Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I will be attending the OrigamiUSA Convention 2016

At the end of 2015, Regional Arts and Culture Council awarded me funds to help me attend the OrigamiUSA Convention in New York in June 2016!  After 9 years of teaching at Childpeace Montessori and Willowbrook, 100+ library classes, numerous visits to teach at elderly care facilities, correctional facilities and community events, it was a big milestone for me.  For many years I've wanted to attend this big annual convention, but it was expensive to travel all the way to New York from Portland to attend it so I never made it there.  I am so happy and grateful that RACC is giving me financial support to make this trip come true!

This will be my first time to visit New York (or anywhere else in the east coast) and to attend the OUSA Convention so there are a lot of unknowns, and just a thought of being in such a big city intimidates me.  But I am determined to make this trip full of learning, inspirations and fun!  I already signed up not only to attend the convention but also to volunteer as an interpreter and teach my hummingbird model.  Here is what the model looks like:

The hummingbird model as a Christmas ornament

Hummingbird and
sweet pea model (designed by John Blackman)

Hummingbird and flowers (designed by me)

Hummingbird and traditional lily

Are you attending the Convention too?  Please drop a line to let me know if you are!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My New Bathroom Decorations

Over the past year we got our bathroom remodeled.  I absolutely love how it came out to be!  McNearney Construction did an amazing job.  It used to be the least favorite room of the house; I lamented to use the old and not-so-functional room every day for over a dozen years.  But now it's absolutely the best room in the house.  It was worth a long wait.  Still a tiny, one-and-only bathroom in the house, but it has some really cool features like a radiant heated floor, a built-in soap cubby, motion sensing lights at floor/ceiling, a motion sensing flush toilet, and a hidden medicine cabinet that comes out of a dead space.  It is so functional, comfortable, clean and beautiful. 

I love the fact that this small space seems to get ample amount of light for taking photographs.  I have been enjoying taking photos of my origami arts, as well as my flower arrangements in the room for my Instagram page.  Here are some of the photos.

Japanese quince flower arrangement in the soap cubby

Cherry blossoms with an origami vase cover.
I enjoyed ohanami while taking a bath.

Rose petal bath

Japanese quince flower arrangement.
The vase cover is made of origami.

A collage art made ofDouble Pyramid
(model designed by David Donahue).

The Double Pyramid is used as an iPhone stand.
It's nice to have when I want to listen to music while in the bathroom.

Yaezakura (double-layered variety of cherry blossoms)
I picked up during a walk and floated on water.

 Pruned a neighbor's apple tree branches that were
crowding our yard over the fence, just in time of them blooming.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Portland Pride 2015

This is another late post... about Portland Pride in June of 2015.  I usually participate in this annual parade with Rose City Mortgage, but this time I decided to participate only by making these origami accessories in rainbow colors for the people to wear.

Paper balloon choker
Various kinds of modular flowers using
LaFosse & Alexander's Origami Flowers as a reference.
They are made into pins.
Fluted diamond garland
Traditional 16-pointed stars,
made into pendants.
Star Corona by Maria Sinayskaya
made into a pendant and a pin.
Yoshizawa butterfly, rainbow colored by my student
made into a pin
3-minute Kawasaki roses made into a pin and a hairband.
I used ばらの夢折り紙, a gift from the author as a reference.  
It was just as fun to fold these as to parade in this event!  I may have to do this again...

Hina Matsuri, Japanese Dolls Festival at Portland Japanese Garden in 2015

About a year ago, I had an opportunity to offer an origami workshop as a part of the Hina Matsuri event at Portland Japanese Garden.  I know it is an one whole year delay in posting this, but I still wanted to share this special memory on my blog.  (I blame my neglect in posting this entirely on the ease of posting on Instagram and Facebook;)

A camellia flower and the pavilion in the background.
The doll display and the event were held in the pavilion.

Origami Hina Dolls diorama
Origami Hina Dolls greeting card
A part of my display pieces
My student helper teaching some guests

The participating guests made the greeting card version of  hina dolls, like the third photo from the top.  As it was a beautiful spring day there were a lot of visitors at the garden for the event.  Thanks to my fantastic student helper we were able to pull it off.  I was ever so grateful!

