The diagrams to this beautiful and delicate Origami model can be found in the book, Origami Dream World by Toshikazu Kawasaki, page 87 or in the magazine Pajarita Extra 2010 – Sevilla Exhibition, page 45. You can buy also the Kusudama kit for the Cherry Blossom Ball which includes the diagram.
A while back I wrote about 3 beautiful Sakuradama kusudama. You can find the article about Tomoko Fuse’s Sakuradama here. This post is about the Sakuradama, the Cherry Blossom Ball, by Toshikazu Kawasaki. The last one of the three, the President’s Sakuradama – or President’s Cherry Blossom Ball, will be posted in a short while.
Paper and Measurements
This wonderful Sakuradama is put together by 30 units. The units need to be in a ratio of 3:5. If this is your first try with the Sakuradama, then go for bigger sized paper, so you will get a feel for the model. My first Cherry Blossom Ball was made from light pink copy paper which measured 8.91 cm x 14.85 cm/ 3.5 in x 5.8 in. You can cut 4 pieces out of one A4 size paper. It does not matter if you use single colored paper or Kami paper, as only one side shows. The downside of using copy paper is that it is not too flexible and quite thick when creasing multiple layers of paper. My second Sakuradama was made from very thin (almost look-through) Kami paper, which measured 4.5 cm x 7.5 cm/ 1.8 in x 3 in. I have to admit, that I did not like folding this too much. The paper was already so tiny, that it as quite difficult to crease the several layers in the 45 degree angle (one of the last steps). There is no way you can be too accurate to finish that one fold by the 2/3 point of the paper.
The diagram from the book offers two pictures as guides on how to cut 6 or 8 pieces from one 15 cm/ 6 in paper. You can easily figure out your own by using a calculator and knowing the multiplication factor of 0.6/1.6 (depending if you multiply the bigger or smaller number).
The folding of each of the modules involves about 23 steps. It is not too difficult and you will be able to memorize it after probably the second time. The Japanese Origami masters are true geniuses when you think of the steps that are involved to get your paper into it’s final stage. It is always a pleasure to fold it, you can almost compare it to a rhythmic dance. You can test your module by gently pulling on opposite sides, if it will hold it’s shape for assembly.
The assembly is not easy flowing. You don’t need glue or paper clips, but you do need steady hands and patience. It is more or less manageable if you use bigger size paper. But even then you will have slight difficulties when trying to insert the 5th piece for each of the individual flowers. It gets almost impossible if you use small paper, as your fingers are much bigger than the paper flap you will need to insert. I suggest to fold and assemble in stages, so your hands don’t get too tired. I spit the assembly up into 6 stages – which should help you if you are new into assembling kusudama in general.
Assembly Stages for the Sakuradama
1st Stage – 5 modules
Link the 5 units together to create your first individual flower
2nd Stage – 5 modules
Connect to form a chain of three x 5 (will form 3/5 of the next 5 flowers)
3rd Stage – 10 modules
Form the next 5 flowers by adding 2 modules for each.
4th Stage – no modules
Connect to form a chain of three x 5 (will form 4/5 of the next 5 flowers)
5th Stage – 5 modules
Form the next 5 flowers by adding 1 module each
6th Stage – no modules
Form the 12th flower by connecting the 5 loose arms
I usually fold enough modules to reach a stage, then assemble it. Then fold again,… This helps me not to get to tired of folding over and over 30 modules, but also keeps my hands steady for a few minutes each until the stage is finished.
I hope you will have fun folding this beautiful Sakuradama model from one of the great masters of Japanese Origami. I would love to hear from you about your folding experience.