Monday, 13 July 2015

Folded Paper German Stars, by Armin Täubner

Creative Paper Crafting Ideas Inspired by Friedrich Fröbel

By Armin Täubner

Stackpole Books, May 2015

Paperback, £11.99 UK/$15.95 US/$19.95 CAN

Fröbel star rating: ***

I zoomed in on this title because it celebrates the work of Friedrich Fröbel. Fröbel was a 19th century German educationalist and papercraft guru. He brainstormed the concept of kindergarten. He - wait-for it - re-introduced the craft of origami to Japanese schoolchildren. And his papercraft legacy lives on in the celestial contribution of his famous 3-D woven stars – a trad Christmas decoration – and in his folded paper shapes. (The big idea is that paper folding teaches creativity, logical thinking, and improves motor co-ordination.)

Back to the review. This is a reprint of a German edition. Armin Täubner is a prolific papercraft author, whose delightful Floragami, I have reviewed on this blog. 

The book begins with a collection of folded modular shapes - kind of the origami equivalent of paper snowflakes. Slight permutations, no two alike. Lots of geek appeal. The “moves” are indicated with step-by-step folding diagrams + text. A winning idea is to fold the shapes in translucent paper to make window decorations. After the basic folded shapes are shown, the author moves on to 3-D constructions. This section is not for origami purists because – shock horror – glue is involved. The resulting spheres are very attractive – and are “cheats” kusudama. The gluing enables an openwork appearance, which is extremely appealing.

As you would expect, the Fröbel star section kick-starts with detailed, illustrated how-tos on how to weave the eponymous stars out of strips of paper. The steps are pretty clear – but, if you are like me –  you may zone out when things get to about step 28 (and I like learning from books). My suggestion: check out a You Tube video and use it in conjunction with the book. And always bear in mind that the paper weaving steps are repetitive – so there are fewer folding operations than the number of steps. Super-symmetry. Everything is done in quad! When you master the star, you will be very proud of yourself, and you will have added a life-long papercraft skill – and party trick- to your repertoire.

The Fröbel star projects are mostly slight permutations – but, hey - you would not be reading this book if you were not a papercraft geek. The comet is a fun idea. Most of the variations involve trimming the tails in some way, or varying the colours of the paper folding strips. A bit obvious.

So – this title is a pleasant tribute to the papercraft innovations of Friedrich Fröbel. It is suitable for entry level to intermediate papercrafters.