skills take 'practice, practice, practice' as does playing any musical instrument artfully."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Origami Ikebana by Benjamin John Coleman

"Origami Ikebana" by Benjamin John Coleman is the second product by that author that I am reviewing.  I wrote a review on Coleman's "Origami Bonsai" kit about a year ago (review can be read here).  "Origami Bonsai" is a great product, and Coleman's new book/DVD, "Origami Ikebana" is just what you'd expect based on the last one.

Origami flower sculpture that I made,
using the Origami Bonsai book as reference

Although the actual ikebana and bonsai are two different forms of art, these two products by Coleman cover pretty much the same topic: how to create realistic origami flower sculptures.  However, the Origami Ikebana is a more recent product than the Origami Bonsai so I see a lot of improvements and greater depth in the newer book.

What are the improvements, you may ask?  First of all, there is a wider variety of flower and leaf instructions offered in the new book.  His new book has 8 types of leaf models and 34 types of flower models, whereas the old one had 4 types of leaves and 6 types of flowers.  What's even more exciting is that the author explains how to cut paper into decagon and dodecagon, which allows you to fold 5-petal flower and 6-petal flower respectively.  Previously in Origami Bonsai, every flower model had four petals.  By cutting paper into decagon or dodecagon, each included flower model could have more petals.  This opens up a whole new set of possibilities, and I look forward to not only folding his flower models but also experimenting with decagon and dodecagon for my own models.

Coleman's primrose models that I folded,
out of decagon (5-petal) and dodecagon (6-petal)

Furthermore, the author gives step-by-step detailed instructions with photos on painting leaves and flowers, making base rocks and boulders, painting them, rolling paper for stems and stamens, assembling the parts for a finished sculpture, and even packing it for shipping.  Indeed, it is A LOT more than just an origami instructional book!

To tell the truth, I am usually hesitant to do messy projects so I haven't tried painting paper, making rocks or rolling paper, but his examples in the book all look beautiful so I plan to try it someday.

8 types of leaves (left page)
and an example of flower sculpture (right page)
Pages that show different kinds of flower assemblies
By far, this flower sculpture example is my favorite!

Overall, I am very impressed by both the quality and quantity of the content in Origami Ikebana.  The entire book is filled with beautiful examples, in full-color and even comes with a DVD!  I think that any origami enthusiast would enjoy this book, but especially those who like to go a step further than just folding and to find ways to sculpt the model for a beautiful display, as well as to experiment with their own folding patterns.  If that sounds like what you like to do, this book is for you!