Mark Plant
3/12/1955 - 12/11/2018

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Mark Plant

The tribute below to Mark Plant by then BOS Chair Tony O'Hare appeared in BOS Magazine #314 - February 2019. This magazine is available to download from the BOS website :

"Mark Plant passed away suddenly on 12th November 2018. Mark was just a few years older than me, of the same generation inspired to fold paper by Robert Harbin and Rupert Bear! Mark first joined the BOS in 1970, so has been a member for much of the duration of the BOS itself.

Mark was known locally – at work, socially & at home – as “Origami Mark”, and his email address reflected this. Origami can for many people be a solitary activity – get an origami book and a pack of paper, hide yourself away and work your way through the book until you’ve folded every model in it. Mark told me many years ago about him setting himself up in the corner of a pub, and customers coming over to him doing origami, and ending up making origami models to order, never having to buy a drink all night. Result!

So, Mark was a social folder, and became a regular at BOS conventions, where we too have a tradition of “folding in the bar” – get yourself a drink, join a group round a table and someone starts teaching a model to those around. