Doris Lauinger RIP

I can’t recall exactly when I first met Doris, but it would have undoubtedly been at an Origami Deutschland convention, probably in the late 90s. She was quite short and had close-cropped hair, which gave her quite an “elfin” appearance. It’s hard to quantify what it is that makes two people “get on”, but we did and over the years, a close (if necessarily remote) friendship developed. We exchanged emails frequently and I began to make diagrams for some of her designs.

In the origami world, there are the superstar creative folders, who we are generally in awe of, and the vast majority who simply fold and take great pleasure from it. In between these two are a small group who are creative in a more modest way, adapting designs, spreading ideas, making beautiful displays and taking it one step beyond simply folding a model.

Doris was one of these – she followed her own creative muse in origami, generally in the areas of envelopes, wallets, stars and boxes. She took great delight in folding these designs using attractive paper that she found in her home town of Bonn, in Germany.

In 2007 my wife Ali and I were lucky enough to spend some time with Doris at her home. She furnished us with two bicycles from her garage so that we could explore along the banks of the Rhine. We learned that Doris had nursed her husband to the end of his terminal illness and lived alone since then. We joked about trying to find her a boyfriend – she admitted that she had a “thing” about tall Austrians, perhaps even Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Doris had firm opinions and would happily discuss them – she certainly took no nonsense from Englishmen! This made her a very engaging companion – she gave Ali and I a tour of her home town and she pointed out all kinds of historical and architectural features.

Sat round a table folding with Doris was a treat; she had a keen eye for creative options and always thought of the bigger picture, how the finished model would look, rather than obsessing about specific techniques. I published her “Christmas Greetings Card” in my book “World’s Best Origami” and she had several models in British Origami Model Collections, as well as her native “Origami Deutschland” magazine.

I had been exchanging emails about diagramming a design of hers only a few days before the end. This made her sudden death particularly shocking and painful – she had only just come through another long illness and said that she was feeling great.

We will miss her cheerful optimism and her inspired creative touch. Like her other friends, I feel honoured to have known her. I hope to produce a booklet displaying her creative work, if you have any Lauinger designs, please share them with me. Below is the design I was diagramming for her, a typically clever use of a bird base..