The garden is currently under construction for expansion so they didn't have the Hina Matsuri event this year, but I look forward to visiting there once it reopens.  I believe this place is one of the most beautiful places in Portland, and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: LaFosse & Alexander's Origami Jewelry

This is the second book about origami jewelry that came across me.  The first was Origami Jewelry by Ayako Brodek.  While Ms. Brodek's book is filled with feminine and intricate designs, this new Origami Jewelry by LaFosse and Alexander includes bold and striking designs.  Understandably, Ms. Brodek is a woman and Mr. LaFosse and Alexanders are men thus the difference in the same topic.  I very much enjoyed this whole different take on Origami Jewelry.

There are 25 different models that are introduced as "beads," or more like "folded gems" in this book.  They are geometric designs, some of which flat and others three-dimensional.  Some of the 3-D gems have beautiful curbed shapes to them.  As far as I know these designs are all new that had not been published elsewhere.  These gems can turn into earrings or necklaces, and the book explains in details as to how to turn these gems into certain kinds of jewelry that are shown as examples.

As always, LaFosse/Alexander's instructions are very clear and easy to understand, and the book comes with DVD just in case you get lost in diagrams or you prefer to follow video instructions.  For each model, they show the size comparisons between the paper and folded model so you will know what size of paper to use for the size of a folded model that you want.

The book goes into details on how to mount these folded beads, how to connect them and their variations, selecting paper and materials, back-coating to strengthen the paper, cutting and trimming paper to size, and all other details on tools and materials needed for making origami jewelry.

Furthermore, the authors "offer all of the jewel designs present in this book to the public for their unrestricted use, without obtaining any commercial use license or design royalty."  In other words, LaFosse/Alexander are OK with the readers selling jewelries made out of the designs included in this book.  However, you have to be aware that any other original designs by LaFosse/Alexander or by any other origami artists are intellectual properties so if you are to use them for commercial purposes,  you must first obtain permissions.

Here is an earring that I've made out of a design called Wolverine Claw in the book.  I think it looks more like the Eiffel Tower.

I've made an ornament out of another design called Square Rhombus Beads, which is used on the cover of the book as an earring design.  I think a lot of the designs in this book are also great to use as ornaments or garlands.

Lastly, I loved the analogy that the authors made in the book about musical performance and folded art, so I want to share: "Well-chosen paper is the instrument.  If the paper is patterned, the scale of the patterns, colors, and textures will provide tone, and even play their own notes, too.  The design is like the musical composition that provides the strength and substance necessary for durability.  Elegant results demand a careful, heartfelt execution, or a cogent interpretation during your performance.  Refining your folding skills take 'practice, practice, practice' as does playing any musical instrument artfully."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Origami Ikebana by Benjamin John Coleman

"Origami Ikebana" by Benjamin John Coleman is the second product by that author that I am reviewing.  I wrote a review on Coleman's "Origami Bonsai" kit about a year ago (review can be read here).  "Origami Bonsai" is a great product, and Coleman's new book/DVD, "Origami Ikebana" is just what you'd expect based on the last one.

Origami flower sculpture that I made,
using the Origami Bonsai book as reference

Although the actual ikebana and bonsai are two different forms of art, these two products by Coleman cover pretty much the same topic: how to create realistic origami flower sculptures.  However, the Origami Ikebana is a more recent product than the Origami Bonsai so I see a lot of improvements and greater depth in the newer book.

What are the improvements, you may ask?  First of all, there is a wider variety of flower and leaf instructions offered in the new book.  His new book has 8 types of leaf models and 34 types of flower models, whereas the old one had 4 types of leaves and 6 types of flowers.  What's even more exciting is that the author explains how to cut paper into decagon and dodecagon, which allows you to fold 5-petal flower and 6-petal flower respectively.  Previously in Origami Bonsai, every flower model had four petals.  By cutting paper into decagon or dodecagon, each included flower model could have more petals.  This opens up a whole new set of possibilities, and I look forward to not only folding his flower models but also experimenting with decagon and dodecagon for my own models.

Coleman's primrose models that I folded,
out of decagon (5-petal) and dodecagon (6-petal)

Furthermore, the author gives step-by-step detailed instructions with photos on painting leaves and flowers, making base rocks and boulders, painting them, rolling paper for stems and stamens, assembling the parts for a finished sculpture, and even packing it for shipping.  Indeed, it is A LOT more than just an origami instructional book!

To tell the truth, I am usually hesitant to do messy projects so I haven't tried painting paper, making rocks or rolling paper, but his examples in the book all look beautiful so I plan to try it someday.

8 types of leaves (left page)
and an example of flower sculpture (right page)
Pages that show different kinds of flower assemblies
By far, this flower sculpture example is my favorite!

