Many years ago, I was part of an APA (Amateur Press Alliance) known as FOLD. The idea was we each sent 20 hard copies of our bi-monthly article to a co-ordinator, who then collated them and mailed them back to us. There were no limitations on what we could include, folds, photos, cuttings etc, so we had a regular bulging collection of origami news, diagrams and information, with personal comments to each other covering life (my daughter was born and chroncled within!), death (one of our key contributors talked through his terminal illness, origami and anything else we were enthused about. Everyone’s opinion was respected and we were a true community.
Imagine an extended personal letter between 20 origami enthusiasts and remember, this was before the Internet and email. I don’t think anyone would have the patience these days with the net at our fingertips and software like this blog. And what enthusiasts! Mark Kennedy, Robert Lang, Michael LaFosse, James Sakoda, Florence Temko, Rachel Katz, Joanne Ortman and many others came and went in an ever-changing membership roster. Eventually, it came to an end, but the baton was picked up by people who wanted to join us but found there was no room and so started their own version, called IMAGIRO. I joined that as well!
A rare chance brought Florence Temko, David Lister and myself together at a BOS convention (I can’t remember where or when!) so we posed for this photo, which came out very nicely. I think this was the first and last time I met Florence in person, but David, of course, has been to many conventions since then! How young we all looked (well, I did, modestly displaying my latest mask 😉
I’ve known Iris since my first convention in 1984, when she introduced herself and took me on a guided tour of the convention, introducing me to all the celebrities! She has been a firm friend ever since and I’ve seen her helping out in her own quiet way at every convention she attends. I once complained to her of a headache and she wheeled me into a darkened room and gave me a neck massage!
The train she caught home invariably went through my home town of Sheffield, so we spent many hours together coming home after conventions and they were never dull! She has been a long-standing Council member, president of the BOS and is currently a vice president as well as an honorary member. She deserves no less!
Only a few people seem to know her creative contribution to origami. Back in the 1960s she was creating helicopters, cannons, flexagons (in Kenneways “Origami In Action“) and 3D cars with wheels (in my self-published and hand-drawn “One Dozen Folds“). She beat Fred Rohm to making the first 4-link chain!
Whilst less active these days, her love of any kind of puzzle is as strong as ever. She lives a widow in Hull and retaining her love for folding in that origami desert can’t be easy. She is in her 80’s and still fiercely independant, walking a mile a day to keep fit. She travels many hundreds of miles to conventions, yet has time and energy for all when she arrives.
I have taken a lot of photos of her, but this one from the recent York convention perhaps captures her spirit better than the others. If you see her at a convention, please ask about the “olden days”, she has a deep and possibly unique well of knowledge about origami – have a look at Elias’ original diagrams – you’ll see a small “IW” on many, indicating she was on his mailing list at the time. We are indeed fortunate to have her!
Just back from the BOS York convention. Ahead of a fuller review, here’s a nice pic of our special guest, Róman Díaz. It turns out he’s a huge fan of the Irish singing (?) group “The Nolans” and was delighted when he picked up this LP, long out of print in Uruguay.
My brother Simon took this shot in Bristol 2009
An amazing photo of Robert Harbin in action…