Review: Origami For Teachers Volume One

Authors: Ilan Garibi and Dáša Ševerová
Number of pages: 139
Price: £15.90
Available: Amazon

As somebody who regularly teaches origami to students both young and old I’m always excited to check out new books on the subject, especially when the authors have a high reputation. In the introductory section Origami is listed as providing cognitive benefits including translating a two- dimensional drawing into a three-dimensional object, improving motor skills and developmental and emotional benefits, including the experience of success to raise self-confidence. It also includes the familiar mantra about never touching

Whilst it’s clearly best for a student to follow the instructions without intervention, most classes are far from an ideal learning environment, being both busy in terms of student numbers and time limited. I find that demonstrating the move then unfolding it for the student to repeat is not only practical but often necessary. The “golden rules of folding” follow, along with basic folds, origami bases and a guide to reading diagrams. Interestingly, they suggest the natural tendency is to fold forwards (away from you) whereas I found most of my younger students begin by folding towards themselves until I explained the benefits of folding “away”.

Next comes a list of basic teaching techniques including ideas for demonstration dealing with students of different abilities, building your language choice of models then comes 10 commandments of teaching origami, again including “do not touch”. The there is a series of lessons including topics objectives, time needed, type of activity and so forth. Not for the first time I found some of the (translated?) language slightly unusual – phrases like “needed knowledge” sound slightly strange to my ears, although the meaning is perfectly clear. The diagrams are excellent and have nice 3D elements to them, QR codes are also given leading to videos of extra designs. Other lessons in this section include modular projects and boxes. Subsequent lessons come under the banner of “art design and creativity” and cover diverse topics including Froebel’s folds of beauty, creating a set of folds representing MC Escher’s “typeface”, the Bauhaus movement, designing a cup and a cake mould, then a Table Lamp and modular rings. A closing appendix offers more online resources, printables, videos and a link to a Facebook discussion group for readers of the book.

It’s an ambitious project and a great deal of thought has been put into the contents. Experienced teachers will undoubtedly find much that they can take into the classroom and throughout, every effort has been made to broaden the scope of the book – it is far from a selection of models to teach. The diagrams are excellent but sadly the printing process means that the photography lacks clarity and definition. I also think the cover is somewhat downbeat – academic books are not renowned for commercial aesthetics, but a more colourful image would surely help it reach a wider audience. I recommend this book to anyone interested in teaching origami and look forward to volume 2!