We went to London because I wanted to go to a mini-meeting of the British Origami Society one day, and there was an exhibition about paper in the city.
We left Schiphol on friday morning, very early, 6:45. We flew in a very small airplane (50 seats) to London City Airport. Then with the bus and subway to South Kensington, in the vicinity of the origami-bookshop Bookends. It was a quarter to 9 and the shops weren't open until 9:30. So we took an English breakfast first. Scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, toast. I love it when I'm in England, but I wouldn't think of it at home. I would be much too fat if I ate that every day.
After breakfast we walked to the other end of Exhibition Street, just to find out that the bookshop wasn't there... but it was very close to where we had breakfast! Oh well, at least it was open and we burned some of the fat of the breakfast.
In the bookshop there were two bookcases with origami books. I looked at every one, but because I just ordered so many books on the internet, I just left them there... The two books I was interested in to look at, the books of Jeremy Shafer and Rick Beech, weren't there at that moment. In the basement they had origami-paper, and I bought a package to practice with, 9"x9", both sides the same color, strong and thin.
We asked the booksalesman if he knew where the exhibition "On paper" was held. Of course, I should have brought that information with me, it was the main reason why we were in London! But you know how it goes, the most important things you forget sometimes.
He said the exhibition was in the Design & Business Centre, near the Angel subway station.
After another ride with the subway, we emerged from Angel Station and there were already signs for the Design & Business Centre. It was very crowded inside and there was another exposition, about new design.
We were asked for our tickets, and we said "tickets?". The exhibition "On paper" wasn't there but the man was very helpful and phoned to a central exhibition information centre. No information about "On paper"!
We phoned Steve Brown and asked him where the exhibition was. It appeared to be in the Crafts Council, fortunately also very near Angel Station.
And yes, there it was, the Crafts Council with the exhibition!
We went inside and I was amazed. The origami-section was superb, but that was not all.
There was a leather jacket, not distinguisable from a real jacket. But the sign said it was made from paper and arcrylic paint. How is that possible?
And, also made by Jon Atkinson, a piece of soil with dandelions and a bee. Only when you approached it to about 10cm, you could see it wasn't real. There were even some brown and yellow leafs.
Karin Muhlert made objects from rolls of paper, by shifting the paper from the roll sideways. She got very organic forms out of that.
And Penny Burnfield has been busy with the sewing machine and sewed pieces of paper together, much like witches' staircases.
Susan Cutts made I think about a twohundred the same high heeled shoes from white paper. And they stood there, in a neat rectangle. Beautiful!
Then there was the next room. At the end was the origami-section. Behind glass there was the work of Akira Yoshizawa, and it was great. I only have seen his work in books, and never for real. And I looked my eyes out. The tumbling man was so comical, and how he managed to balance them all without tumbling over. Also the gorrilla's, swans and the mammoth were great to look at. In another space there was the foundation of Rome, Romulus and Remus drinking milk from a wolf and on the wall there were some masks.
Furthermore there was work of Vincent Floderer, and this was also the first I saw made by him. He's such a neat crumbler! And, to show he could fold the 'normal' way as well, there were a couple of bugs in a frame.
And there were two wallpieces, made from a roll of kraftpaper, first scratched with some kind of pastels I think. These were folded by Jean-Claude Correia and it was the first time I ever heard from him. David Lister wrote that he doesn't call it origami, but in my opinion, it is.
The work of Tomoko Fuse was different from the pictures in the catalogue, there were about twenty boxes, very neat folded. When I fold boxes created by her, I always get a hole in the centre. But in the boxes folded by her, I couldn't spot a hole in the centre.
And there was a large modular thing, made from over 800 triangular units. It were spheres, joined by cylinders. Very intriguing.
Then there was the work of Paul Jackson. From his hand I saw only one piece before, in Veldhoven last April. But these forms were different. The paper he used looked like it was grown with mildew. He pleated the paper and locked it at the top. Fortunately I had a piece of paper with me, and I found out how he did it.
Furthermore there were some folded books, the result is very pleasing. And there was a white pillar to the ceiling, with symmetric curved lines.
