In order to tie my various social media accounts together, I’ve moved to a new URL – www.nickorigami.com – links to the origami.me.uk site should redirect seamlessly, but I suggest altering any bookmarks or links, if you have the time….
I recently passed by the Sheffield Central Library (after an absence of many years) and popped in to see what had changed. Surprisingly enough, very little, it was exactly as I remembered it as a child. How long it will last in the face of current financial pressures remains to be seen, but it brought back many happy memories.
It was here in the early 80s that I discovered origami, whilst working my way through the craft section in search of entertainment. The book I borrowed was by Linda Walker and contained uncredited models mostly by Honda. It was a challenge I really enjoyed and for some time, this was my only origami book.
After I took the subject up seriously, I held several exhibitions and teaching sessions inside the library and always checked 736.9 (the Dewey decimal code for origami) to see if anything new had arrived. In these days, there were relatively few books on the market, unlike today, when the market is saturated with books, mostly mine 😉
I asked the helpdesk if they stocked any of my books and was delighted to see quite a few on the database, although several (including “adult origami”) had not been returned, i.e. they were stolen. I’ve offered to replace some of these. Browsing the shelves, they had one of mine on display and it brought a real glow to my heart. Who would have thought all those years ago that a passing interest would develop into a life-long passion? Libraries are closing all round the country and this is a tragedy, but perhaps a sign of these technological times when all answers are to be found on google or youtube ;(
Sheffield’s trees are being needlessly felled under a secret ‘Streets Ahead’ highway renewal PFI contract, run by Amey on behalf of Sheffield City Council. What is needed is a more considered and expert-led approach to the management and guardianship of the city’s street trees, for the long-term benefit of both residents and the environment.
The Council claim felling is a ‘last resort’ and the contract includes several common, low-cost methods for repairing pavements without felling trees. However, an investigation by the Information Commissioner found that these are not being used, even though they have been paid for. Trees with many decades to live have been destroyed, ignoring the advice of SCC’s own Independent Tree-Panel and maximising Amey’s profits. 5,000+ trees have already gone and another 1,000 are at immediate risk, with a combined value of £60 million. They have recently voted to chop down some trees planted as memorials for fallen soldiers.
As a paper-folder, my relationship with trees is a close one and I’ve always felt that creating small works of art is a better use of paper than the countless other ways in which it is wasted. I’ve been trying to create a design that forms a kind of symbol for the issue, part of the long tradition of political iconography.
Below are JPG instructions and here’s a PDF. Feel free to use it in any way to help publicise this campaign. If I can help in any other way, please get in touch.
Over the years, there have been precious few models design as satirical comments on the world. Why this should be so is perhaps a comment on the reluctance of most people to “get involved with politics”, but it’s a shame, Most serious art-forms have embraced satire for thousands of years.
Of existing examples, Eric Kenneway once made a design showing how Lyndon B Johnson turned into an bomb. He also made a book of folded faces, including highly successful models of Stalin, Nixon, Hitler and Fidel Castro. His natural designs skills and unique vision of origami shine out. Tony O’Hare once made caricatures of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (diagrams here). Daniela Carboni made a representation of Ku Klux Klan members. David Mitchell reminds me of The Mad Fold-In – a feature found on the inside back cover of most Mad magazines since 1964, written and drawn by Al Jaffee. They formed an image, which when pleated inwards formed a satirical comment on people or life.
Juan Gimeno has details of an interesting fold for the of King Louis XVIIIi of France. The Pamphlet was published by J. B. Verzy, around 1814, possibly when he was presented as heir to the French Crown after the final defeat of Napoleon.
David Medina also reminded me of a folding puzzle from the 40’s that turned four pigs into Hitler’s face. There was also a folding toy satirising President Nixon. I can’t think of many others that fit the category. I’ve tried to reflect politics in some of my designs, including the Berlin Wall, refugees and a fold celebrating the Obama victory.
So when the US Presidential election kicked off, I was delighted to see an origami version of the Clinton “H” logo, created by several people following a challenge begun by Meenakshi Mukerji. Several people responded, including Michel himself, Jason Ku, Leong Cheng Chit, Francis Ow and Robert Lang. Mon ami Michel Grand told me of this challenge while we were at a Folding Didactics conference in Badalona and after a few minutes of crumpling paper, I came up with a version using a 7×7 grid. The challenge wasn’t particularly the shape, which is relatively easy to achieve, but to use the paper efficiently. I guess mine will be similar to Robert Lang’s version. This led me to thinking, what about some Trump origami?
Trying to caricature people with paper isn’t easy (which may be why so few designs exist) but I set to and after some experimentation, came up with a design. It seemed to good to be true that when I turned it over, the letter T appeared! The trick was to find something that caricatured, but wasn’t *obviously* offensive, since I wanted the brain-dead Trump supporters to latch on to it and spread the word for me. However, the nose is probably too phallic to get away with this. I haven’t made diagrams, but could do if there was a demand.
I apolgise to any Republican friends I may unknowingly have, but words cannot truly express the contempt I feel for Trump. If I was a Yank, Clinton would be my choice (in the absence of Bernie Sanders). I feel deep sorrow for all those Americans who have lost all faith in the political system, but if you don’t vote, you’re just burying your head in the sand. David Sedaris summed up the choice nicely when he said “you go into a restaurant. The waiter offers you a piece of mouldy old cheese or some sh*t with razor blades in it Which do you choose?”. We have the same issues in the UK and the result was the catastrophic, mindless and fraudulent Brexit campaign, that led the UK to probably the worst decision we have made in several hundred years.
So, do you know of any other political caricatures?
Stop press, check out my #trumpigami page 😉
I was interviewed for this article on mindfullness…
Shocked to see some frightful insults from (ex) friend Nic Terry on his facebook page, in reference to my Bat. Ruddy Frogs!
I’ve finally bitten the bullet and joined instagram. There goes even more of my life!
Michaela Bertsch had an article about her folding work in the Irish Independent. It included some words of wisdom(?) from me 😉
Interesting article in the Telegraph recently, written by Laura Freeman – she rang me up and we spoke for some time about how origami seems to be “on trend” at the moment.
I’ve added the truly wonderful google translate plugin (on the right) – please re-read every post in your own language!