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Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs

Eric Gjerde
A K Peters
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Sarah Boslaugh
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If Eric Gjerde’s new book Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs needed an alternative title, it might be: Origami: It’s not just for kids any more! Of course origami has never been just for kids, but this book should convince you that you can create some great art using origami techniques (and it’s a great outlet for the artistically-inclined who don’t have skill in drawing or painting, as Mr. Gjerde says he does not). This book may also capture the interest of artistic but math-phobic students by showing them a creative use for all that geometry they had to do in school.

Origami Tessellations begins by explaining what tessellation figures are, some common tilings, and the naming convention to describe them. Gjerde then describes different types of papers suitable for origami and basic techniques, including precreasing, making pleat intersections, and making twists. This section is well-illustrated with diagrams demonstrating the different techniques and by many photographs of Islamic architecture illustrating the use of tessellation figures.

This section is followed by descriptions of 25 origami projects, each including a diagram of the folds required, step-by-step instructions, and photographs of the final product as well as intermediate stages. The projects are graded as beginner, intermediate and advanced, but “beginner” should be interpreted as someone who has previous experience with origami or a strong interest in learning about it, because even the simplest projects include a lot of steps and demand precise folding. But for someone who enjoys doing origami and wants to try some complex projects, the directions are very clear and the photographs of the finished work should serve as an inspiration.

The final section of Origami Tessellations presents a gallery of original art by various artists, demonstrating that there are no limits to what you can do with these techniques. The works on display include a Jasper Johns-like American flag, a mask which looks almost like it was carved from wood, and an in-the-round fish, as well as many variations on squares, rectangles, and hexagons.

Eric Gjerde is a technology professional and paper artist in Minneapolis. You can see more of his work at

Sarah Boslaugh, ( is a Performance Review Analyst for BJC HealthCare and an Adjunct Instructor in the Washington University School of Medicine, both in St. Louis, MO. Her books include An Intermediate Guide to SPSS Programming: Using Syntax for Data Management (Sage, 2004), Secondary Data Sources for Public Health: A Practical Guide (Cambridge, 2007), and Statistics in a Nutshell (with Paul Watters; O'Reilly, 2008), and she served as Editor-in-Chief for The Encyclopedia of Epidemiology (Sage, 2008).


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