Saturday, 8 November 2014

Origami Ikebana, by Benjamin John Coleman. Review.


World Origami Days continue until November 11, and so do my origami book reviews...


Origami Ikebana
Create Lifelike Flower Arrangements

Benjamin John Coleman

Tuttle Publishing 2014

Paperback + DVD, £15.95

Link to Amazon: Origami Ikebana

ISBN 978 4 8053 1242 1


Star rating: *****
More paper flowers!:

Benjamin John Coleman is an origami innovator. In Origami Ikebana, he presents an entire system for making realistic-looking flower arrangements (ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, characterized by elegant minimalistic designs). The papers for all the arrangement components – blossoms, leaves, stems, base – are painted and shaped to create a more naturalistic result than standard origami flowers. (My guess is that painting the paper makes it more pliable, capable of being moulded into graceful curves.) 

The book teaches you how to fashion all the arrangement components from start to finish:  the leaves, blossoms, stems, even the base. You are taught how to craft bark-like makigami  stems, and how to assemble the pieces into a cohesive whole – an elegant ikebana arrangement. 
The makigami stems are rolled from newspaper triangles. Adjusting the shape of the triangular template alters the taper of the stem – a similar method to making paper beads. The rock bases are crafted using a papier-mâché-like technique (I have to say, they have me thinking of school science fair volcanoes).

The book features designs for 8 different leaves and 30 different flower shapes. The folding how-tos are presented using a patented origami instructional method called “Glow Fold”, in which the folding diagrams are colour-coded to indicate sequence.

The accompanying DVD reinforces the on-page instructions. The “Glow-Fold” diagrams, plus directional arrows, are superimposed on the “folding moves”­ video –  this makes learning the technique just about foolproof.

I am absolutely bowled over by John Coleman’s development and presentation of the Origami Ikebana concept. The resultant arrangements are elegant and graceful. (Very occasionally, I think the results look over-manipulated. To my personal taste, it is the spontaneity of origami that appeals.) These floral models, exquisite creations, are labour-instensive projects. If crafting an everlasting floral display is your goal, Origami Ikebana may be right up your alley. 

So – a beautifully-conceived system, clearly and professionally presented (the author has teaching credentials). If you are looking for a more sculptural approach to origami flowers, Benjamin John Coleman’s origami/papier-mâché hybrid could be just right for you. And for the price of a book/dvd combo, you get the equivalent of an evening course in flower arranging!

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