When I’m submitting proposals for working with the public, health and safety assessments are a typical element. I have a “set text” covering paper-cuts and making sure the nose of any paper planes are suitably blunted, which usually suffices.
However, a recent job highlighted a danger for which I had been blissfully unaware, that of paper bangers. Not the noise, you understand, but the fact that the action of “firing” them requires a violent movement of the arm. Clearly, if some unfortunate child were to walk underneath the arm, it could lead to headaches, concussion, broken (or severed, see right) limbs or even a slow and lingering death. “Who had approved the use of this dangerous form of origami?” I was asked.
Clearly, I need to take my work more seriously and re-evaluate models I had assumed were non-lethal. Please feel free to use the following list of dangers when you work with the public;
strained wrist due to excessive flapping
ligament damage through repeated jumping of frogs
burned fingers caused by over-enthusiastic creasing
lung damage when blowing up frog’s rear end
hair loss due to frustration when folding cuckoo clocks
I have a fascinating weekends work lined up, down in London at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. My mission is to help members of the public build enough paper boats to do a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar!
I’ll be making the larger “flag ships” and teaching people to make smaller ones, using the trad “rectangular boat with sail”. It will be happening both days, starting at 12 and again at 3pm. I hope to see some folders there!?
I started this blog with a clear intention to post something every day. For a while, I succeeded, but of late the rest of my life has become too busy. I thought I’d go off-topic and talk a little about the other love of my life, playing music.
I’ve played guitar for 43 years now, and really ought to be somewhat more skilled, but at least I can express myself. My outlets come in three areas; my classic rock covers band are called Muttley and we play Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Purple & the like. You can see a video of a recent gig here.
I also enjoy jamming with various Sheffield-based musicians, who fall into the loose category of “space rockers”. Much of what we do is pure improvisation, avant-garde, almost jazz.
Lastly, there is my solo performances and composition, which I create running an electric guitar through a variety of delay and looping devices, as well as other obscure signal processors, to produce ambient, improvised pieces. This is as close as I get to actually producing something reasonable unique to myself, where any influences are buried so deep they cannot be easily spotted. Here’s a video from a recent gig.
These various musical endeavours all make great demands on both my time and energy, so origami sometimes has to make way. I hope you understand!
My friend and mentor W. Brown recently showed me a book he’d picked up for the bargain price of 75p in a charity shop. Entitled “The tale of Napkin Rabbit”, it tells the story of errr, a rabbit cunningly made from a napkin. So far so average, I thought. Then he showed me the diagrams at the end showing how to fold said rabbit.
The challenge was to identify the diagrammer / creator of this classic. I had a couple of unsuccesful guesses before Wayne showed me the credits. My flabber has never been so gasted! This person (who shall remain nameless for his credibility, I’ll refer to him as “Seth”) was indeed well known to me (and the rest of the o-world) as an origami artist of the highest order.
Written in 1993, I can only think that “Seth” was down on his uppers and going through a spell where he questioned everything that was good about origami, for this model comes from a very dark place, origamically speaking. An alternative explanation was that he only had about 15 minutes to complete this commission. Judge for yourselves! I’d be fascinated to hear your own guesses as to the identity of “Seth”.
Apologies for lack of recent news, I’m just recoverering from a nasty attack by a computer virus. Anyway, here’s something good and trivial for you.
I used to collect badges and have many hundreds stashed away in a box with some of those “anti-moisture” bags. The mania died of quite a while ago. However, a recent “tidy” of my drawers unveiled a few more recent origami related badges, so here’s a shot of them, to take you down memory lane.
They are; Sheffield ’96 (I hand-made these), Tanteidan ’95 and ’07 (I actually attended in 08), BOS 25th, OUSA ’97 and one of many Mark Kennedy hand-made & lacquered that I’m proud to own. He must have made thousands over the years and given 90% of them away.
Had a delightful surprise yesterday evening, whilst teaching a class of disabled students. One of their parents dropped by with a pan full of curried dahl, some rice, veg pakoras and chapatis! I’ve long been a fan of curry with ori (see the POPPADOM® club) but you don’t expect it in the middle of a class! We quickly adapted our boxes into “pakora-holders” and ate the lot!
At the last mini-meeting in Sheffield, Thea taught us Dave Brill’s “mouse”. I thought it was called a rat, but my memory was playing tricks – we found it in a Paul Jackson classic, “Complete Origami”. We left them on the table for 5 minutes and one of the blighters decided to help himself to mince pie.
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 the days before the internet was invented, 1992 or so, I made it onto German TV whilst a guest of Rene Lucio and Origami München. Having zero German linguistic skills in those days (and only marginally more these days!) I pre-learned a single phrase to impress the presenter, a former Miss World winner. When she asks me “what are you making?” I say “a bird”. See how I confuse the direct and indirect object and she corrects me in front of 20 zillion viewers. Oh how they must have laughed! My tasteful tie was a gift from Mark Kennedy and all in all, I’m a bit of a style icon.
Michael Peters tells me the presenter was called Petra Schürmann and died earlier this year, sad to say.
Pierre Hyvernat wrote to me from France for permission to use some of my plane designs at an event by the Organisation des Origamistes de Rhône-Alpes et d’Ailleurs (OORAA, a French cheer). I know nothing about them, but happily granted their request. Here are some photos from the event. I know little else about it!
You can see the paper planes on the Guardian newspaper website, complete with garish colour schemes. It’s slightly ironic that the plane named after my freundin aus Freising, Silke, has a German cross emblazoned on it…
Somewhat depressingly, my first proper book on paper airplanes is still in print around the world and I got a (very) flat fee of £1200 for it.