I recently had a very friendly email from Mari Michaelis and followed the link to her site in the signature. It reminded me of everything that’s good about the web – enthusiasts like myself and Mari can craft little homes for ourselves where we invite people into our origami worlds.
The site is full of interest – videos, diagrams, images and lots more – the site just oozes with a love of origami and its great to see! Some of the images are simple gif animations showing models as they rotate – a really good idea!
Mari is clearly a major enthusiast and even has a car license plate saying “origami”! She’s a member of the Long Island Folding Enthusiasts (LIFE), for whom I still possess a black t-shirt, over 10 years old, which now, sadly, has a few moth holes in it 😉
As part of a wonderful tour arranged by the delightful Susanne Schmitt, Lord Brill and I were visiting the county hideout out of Ludwig II of Bavaria when we saw a delightful meadow. Gleefully ignoring the “Nicht auf dem rasen betraten” (keep off the grass) signs, we did a passable impression of two magnificent stallions, sporting in the sun. Our German friends were slightly bemused as we rolled down the hill 😉
I just thought you might like to see what the North of England Origami Cultural Attachés get up to whilst abroad…
Back in 2004, Japanese legend Tomoko Fuse was a guest of the BOS. What was the first thing she did? Joined POPPADOM® (People Out Practising Paperfolding And Dining On Masala). Here she is, carefully studying the folding sequence for the club logo.
I’ve known Jens Boll (from Germany) for many years now, having met him at many UK conventions as well as several German ones. He is a genuinely warm and unselfish person, often spending large amounts of convention time helping Silke or Ian with their supplies duties.
In addition, he has the kind of technical folding skills that I can only aspire to. Here’s a photo of a Fujimoto design he folded many examples of at the BOS convention in York. I added the one penny coin for comparison. This one was folded late on Saturday evening, in a room that wasn’t lit very well. I realise practise plays a large part in skill like this, but I just feel some people have a natural gift for it, Jens being one!
I was flicking through some photos from the Masters Of Origami exhibition when I saw one of myself with Mrs Yoshizawa, taken during a flight in an old airliner owned by Red Bull. I’d just given her some issues of the BOS Yoshizawa commemorative magazine for which I’d prepared the cover. It brought back a vivid memory from just after the event had finished.
It was about 11am and I’d made my way to the airport for my trip home. I was sat in the departure lounge when I saw Mrs Yoshizawa and (I believe) her sister struggle in with their baggage. I helped as best I could and we sat for half an hour, folding together and conducting a very halting but equally friendly conversation. Their plane came before mine and I bade them farewell. For some time afterwards, I conjectured on her life after the loss of her husband.
They married in 1956 (a year before I was born!) and whilst I have no first hand knowledge, I can only assume that she lived somewhat in the shadow of her husband’s enormous talent, which would have shaped and defined both their lives. I doubt that she had ever been exposed to such public scrutiny before and in some ways, it had allowed her to blossom and reveal a little more of herself to the origami world. That she was prepared to sit and talk with a male gaijin, half her age, in an airport spoke volumes about her.
Following his death, she has led and sustained the work of the International Origami Society, as well as promoting the work of Yoshizawa sensei internationally. This year saw the 40th convention of the IOS and one hopes they will continue to promote and discuss the extraordinary legacy of Akira Yoshizawa.
For women (presumably) in their eighties to lead active lives is remarkable, but to travel the world in the pursuit of this work is even more so. To see these two tiny, frail women, taking a flight from Austria back to Japan, on their own, was both humbling and inspiring.
Anyone who took up origami during the last 10 or so years may not be familiar with the names of Paulo Mulatinho and Silke Schroder. The rest of us know Paulo as a gifted artist and paper-folding enthusiast who founded Origami Deutschland in 1989 and traveled the world, meeting creative origamists and using his unique talents to promote origami in Germany and beyond.
Silke acted as his creative muse as well as running her own exceptionally well stocked origami store, Viereck Verlag. Paulo stood down as honorary president of OD in 2005 and the couple have kept a remarkably low profile since.
However, plans were being made. Their enthusiasm for, and vision of the beauty of origami has now found fruit in the Origami Gallery, based in their home town of Freising, a few miles north of Munich. They have rented the apartment below their own and transformed it into a superb gallery, presenting exhibitions of creative and artisitic origami work.
Paulo’s natural ability in graphic design means that nothing is spared in presenting origami as it should be, artistically, sensitively and beautifully. I urge you to check out their website www.origami-galerie.deand to invest in the catalogues immediately!
They started with a highly-successful exhibition of the works of Vincent Floderer. They drove to France to collect Vincent’s finest work, brought it back to Freising and mounted the exhibition, entitled “Crumpling”.
Following this have been exhibitions devoted to the work of Annett Deppe, Taro Toriumi und Tomoko Fuse, Ramin Ranzani and the current exhibition, “Confluence” featuring the work of Assia and Dave Brill. For each exhibition, Paulo has produced a superb catalogue of the exhibits, in itself a work of art. You can buy them online from www.viereck-verlag.de.
In my opinion, this is the way to present origami as art – treat it with the respect it deserves and present the finest designs anywhere in the world. I wish we had an Origami Galerie in England…
Thank you so much for sending me your book “World’s Best Origami”! (one of Eric’s designs is in it – Nick) Unfortunately I am not skillful as my brother Eric and unable to fold most of the models you describe in your book.
It’s a pity, but perhaps I’ll progressively succeed folding some of them using your instructions. As an illustration, you will find enclosed my first step, reaching level 1. Maybe Eric is laughing about this, somewhere, considering it’s a joke.