Origami Alfresco (Part the 2nd) : David Mitchell

David’s first edition of this book dates back to 2000 and ten years is a long time in origami, so a reprint is long overdue. The 2nd edition has slightly smaller dimensions than the first, yet more pages, so perhaps it could be described as “revised, expanded and contracted”.

Few authors get the opportunity to revisit earlier books (if only!) so whilst the medium of self-publishing has its pitfalls, this at least is one huge benefit, providing you know when to stop revising! The 29 original models are expanded to 50 and page count from 44 to 136. The designs are divided into discrete sections; Animals/Paper, Inanimate Objects, Double Images, The Sea and Landscapes. These are briefly explained in the “about the designs” section, where we are allowed to see a little of the way into Mitchell’s fascinating mind. Personally, I would have enjoyed reading more in this section, but it’s never easy putting ideas into words!

Never a conventional creator, David (I conjecture) cares little about technique for its own sake, but seeks origami that challenges, warps, intrigues and possibly even confuses. It’s as much about the way the mind works as about how paper can be folded. As in my review of the first edition, I’d make a comparison with the work of Kenneway. It’s fair to say that I also produce work of this nature from time to time – the author and we used to bat many folding ideas back and forth when we were younger men 😉

The diagrams are excellent, as is to be expected. I miss the little black/white “finished model” images used on the first page of each model in the earlier edition. An index would have been simple to add, as would a link/reference to the BOS.  No folder of any modest ability will struggle to reproduce the models, although perfecting some of the “by eye” proportions may take some time.

No Mitchell book would be complete without at least one small conceit, this time it’s coining a new word for what is commonly known as kami paper, calling it “irogami”. According to google, this is an Ipad app to make simple coloured drawings. Still, it may catch on! It also takes a brave man to describe himself on the homepage of his website as a “unique creative talent”, but there’s no arguing that he is a hugely talented creator!

You can buy the book for a cent under $20 from this site and I’d say most people will find something to enjoy and (unusually) to think about within. What more can you ask of a book? I look forward to revisions of his other excellent volumes in the future. Every copy sold of this book will encourage David to do just that.

I’d like to thank the author sincerely for sending me a review copy.