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.