And some handmade pieces of paper, hanging in the air beneath each other, so that you could look through. And, this was more like sculpturing I guess, someone had pasted many papers together and, like a woodcarver, made round shapes out of this.
And there was more....
After the exhibition, Gerard had given up an hour before me, I bought a catalogue and with a sigh we left for St. Paul's Cathedral. We heard there was a Japanese shop nearby. We found out that the shop was broken down and after about half an hour relaxing in the backyard of the church it was time to go to Monument, were we met Steve Brown.
He took us to the other side of the Thames, to the new wharfs where we had a wonderful early dinner. After dinner Steve took us further into the wharfes, because not long ago he was there at a museum about the Thames, and every visitor was asked to fold a boat. Unfortunately we couldn't find the museum again. Via the Tower Bridge we went to the Canary Wharf Lightrail and enjoyed the view while traveling to the house of Steve.
He lived in a street with all the same houses, all of them with a bow window. I think that looks joyful. In Holland not so much houses have bow windows.
We talked a bit about origami, walking and astronomy. Coincidently we also have these three interests. Then we unpacked our sleeping gear and slept on the floor of the livingroom until the next day.
After breakfast Gerard and I went to Oxford street. It was nice being there again after I guess about 10 years. We went to a MUJI-shop and found to our surprise very cheap origami paper there. So I bought a bunch of it.
We also wanted to go to the serpentine in Hyde Park, to look at a pavillion there. Tung Ken Lam had written me that it resembles an origami-structure (http://www.serpentinegallery.org/pavilion.html). When we got to Hyde Park, there were a lot of people there and there was a big fence. What it was? Pavarotti in concert! So much for Hyde Park!
The B.O.S. mini meeting
We went quick into the subway to Bakerstreet, for the mini-meeting. It was held in the Japan-house, on the perimeter of Regent's Park. It was one of the big buildings with pillars in front, very chic.
We went to the basement, where the meeting room was were the mini-meeting took place.
Steve Brown, Julian, a woman who came for the first time, and Robin Glynn were already there.Robin gave me diagrams of two of his newest models, to test them if they are correct and clear.
We waited a bit until more people would arrive. Koichi from Japan arrived, who was in London for a short time. It was also for him the first time at a mini-meeting. Then there was a Colombian boy, Andres Fernando Sanches, who was here on holidays. And Tung Ken Lam.
At half past two Steve began to teach a mouth, a model of Eric Kenneway from one of the old convention-books. During this, Liz Williams and Sue Pope came in.
After that someone said he wanted to lean the sphere I had brought with me.
So I taught that. It was pretty difficult to teach, but I think everyone managed to make the sprinkler sphere from 15 units. We looked at pictures brought with them by Tung Ken and Andres Fernando, and we looked at the models Andres brought with him. He had folded (designed?) a swiss-army knife and an alien. And he had met Jeremy Shafer at the Colombian Convention.
He also brought a flasher hat he made. I thought it was an amazing model. I've only seen it on the internet, but now I saw one for real (this was for me the trigger to make one myself when I was at home again).
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Andres tought a ring with a heart. He said: it's a simple model! And relative to the complex stuff he brought with him, it was a simple heart-ring. But I thought it was pretty intermediate.
The group fell a bit apart in different little groups.
Robin Glynn was folding from the convention-books Steve had brought,
I tought to a few people how the kids in Spain learn the pajarita from their mothers, a very different and much easier way than how I learned to fold the pajarita. I learned a model called UFO from Sue and looked at the new designs of Tung Ken, not yet completely ready. Tung Ken learned us to fold a hand, it was so beautiful and simple!
The time flew, and when we left, it was already half past seven. Everybody went home and Steve, Gerard and I went for a pizza. I had a little headache, so I was happy to go to bed early.
The next day we after packing we said goodbye to Steve and went to the airport again. In the plane I folded one of the models by Robin, and tried to find some mistakes in the drawings, without luck. Well done, Robin!
Many thanks to everyone who helped us making this an unforgettable weekend!