Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Paper Flowers, Doilies and the Ship's Wheel
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of circular fold and cut designs in the form of Paper Flowers or Doilies. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

The Paper Doily is still widely used as a craft activity in British primary schools.

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A primitive circular fold and cut design that resembles a flower, although it is called a Candle Ornament, appears in 'The Girl's Own Book' by Lydia Marie Child, which was published by Clark Austin and Co in New York in 1833.

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As far as I know the first appearance of the Paper Doily design is in 'The Girl's Own Toymaker' by Ebenezer and Alice Landells which was published in 1860 by Griffin and Farran in London and Shephard, Clark and Brown in Boston.

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The design also appears in 'Hanky Panky', a book of magical effects, puzzles, recreational mathematics and other amusements, by W H Cremer, Jun, which was published by John Camden Hotten in London in 1872.

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'What Shall We Do Now?, by Edward Verral Lucas and Elizabeth Lucas was published by Frederick A Stokes Company in New York in 1900, contains instructions for making a 'Paper Mat'.

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This effect also appears, under the title 'Fancy Mats' in 'Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was first published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1920.

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The same book includes similar instructions for malking a 'Ship's Wheel'.

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'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922, includes instructions for several complex versions of the Paper Doily intended to be performed as magical effects. One of these is stated to be of Japanese origin.

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Diagrams also appeared in 'Fun with Paperfolding' by William D Murray and Francis J Rigney was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928.

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