Florence Temko has the knack of seeing origami like a child. Not for her the ultra-complex crease-pattern challenges, she likes it simple and so you know what you’re going to get with her books, of which there have been hundreds! So here we have the latest entries to her bibliography.

Origami Note Cards
Boxed pack : 22 x 22cms 48 pages plus paper Tuttle Publishing ISBN 0-8048-3880-1
First impressions are that the cardboard packaging is attractive and it would make a good gift. Second impression (upon lifting the lid) is that the contents don’t reflect the size of the box. When you buy food in bags, allowance is requested for “contents settling during transit”, but with packages like this, there’s no such excuse – the package has simply been enlarged to make it appear better value for money. The box is 32mm high, of which 22mm is empty space. I should point out that a) the author has no control over the format of the book and b) almost every other origami publisher is currently doing the same thing. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I like a book to be hard-backed with a spine.

The softback book within this package is “elegantly” slim and comes with 48 sheets of double sided paper. The book begins with ain introduction to greetings cards and a brief history of origami, where the Treemaker software gets name-checked. There’s a section on types of paper and (hallelujah) a section about copyright and use of origami designs, somewhat unexpected in a beginners book. Next come the designs, all of which fall into the simple category, rarely extending past 6 or 7 steps. As the title suggests, the designs are either cards/envelopes or decorations to put on the cards.

Aimed at either younger folders or lovers of really simple designs; the diagrams and text are both simple and unambiguous, reflecting Temko’s long involvement with the subject. Once you accept the misleading packaging, both the book and paper are admirably suitable for the intended audience.

Origami For The Heart
Boxed pack : 22 x 22cms 48 pages plus paper Tuttle Publishing ISBN 0-8048-3879-1
Following a similar format to the previous review, the packaging here is a conventional box where you open one end. Why it doesn’t match the companion “Note Cards” format is a mystery. Once again, you get paper and a slim softback book containing instructions for 16 “fun-to-fold” projects. The introductory text is the same and the models share the same simplistic charm. The diagrams are clear, colourful and you get a colour (sorry, color) photo of the finished project. The illustrator probably wasn’t an experienced folder, since the “fold behind” arrowhead isn’t quite standard, but it’s a minor niggle.

With a UK street price of around £8, I feel these products are at the upper end of their expected price. In a magical world where publishers didn’t try to wring every buck out of a book, I’d have combined both volumes and given them a hard back, included the paper and still sold it at the same price. I also wonder how many people retain the fancy packaging, or simply slide the book between two more substantial volumes and forget it’s there! However, in a world where books need “bigging up” and putting inside boxes in order to sell in sufficient quantities, Temko’s books are always honest and reliable presents to give to anyone who would like to try simple and fun origami.

This review was written before her death.

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