Disclaimer: Tuttle Publishing provided a free copy of this book for this review.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Byriah Loper’s “mind-blowing” interlocking modular origami models. I always had no idea how someone could design or fold amazing models like these.
I’m still not sure how he could have possibly designed his models but thanks to the book Mind-Blowing Modular Origami you too can fold many of these incredible creations.
Mind-Blowing Modular Origami is a very nice looking book. It’s nice and big with a cover size of 8.5×11 inches and 96 pages long. The pages are nice and thick and the entire book is in full colour which creates a very beautiful presentation. Overall this feels like quite a high-end book.
The book opens with a bit of a history of modular origami as well as Byriah Loper’s personal history with origami. This is followed by a materials and tips and techniques sections.
The Tips and Techniques section goes into detail about what to expect when attempting to fold these interlocking modular models. You definitely want to read this section first, even if some of it goes over your head at first.
The later models in this book are especially complex and you need a basic understanding of how the wireframes weave together. There are photos but you can’t rely on these completely, especially for the later models.
The next few pages detail all your basic symbols, folds and bases. If you don’t already know al this though you’re probably going to have a very difficult time with the rest of the book.
The last little section of the intro to this book is about the different kinds of platonic solids you’re going to be folding.
The first set of models in Mind-Blowing Modular Origami are a fairly easy to fold collection of kusudamas. The author recommends starting with these models to familiarize yourself with the different 3-dimensional shapes you’ll be folding later.
You’ll find instructions showing how to fold 7 different kusudamas.
The diagrams are very detailed showing how to fold the individual units. There are a few diagrams showing how to assemble the units but you only see the first few steps and have to figure out the rest on your own.
I’m assuming the intention here is for you to learn about the different shapes and then figure out the assembly yourself. Then you’ll have a better understanding of the geometry before moving into the much more complex wireframe models.
In this section you’ll find diagrams to fold the following models:
Triakis Kusudama, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
Vortex Kusudama, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
Excalibur Kusudama, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
I really like the spiral star sort of design all over this one.
Excelsior Kusudama, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This next kusudama is definitely one of the most interesting kusudama designs I’ve seen.
Borealis Kusudama, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This next design isn’t a kusudama exactly but it’s not quite like the wireframe models later and it’s a very cool design.
Curled Sphere, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This is a pretty neat model that only uses 4 sheets of paper.
Saturn Cube, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
After these 7 introductory models you get to the main section of the book, the wireframe models.
This type of origami is relatively new beginning in 1993 with Tom Hull’s five-intersecting tetrahedra. I’ve tried to fold this model before but I can never get the fifth tetrahedra woven in correctly.
Over the next decade or so many other designers such as Robert J. Lang and Daniel Kwan developed new wireframe designs and techniques.
From what I’ve seen Byriah Loper has probably designed the most wireframe models and he’s definitely the master of this kind of origami. This is especially impressive considering his age.
There are twelve very impressive and complicated looking wireframe models to fold here.
Each one has a set of very easy to follow instructions showing how to fold the individual units and then assemble one of the shapes.
This is followed by some very detailed instructions with diagrams and photos showing how to weave all the shapes together. These instructions also explain the geometry behind the designs as well which is a nice addition.
You’ll find instructions for folding the following models:
16 Triangles, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
The models get pretty crazy in this part of the book. This one for example uses 90 individual units!
Cosmos, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
If 90 units wasn’t enough this next one uses 120! That’s a lot of folding and assembly time.
Nebula, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This next model is called Atmosphere or “Six Interlocking Pentagonal Bifrusta”. It has a total of 150 units!
Atmosphere, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This next model is definitely one of my favourites and probably the most unique looking one from this book. The official name is Twenty Interlocking Tetrahedra and it’s folded using 120 units.
K5, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
I also really like this next model, especially the dense centre part. This one sets a new record with 180 individual units to fold and assemble.
Galaxy, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
The official name for this next model is Ten Interlocking Polarly Truncated Triangularly Distorted Dipoles. Byriah Loper suggests that the tiny triangle faces could be enlarged making room to weave in more shapes but I think this one is already more than complicated enough.
Interstellar, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
This next model is officially called Five Interlocking Wrinkled Truncated Tetrahedrically Distorted Skew Rhombic Hexahedra but it goes by the much simpler name of Dark Matter in the book.
Dark Matter, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
Here’s what almost looks like a more complicated version of the Dark Matter wireframe. This one uses 150 units.
Dark Energy, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
Next is another really great looking star-like model made out of shapes called dipyramids.
Aurora, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
The next model is probably my other favourite one in this book. Byriah Loper describes this as the most difficult assembly he’s ever done so it’s not for the faint of heart.
Event Horizon, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
The final model in the author’s own words, “is the most time-consuming project in this book.” This one took almost 30 hours to put together! When it was first constructed it was apparently the largest wireframe model ever made. It has 26 interlocking icosakaipentagonal stars which is where it gets the name Alphabet from.
Alphabet, Designed and Folded by Byriah Loper
Mind Blowing Modular Origami is definitely one of the most interesting origami books I’ve ever seen and I’d highly recommend it. Just know going in that you’re going to have to have some serious origami skills to assemble the later models in the book.
If you’re just starting out with origami then this isn’t the book for you. If you’re already pretty good though, you’re looking for a challenge and you enjoy folding modular origami then you definitely need to get this book.