Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Origami - Dahlias and Cardinals!

origame dahlia flower

Our fabulous, island library generously offers free lectures, poetry reads, and introductory classes to anyone interested. Thursday, they invited Sonia Wu, of Sarasota, FL, a friend visiting one of the library staff members to teach origami. About a dozen of us, half kids, half adults, showed up.

During the brief class, Sonia taught a geometric form, a simple penguin, and the "flying bird," a version of the crane. Most of the students departed after that, but there were a few of us craving a greater challenge, who stayed to learn:

origami Ishibashi Ball
Ishibashi Ball, made with 6 pieces of 6" origami paper (video tutorial, here),

origami butterfly for Killian design by Michael LaFosse

and Butterfly for Killian, a design from Michael G. LaFosse's book on origami butterflies.

origami flower brooch pin

All during the workshop, I was admiring an origami flower brooch that Sonia was wearing (above). When I mentioned it to her, she promptly GAVE me her pin, and told me she found the instructions for it on the internet. So I Googled "origami flower brooch", scanning zillions of origami flower images until I finally found it, described as a dahlia, here.

Wow, they are so much fun to make, and so cute! I can use them to decorate cards, as ornaments, even as an element in bead embroidery.  Here are a few of the ones I've made so far.

origami Dahlia flowers made with three different sizes of paper

You can see the first one I made, with a 6" square of origami paper, at the top of this post. The three Dahlias above are made with 3", 4", and 2" squares of origami paper (left to right).

origami flower double dahlia brooch made by Robin Atkins

origami flower double dahlia brooch made by Robin Atkins

Above are the show stoppers... double Dahlias, each made with one 6" and one 4" square of origami paper, nestled together, and held to the pin back with a brad!

Just as I was leaving Sonia's class, she showed me an amazing little origami cardinal. Seeing my pleasure in it, she generously gave it to me, along with a few sheets of double-sided (red/black) origami paper, telling me I could find an on-line tutorial for how to make it. Found it here: origami Cardinal.

I'm here to tell you, this is not beginner folding... and it will take making quite a few of them before I can memorize the sequence of folds. While Sonia's was made with 3 inch paper, resulting in a bird just over 2" long, mine is made with 6" paper, for a bird about 4" long. But isn't it adorable? Think Christmas ornament or decoration! Think just leaving one on a table, counter, or shelf when you're at a restaurant, store, or other public place. How fun would that be?!

I did a little origami when I was bedridden for a year, missing the whole of 4th grade because of a kidney infection. I recall making many Chinese Junks, gluing them onto cardboard, and giving them accordian-folded sails on toothpicks. Just for fun, I Googled and found a tutorial for that too! Here it is, if you'd like to give it a try.

Although I probably won't be giving up beading and quilting to take up origami in a serious way, it is waaaay fun to play around with it a little!


  1. How adorable! I loved the little red cardinal.
    Uh oh... I just spent "too long" scouring the interwebs for a pattern for an origami Bluebird of Happiness. :-D))) Luckily, the one I found was easy enough for children. So I MIGHT be able to do it, ha ha.

  2. It's so wonderful how many times one artform will have some blow back into another. Even if you don't quit beading for origami, some time down the road, who knows how the experience could effect you :-)

  3. I think i better start practising now if i want a red cardinal for Christmas. A lovely post to read.

  4. what wonderful flowers. i will have to have a go myself.

  5. Lovely! I do like the geometrical one!


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