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Review of Animal Origami for the Enthusiast

Official Review

June 15th, 2016 11:21pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
While not magic in and of itself, origami has been used in various ways by a number of magicians over the years to great effect in performance. The most famous origami creation in magic is most likely Robert Neale’s “Bunny Bill,” an origami creation that turns a bill into a top hat, complete with a rabbit that pops out of it. Many magicians, myself included, have an interest in origami and appreciate the magical nature of the art, which allows one to fold an extraordinary variety of creations, all from a simple square sheet of paper.

Animal Origami for the Enthusiast by John Montroll is a wonderful addition to the lexicon of origami creations. It contains 25 original designs that all follow the strict rules of traditional origami, which use a single square sheet of paper and do not allow for cutting the paper as the model is constructed. The designs are intricate, realistic, complex and include a variety of animals.

In his introduction, Mr. Montroll discusses his desire to take traditional origami designs, which can leave out a lot of detail, and advance and develop the art to create accurate depictions of the subject matter. As part of this goal he developed new folds and techniques, some of which have been adopted by the origami community as a whole. The models taught in this book reflect how far this work has brought him, with astonishingly detailed and realistic creations.

Keep in mind, this book is not for the beginning folder. While the instruction and illustrations are clear, the technique is advanced and the some of the technical concepts are complex and require patience and concentration. Which isn’t to say the designs are impossible to recreate, just that they aren’t easy and will take time and effort to complete.

When I was a child I picked up origami as a hobby and I remember borrowing Animal Origami for the Enthusiast from the library. One day a schoolmate saw me making a complex design and that night I made one for her. The next day when I gave it to her she was a bit disappointed because she didn’t get to see it change from square of paper to beautiful design. It was fascinating to learn that an audience can appreciate simply watching the mundane be transformed into art. There is something inherently magical about origami, and in particular in the beauty of Mr. Montroll’s designs. If you’re a fan of origami and are looking for fascinating, delightful and amazing designs to fold, this book is an excellent resource.

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