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Some personal views

Origami Idols and Ideals of Yesterday and Today
As a young folder in the 70’s I was prevalent in BOS circles in the late 70’s fish and someone rather sneeringly
fascinated by the western origami and 80’s, and convention display tables commented “ Ok, Paul, but what species
engineering masterpieces of the day, e.g. were filled with complex designs of of fish is it, a trout, a salmon, a pike?”
Rhoad’s Elephant, Cerceda’s Moor on decidedly mixed aesthetic value. Many of Paul replied: “Well, it’s just a fish.”
Horseback, Elias’ Moment of Truth. these pieces were thick, being necessarily
At that time, I felt a need to impress, folded from rectangles of foil or tissue-
so that my “public” (mainly family and
friends) would say, “Did you really make
that from just one piece of paper?!

Jackson’s idols were (and I guess still are!)
foil paper, materials I consider hateful Seiryo Takegawa and Philip Shen.
today! The designs showed small regard
either for the qualities of the paper or the It’s interesting to compare these
form and shape of the subject, and far viewpoints and crosscurrents with the
less any real “life.” They were frequently origami styles and creations of leading
contorted in our attempts to be strictly folders today. The engineering style is
accurate, and our belief that we should still very popular, and Robert Lang’s
show every possible detail of our chosen monumental bible for origami designers,
subjects. Hulme’s remarkable vintage “Origami Design Secrets” emphasises
car had a steering wheel and a gear stick, the trend, still clearly attractive to
with a colour change gear knob! Origami young enthusiasts who are ever anxious
seemed then to be a challenge or a puzzle, to impress. It’s apparent that the
not an artistic pursuit. Our idols then terminology which Lang introduced
were the American folders Neal Elias and in ODS, such as “circle packing and
Fred Rohm. rivers”, “uniaxial bases” and “grafting”
has become very fashionable for new
However, at about the same time, a young designers. Lang’s exhaustive research and
sculpture student, Paul Jackson, arrived analytical mind has provided designers
on the BOS scene. A bit of a rebel, he with further tools, such as his computer
was openly critical of this engineering programme Treemaker which is aimed
approach. His style was minimal, and at saving time for those who wish to
his designs were strikingly simple. He design many-limbed creatures from uncut
produced elemental masks, animals and squares.

Paul Jackson, still influential, continues
My first meetings with British creators to expound counter arguments to
of the 70’s such as Martin Wall and Max this engineering style. He says “Dave,
Hulme, who were later to become my the origami world just doesn’t need
friendly rivals, reinforced this attitude. ANOTHER stag beetle!” Jackson
They had a similar outlook, displaying pioneered a style called “one crease”
designs at BOS conventions such as tank some original action models such as while working with art students in
with rotating turret (Wall) and man barking dog, woodpecker, and horse and colleges around England in the mid
on penny-farthing bicycle. (Hulme). rider. Jackson ruffled quite a few BOS ‘90s. Here light and shade playing on
This admiration of complex folding was feathers I recall. He showed a very simple a sculpturally formed sheet are more

Joel Cooper’s highly developed sense of form and artistic vision has broken away from the repetitive restrictions of flat tessellation work. preoccupation with finding innumerable points from a single sheet. mirrored my own early origami obsessions . probably scarcely better informed. Nevertheless. Let’s never forget some of the lessons he showed us: an acute respect for the material. (Victoria and Albert Museum. prompted origami artist can manipulate his subject. I take as an example from another field of art: here’s a detail from The recent work of French master folder the English painter John Constable’s Eric Joisel is noteworthy: his musicians oil sketch. wings and probosces in an obsessive search for accuracy. During a visit to critical observer. So the fine means to explore creative pattern opposite of minimal folding. I realised that his but they are lively and expressive. sci-fi and comic tessellation styles pioneered by Shuzo experiments with crumpling sheets book characters are popular too: this Fujimoto and Chris Palmer. form and inner character of the subject. their legs. London) France a few years ago. His Dinosaurs. Floderer point. by repeatedly doubling the sheet and crumpling it. to be accepted by the is stretched and opened to form a fully with his organic many useable points could I extract from a square? Floderer’s crumpling style.important than minute detail. thanks to developments such as the exploitation of the Elias technique of box-pleating. is however just as analytical and considered as Lang’s engineered showpieces.1810 Floderer’s studio near Brive in south west and figures may border on the kitsch. For me this where innumerable creases are randomly is perhaps because no one knows what style is a bit of a blind alley. a strong sense of shape. However the American Joel the Frenchman Vincent Floderer to having no living example as a reference Cooper has astonished the origami world enter a whole new world. But my origami idol is still Akira Yoshizawa. and the principles very clearly explained by Lang in ODS. over the last few years. though seemingly random and disorganised. The task of including all the “bits” has been made easier now. the and show that Joisel has not allowed preoccupations of many young designers his demonstrated technical skill to east and west. but it is a placed onto a sheet . three-dimensional shape with subtle and expressive detail. There is a growing interest in origami . by outside aids like as Treemaker. and an emphasis on suggestion rather than description. has been for insects with all overpower his artistic sensibilities. dragons.curiously the the subjects actually look like. making. Huge liberties of proportion and with his masks: here a tessellated grid inspires his many “CRIMP” followers form can be taken. antennae. “Willy Lott’s House” c.

showing a lively dog painted with about ten brush strokes. and the movement and poise of the animal are very strongly implied. where the limbs are suggested by subtle sculpture. is it not more challenging to suggest than describe? . Compare this with the energetic horse. In origami design. from Yoshizawa’s series of oriental calendar animals.

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