Friday, 13 June 2008


(Click to enlarge image)

John Montroll is a well-known figure in contemporary origami. He has published numerous themed collections of original designs. In the days when internet shopping was still in its infancy and sourcing origami manuals was extremely difficult, his books were always readily available and a good next step for those who were ready to move on from traditional models.

Throughout the 1990s, Montroll maintained a frenetic work rate. At one point it looked like he wouldn’t rest until he had created a paper facsimile of every member of the animal kingdom. In recent years he has slowed down. In his absence origami has moved on and his work has been overshadowed by more sophisticated designs, leaving him slightly undervalued.

While some of his models are dated, Montroll, in his prime, was a tireless innovator of the art. Many of the techniques he developed have entered into the repertoire of the modern origami designer and have been used as the foundations for more complex pieces.

Montroll’s best designs are a joy to fold and possess a wonderful, transparently mathematical logic. They don’t require enormous sheets of paper and can generally be folded fluidly, with none of the stopping and starting and fervent head-scratching that accompanies more complex designs.

This dromedary, while slightly angular, has aged very well. The face neck have a lot of character. Many years ago in the Yemen Republic I used to fold it for the tribesman I met and occasionally travelled with. It made me a lot of friends.

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