The Lister List

Georgie Davidson’s book “Origami”

Marc Kirschenbaum refers to Eric Kenneway' contribution to Georgie Davidson's book "Origami". I confess that when I wrote my note yesterday I completely overlooked the fact that Eric Kenneway, the great Eric Kenneway, in his own way, one of the greatest of paperfolders, had been employed to draw the diagrams for this book.

It is not something that Eric spoke about much and it was not something he was very proud about. He had been employed to do a job and he did it as well as he was able. When it was done he accepted his payment and tried to forget about the whole lamentable thing.

Eric told how the instructions and sketches he received form the author were utterly confusing and made little sense. He tried to bring everything into order and where it was necessary he adjusted models just to make them foldable. He could not redesign the models, of course, but if it had not been for Eric's contribution, the book would certainly have been less intelligible than it is.

No credit is given to Eric within the book, though his name is mentioned in small print on the front and back flaps of the dust cover. I suppose Eric was relieved that his name was not made more prominent. It was certainly not his book, and its faults should not be attributed to him. I suspect that it was a commission he wished he had never accepted.

As to Ligia Montoya, I believe that she herself used cutting very rarely. I have looked through her "Creche" in Robert Harbin's "Secrets of Origami" and the only cut I can find is a tiny on to make the horns of the sheep. Such a cut has commonly been accepted as one of the exceptions to the rule against cutting.

I have also skimmed through "Homenaje a Ligia Montoya, Papiroflecta" by Teodosio de la Fuente Rios and while there are a few small cuts, they are very infrequent in this large collection. I will be remembered that Ligia Montoya was employed by Dr. Solorzano Sagredo to draw the diagrams for his magnum opus "Papiroflexia Zoomorfica". Dr Solorzano actively advocated cutting (or rather "slashing" along an existing crease.) There is nothing of this sort of thing in Ligia's own work Towards the end of de la Fuente's book there is a dragonfly loosely based on the Kan no mado dragonfly, which uses a hexagon cut into in the middle of each side in order to fold it into a six-pointed star. (Ligia Montoya was the first to decipher the instructions for the dragonfly in the Kan no mado, before the Starr copy came to light. The kan no mado dragonfly used as a start a six-pointed star, itself cut almost to the centre between the points.)

The case of Isao Honda was something very different. He was not an original folder, but a collector of traditional models and a copyist. In his first letter to me, Robert Harbin was very blunt about it. He warned me:"Honda steals Yoshizawa's models". In fact there are models in Honda's books which are very similar to models created by Yoshizawa. Yoshizawa's models were without cuts, but the models by Honda resembling them, often sometimes contained cuts. Honda was not a purist. Honda repeated the same model from one to another of his various books and "World of Origami" summarised them all. It is a pity that Honda virtually cornered the market for English-language books on Origami printed in Japan and marketed throughout the West. Many people had their first introducton to paperfolding through them and it was often their last. Other plagiarists even copied the models he depicted for their own books.

Fortunately, the main stram of Western folding did not follow Honda and you will find few cuts employed by the great Western folders of the sixties and seventies.

David Lister Grimsby, England.

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