Saturday 3 May 2014

Crafting Corner Review: Kusudama Origami - Ekaterina Pavlovich

Crafting Corner is a monthly feature will appear on the blog on the first Saturday of the month and I hope that some of you will join in with me. Crafting Corner is somewhere for us to chat about anything craft related - it can be sewing, painting, drawing, model making, in fact pretty much anything goes. You may want to review crafting books or just talk about any current projects you're working on or things that you'd like to start. I don't really have a set format for these posts so I'm just going to roll with it and see what happens but hopefully some of you will find it interesting and be willing to share what you're working on too. It doesn't matter what day of the month you join in but if you do take part please come leave a link to your post in the comments so that I can check out what you've been creating!

My crafting attempts this month started with a disastrous attempt at modular origami (more about that in the book review below) but ended with the discovery of Zentangle which has become a new obsession that I'm having a LOT of fun with! If you follow me on instagram you'll have already seen some of my zentangle drawings but I think it really deserves a whole post devoted to it so I'll tell you more about it next month. I've included a couple of pictures here just to give you a teaser though.

Anyway, let's get back to that attempt at modular origami with a review of a book I got for review via Netgalley!

Review: Kusudama Origami - Ekaterina Pavlovich

Discover kusudama, a traditional Japanese paper sphere formed by modular origami construction techniques. Kusudama, meaning "medicine ball," originally served as holders for incense or potpourri. Today they're used as decorations or gifts.

This guide presents instructions for over 40 elaborate modular origami figures that range in shape from stars and flowers to kusudamas. Beginning and experienced folders of all ages will appreciate these unusual and eye-catching models.

I have to admit it's been years since I last did any origami but it's something I was always pretty good at and that I spent a lot of time doing when I was younger. I've never tried modular origami before though so when I saw Kusudama Origami available for review on netgalley I jumped at the chance of reading it. Just look at those images on the cover - I couldn't wait to learn how to create them!

Modular origami requires you to make multiple identical pieces and then slot them together to create 3D balls, flowers or stars. This book contains over 40 designs that require you to make anywhere from 12 to 30 pieces before assembling to create models like the images on the cover. You are supposed to be able to slot the parts together without even using glue once you have more experience so all you should need is paper.

I was fooled by the description in the blurb that states "Beginning and experienced folders of all ages will appreciate these unusual and eye-catching models" into thinking that this book would be suitable for beginners but I'm afraid to say that it really, really isn't! I think the instructions on how to fold the individual modules were actually pretty good, there are clear diagrams and there is a whole section at the beginning of the book that shows the different types of folds you will need so you can refer back to that if you're having any problems. There are also beautiful images of what your finished project will look like when (that really should be if!) you manage to put all the pieces together.

I decided to start with the very first project in the book which is called Farandola and has been marked as 1 star (and therefore should be one of the easiest projects). There are options for either 12 or 30 units so I thought I'd start with 12 and perhaps try the 30 piece version afterwards.

This image shows the 12 units I created, the instructions on how to put them together and an image of what the finished design SHOULD look like.

I didn't have any problems creating the 12 units but where the instructions fall down completely is in showing a beginner how to put them together. I actually managed to get the first 4 pieces together but every time I tried to add a 5th piece the whole thing just fell to pieces. The book mentions that beginners may find they need to use glue until they have a little more experience so I took their advice and glued those first 4 parts in place.

The first 4 units glued together

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get a fifth part to fit. I'm not sure if it's because I have those first 4 parts slotted together incorrectly but I spend what felt like FOREVER fiddling around with it and it just wouldn't work.

Considering how time consuming it is to create all the modules required I spent over 3 hours attempting this project and it was one of the most frustrating things I have ever wasted my time on. In fact, the most satisfying part of the whole experience was destroying the pieces!

At this point I was about ready to set fire to the pieces!

I wonder if there are other projects further on in the book that might be easier to create but I'm loathe to spend the time it takes to create all the units needed only to have the same problem slotting them together again. This book could be absolutely fantastic for people who are experienced with modular origami. It certainly has some beautiful looking projects in there that I would LOVE to be able to create but for anyone who has never tried this before I would highly recommend looking elsewhere for a starting point.

Just to prove that I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to origami here is a crane I created in less than 10 minutes after giving up on my attempt at modular origami.

Please note this origami crane is not included in the book. I created this using the directions on the free Origami Instructions website here)

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.



  1. Okay that origami does look complicated lol. I love the zentangles - I'm definitely going to try it at some point!

    My crafting corner is up:-)

    1. I'm sooooooo addicted to drawing zentangles! I just can't stop LOL. That origami book was enough to make me want to throw something! I was reading the ebook on my laptop though so luckily I was able to restrain myself :o)

      *runs off to see what crafty things you've been up to this month*

  2. Wow I absolutely love those drawings they would make fantastic tattoos. I am envious of the patience you must have to try these things. Also the talent. You can go off people you know ;) You know I love you xxx I may hire you for hte library <3

    1. Aww thanks Emma :o) I love you too xxx

      Zentangles are actually surprisingly easy to do & it's very relaxing. You just switch your brain off and let your mind wander. It's pretty addictive once you get started LOL



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