If you're looking for a way to combine your love of paper folding with a passion for unique handmade jewelry, Origami Jewelry by Ayako Brodek shows you how to use folded paper beads and charms to create your own wearable works of art.
Brodek has been practicing origami since she was a child. When traveling to visit her grandparents, her mother showed her how to make origami cranes and boats from candy wrappers so she'd stay busy on the long journey. Thirty years later, she founded OriCraft to introduce people all ages to the joy of practicing origami.
In addition to Origami Jewelry, Brodek is also the author of The New Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques.
Diversity of Projects
Origami Jewelryincludes a wide variety of jewelry project ideas, including both contemporary and traditional looking designs. The designs are organized into five sections: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Japanese. I would have preferred to have the projects organized by difficulty level, but I can see the appeal of a this method of organization because many women do change the jewelry they wear each season.
The beginning of Origami Jewelry includes a "Building Blocks" section that explains how to fold many of the beads that are used throughout the objects featured in the book. This section is especially useful if you want to create your own necklaces or simply design an origami pendant to feature on a metal chain or a ribbon choker. Many of the featured projects also have suggestions for varying the design to create a more customized look.
My favorite projects from the book are the rose brooch and the pinecone necklace. The rose is very realistic looking and I love how the pinecone bead's shape showcases the pretty patterns in your origami paper.
Ease of Use
The folding techniques used to complete the projects in Origami Jewelry are not difficult. If you have past paper folding experience, you'll recognize projects incorporating modified versions of traditional designs such as the origami crane and origami ninja star. However, it is rather tricky to fold these models so your finished project is small enough to be used in a necklace or earrings if you're used to working with larger origami paper. Origami Jewelry offers some tips for making the task easier, but it will take a bit of practice before you can make your own paper beads and charms. (I personally found tweezers and a round toothpick to be very helpful tools for completing my jewelry.)
While traditional origami just requires folded paper and an investment of your time, you will need to have some basic jewelry making supplies in order to complete the projects in Origami Jewelry. You need to be familiar with how to use head pins, bead caps, seed beads, crimp beads, clasps, and beading wire in order to complete your origami jewelry making projects. Origami Jewelry does contain a brief explanation of the techniques used for finishing beaded jewelry, but I would not recommend buying this book unless you've done some jewelry making before or you're willing to do some additional research on a site like About Beadwork if you run into problems.
Quality of Illustrations
Origami Jewelry uses a combination of photos and illustrations to explain how to complete each project. The photos are appealing and the illustrations do a nice job of showing what needs to be done with each step. I especially liked how the illustrations used color coding to make it easier to understand how to assemble some of the more complicated projects, such as the shades of Fall necklace.