Overall, I am very impressed by both the quality and quantity of the content in Origami Ikebana.  The entire book is filled with beautiful examples, in full-color and even comes with a DVD!  I think that any origami enthusiast would enjoy this book, but especially those who like to go a step further than just folding and to find ways to sculpt the model for a beautiful display, as well as to experiment with their own folding patterns.  If that sounds like what you like to do, this book is for you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: Hokusai & Hiroshige Print Origami Paper

When I first received the Hokusai and Hiroshige print origami paper packs from Tuttle Publishing, I was just too afraid to fold these beautiful arts.  I didn't want to ruin some of Japan's finest arts in history by folding!  I just wanted to keep and admire them, without folding.

But then I started seeing it as a fun challenging opportunity that will help my creativity flourish.  And well… I needed to review the products for Tuttle!   With some help from my origami friends, and inspired by some of the world's foremost origami artists, I came up with several fun ideas.

Here are some things I folded (in order of me folding).  Note: if you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen most of these photos/video clips below.  You could skip to the bottom of this post that's more of a review of this product, which maybe more helpful.

The model below, called Bird Dish, is designed by Jonathan Miller and was taught by Kayo Kurata at the Origami Tanteidan Convention 2014.  It is based on a traditional paper crane but each wing is like a pocket that can hold little trinkets.  I used a Hiroshige print paper with cherry blossoms.

Traditional mass box displaying three geisha ladies by Hokusai.

Sea turtle reflecting the water that he swam in.  This Hiroshige print is called "Whirlpool and Waves at Naruto, Awa Province."

"The Plum by Garden in Kameido" by Hiroshige, turned into a kimono.  The kimono model's designer is Makoto Yamaguchi.

The next three things that I folded are the type of models that flash open and close.  I took short video clips for these models.

The first video clip, below is a model called Origami Flasher, which was designed by Jeremy Shafer and Chris Palmer.  (The instructional video of this model by Mr. Shafer can be found on Youtube: HERE.)  I thought this would be a fun way to present Hokusai's most recognized print of Red Fuji.

The second video clip was of something I folded while experimenting with different kinds of corrugating "V" shapes.  I used another Hokusai print with Mt. Fuji.  

I love the crease pattern of this symmetrical model.

Last but not least, the third video is of "Miura-fold."  In case you are not familiar with Miura ori, it is a folding method developed by a Japanese astrophysicist Koryo Miura.  In this method, a flat surface such as a small sheet of paper is folded into a small area, with repeating crease patterns of parallelograms.   Miura-fold is applied for various uses throughout the world, including maps and solar panel arrays.

The photo below is an one-minute Kawasaki Rose, which took me about 30 times more than it should have.  I used Hiroshige's landscape print with a variety of colors and some texture of waterscape.  This is the only model I folded that isn't showing much of the print, but I like the way it came out.

Another origami kimono, from another Hiroshige's print of a beautiful scenery.

The idea of folding the shape below came to me when I was folding some ornaments.  This generic crease pattern, which starts with the traditional lily base, is geometric and versatile, I love it.  I thought that exhibiting this Hiroshige scenery print with this pattern makes it look like a perspective of a special lens.

I could easily keep folding more out of these paper and share more photos, but the main purpose of this post was to review this product, rather than to exhibit what I've folded.  So I better give you more info that would be helpful, in case you are interested in these products.

Hokusai Prints Origami Paper come in the size of 8 1/4" and 48 sheets.  8 different ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai, including Tsunami and Red Fuji.

Hiroshige Prints Origami Paper comes in the size of 6 3/4 and 48 sheets.  8 different ukiy-e prints of Hiroshige's landscapes and sceneries.

The back side of the paper is solid color that is complementary to the art printed front side.  The paper is thin like a full-color magazine page, but not too glossy or matte.  It's something in between.  It folds without ripping or fading on creases very easily.

Each pack comes with an instructional booklet, but they are not models inspired by the types of prints included.  The booklet is just a generic one that comes with all of Tuttle's origami packs.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with these products.  I grew to love them, even thought I was a little intimidated by what they are at first.  As Japanese and and as an artist I inevitably wanted to pay respect to some of the greatest Japanese artists, Hokusai and Hiroshige.  But I am glad that I found many uses of these prints that bring out the beauties in them.

I see on Tuttle website that there are also other types of old Japanese art print origami paper, including: Geisha, Samurai, and Floating World, all of each come in two different sizes.  Those sound really cool too!