Origami Boxes / Airplanes : Florence Temko

A4ish, 64 pages, softback, Tuttle Publishing ISBN 0- 8048-3495-4 (boxes) 0-8048-3496-2 (planes)

Florence Temko is a wonder. She has sold over 2.5 million craft books, many of the origami. As well as being a founder member of Origami USA, she has taught origami in 31 countries around the world and made countless TV appearances. Despite advancing years, her output and enthusiasm are undiminished.

I approached these books with a bit of trepidation. Tuttle may have a well established name, but they still sell the Sakade books, first published in 1957. The fact that these books, which passed their sell-by date over 30 years ago, are still being marketed for the modern day (and listed as “published July 2002” on the website) indicates their desire for sales overrides quality. However, good news. As well as the recentish LaFosse series (which doesn’t seem to be readily available in UK bookshops), Temko’s new series include everything the Sakade books lack.

The diagrams, whilst hastily drawn, (please round the joins/ mitres in future!) are clear and use modern terminology – none of the Sakade “place HF along GH”. The pages are clear, bright and colourful. Each book has sections on techniques, cutting squares, helpful tips, an origami FAQ (great idea!), how to teach others, where do models originate, copyright and contact details for societies. In short, all the areas that many lesser origami books skirt around.

The designs too are carefully chosen (and credited) and include many modern designs as well as the usual classics. One of these may surprise many BOS readers, it’s “Four Thirsty Birds” by none other than David Lister! The airplanes book also has a mixture of designs. As someone not unfamiliar with paper airplanes, I was delighted to discover several that were new to me, including an excellent “fighter plane”.

Later on in this book, you learn how to make an airport, design your own planes and hold contests. In summary, these books represent an excellent themed introduction to origami, with lots of stimulating ideas and techniques. In addition, they address important ideas such as copyright and creativity. Florence has made significant new additions to her impressive library of origami books. Long may she continue!

This review was written before her death.