Origami by Jeff Beynon
BOS Booklet No. 27
In a time when it is de rigueur for origami books published today to be marketable to all skill levels of paper folders from the novice to the accomplished all at the same time, where the sample models are reproduced in exotic papers with impossible patterns just for show, and the book coming with its own over-decorated paper usually too small to be of much use, it is very refreshing to see Origami by Jeff Beynon.
Mr. Beynon’s concise booklet is not for everyone. In its appearance, it looks and reads like what we might think of as the author’s private notebook. Upon opening this booklet, I was reminded of a visit my wife and I made years ago to the British Library where we came across the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci.
The folding instructions are telegraphic. They rely upon the reader already having knowledge and experience in making the traditional origami bases: the Preliminary Base, the Fish Base, and the Frog Base among others. A certain adventurous spirit and patience (is that necessary to mention amongst Origamists?) is also required to be able to sit down and decipher the crease patterns – the predominant vehicle of communication to be found in this book.
“Cube 24” (page 9), the model shown on the cover page, seemed like a good place to start. As I found with most models I made from Origami by Jeff Beynon, the finished product is more elegant than what one might have expected.
I made my model from 7 inch squares of Pacon’s Fadeless paper I had cut myself from rolls. I gave myself the challenge to use three different colors for the twenty four modules and arrange them such that each corner displayed all three colors and no two consecutive modules were of the same color.
“4 in 1” (page 24) I found to be particularly clever. It took me awhile to figure this one out. Here we are given just a crease pattern and instructions on how only one fold (a minor one) is to be made by bisecting an angle. There is not one arbitrary (or RAT) fold in the entire model. From this setup, you can make four different models by altering the existing creases from mountain or valley fold resulting in either an “Ornamental Bowl”, a “Four-Legged Stool”, a “3-D Decoration”, or a “Mystery Object” – the resulting shape of which this reviewer is not going to divulge.
When folding a model for the first time, I like to start out with a good size sheet. I folded the “3-D Decoration” from a 300mm square of Duo paper. I admired that the resulting curved surfaces of this model are derived solely from its construction and that nothing is contrived.
The “Lemon Squeezer” was, for me, the pièce de résistance. Folding this model, again conveyed via crease pattern, is very satisfying. The results are really rather unexpected, despite the illustration in the booklet. Once accomplished, it’s a model that can become addictive to fold over and over again, for when you tuck under certain last flaps you see the whole thing take shape in front of your eyes.
A 250mm square of Tant paper gave me the best results. Although the major creases are, as the author points out, derived from the Frog Base, I got the best results by going only as far as the “second squash” before unfolding the base and then individually adding the supplementary folds. Folding the entire Frog Base first, I found, gets you there, but makes for unnecessary creases and confusion.
I’ve always judged an origami book or diagram on whether it’s instructions are sufficient to get you through to a finished model. I could also add that it should do so in a manner respectful of the reader’s intelligence. For me, Origami by Jeff Beynon, admirably fits the bill.