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Origami flowers at El Atelier de Santi

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Flores de origami

On one occasion a follower of this website literally commented: “That’s very nice, how is it done?

Flowers are quite a recurring motif in origami, and also as inspiration for more complex, modular origami figures.

But when I started practising folding I quickly learned that the apparent complexity of a flower, with sometimes up to 6 or 8 petals, hides a simple geometrical base. And starting from a Blinz base, and even simpler ones, it is easy to develop something very similar to a beautiful flower. If we also accompany it with coloured or patterned paper, the result will be even more beautiful.

Origami flower models

Origami flower models

From flower base to Blinz base

The bases or basic folds are the initial folds of the paper necessary to obtain 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. points.  These tips give us the possibility of having extremities and/or appendices that will give us more variety and volumetric options for the figure. In this case for petals, leaves, etc.

Ancient origami flower folding diagram

Ancient origami flower folding diagram

This is a photo of a page from the book The World of Paper from the 1940s, inherited from my grandfather. It shows the development of the folding of a flower, the traditional model. And it is expressed by naming the angles and segments, describing the folding process in a very textual way. Still the genius of Akira Yoshisawa Akira had not developed together with Sam Randlett the new explanatory system with lines and symbols in the 50’s. Something that since then facilitated and popularised origami all over the world. Basically broken lines to express a forward fold or valley V type (_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _) and broken lines and dots to express a backward fold or mountain type ^ (_._._._._).

This model of the book flower, and the variants later developed by the masters, starts from the more complex base which Kasahara calls basic fold V. From this base come crabs, arachnids, etc. with five or more appendages.

But Kasahara summarises

But let’s get back to the easy stuff, which is the best place to start.

The basic or elementary folds are, according to the name of master Kasahara, basic folds I, II, III, IV, IVa and V. According to tradition, they correspond to the so-called kite, fish, preliminary, water pump, bird, etc. bases. And there are other variants, such as the Blinz base, pinwheel base, etc.

To give a practical example, I am going to present and explain several bases for flower figures from different masters from whom I learned a lot.

The chrysanthemum

The simplest base for a flower is precisely the so-called flower base. This base is based on the preliminary basic fold. The axes of the square paper are folded forwards (—–) and the diagonals are folded backwards (…….). Same as for the bird base.

This is how to make the preliminary basic fold with a square paper.

This is how to make the preliminary basic fold with a square paper.

Always the dashed lines fold like valleys, and those with dots fold like mountains. In this way the Japanese master Yoshisawa made the diagrams or recipes for folding the figures more understandable and easier.

This is how the preliminary basis is made

This is how the preliminary basis is made

The flower base can be used, among other things, to make a schematic chrysanthemum. The flower base starts from the preliminary basic fold as for the bird base, but folds the flaps backwards, from the closed top corner to the middle of the opposite sides of the flaps.

How the flower is made

How the flower is made

The bird base


Diagram for Basic Fold IV or Bird Base

Diagram for Basic Fold IV or Bird Base

EIn the image above I show a diagram drawn by an amateur (my grandfather) where he explains the development of the base of the bird. It is the most popular as it is the basic fold from which to make the very popular and traditional Japanese crane (here it is called stork), and many other traditional figures.

To sum up

What I have explained in brief is enough to get you started in the art of  origami, and especially to practice making easy flowers to begin with. There will be those who find pleasure in this art and distraction from worries, for like other arts, such as painting, gardening, etc., it helps to find oneself in one’s own paradise.

Tulipanes de origami


For more information;

Costume jewellery and origami in L’Atelier de Santi











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