Creating Lovely Paper-Flower Dolls – Book Review

Creating Lovely Paper-Flower Dolls – Book Review
Creating Lovely Paper-Flower Dolls: Using Kusudama Folding Techniques to Make 3-D Paper Figures
Published by Japan Publications Trading Co. Ltd / JOIE, 2006

A wonderful book that incorporates doll-making and paper folding, Creating Lovely Paper-Flower Dolls: Using Kusudama Folding Techniques to Make 3-D Paper Figures is one title that paper crafters of all skill levels are sure to appreciate.

The book focuses on the use of the kusudama folding technique to make dolls out of paper. Kusudama actually refers to an ornamental ball that the Japanese use to get rid of negative vibrations in the home; an origami version of this ball uses several basic pieces all folded the same way (which the book simply refers to as kusudama pieces) which are then sewed together into a ball. The same kusudama pieces are used to make the dolls in this book, along with an additional origami piece called the bell-flower. Instructions for these two basic pieces are given in the book, of course, so there's no need to worry if you're new to this.

The book is done in a style typical of Japanese craft books, that is, it's a cross between a magazine and a book. With the exception of the kusudama ball project (a plus for those of you interested in the traditional craft), there are full color photos of the finished projects. Each project also comes with a list of materials, a diagram, and either brief instructions or stepped out black and white photos. The brief instructions are clear enough to understand, although it would have been nice if they were also illustrated. Plus, the black and white photos, while helpful, were of such low contrast at times that it was difficult to see the details. Despite that, however, you shouldn't have any trouble following along.

There are 50 projects to choose from (more actually, considering that some projects consist of pairs of dolls) ranging from simple angels that use three kusudama pieces to a clown that uses 65 pieces.

Worthy of note are the 16 traditional Asian folk doll projects. If you've been saving up your beautiful washi (Japanese paper) for a really special project, you may want to consider these.

Some of the non-Asian folk dolls can hold their own too, particularly the simpler three-piece dolls and those that use pipe-cleaner limbs. The others, however, seem a bit contrived – kusudama pieces for arms, legs and hat all in one doll seems like overkill, making such a doll look rather abstract.

Still, this book is a great find. The techniques you learn here can be used to design your own paper flower dolls, and also utilized for other paper craft projects (kusudama topiaries and paper sculpted art dolls come to mind). If you love origami and doll making, this book is for you.

Note: I bought this book with my own funds and was not compensated for this review in any way.

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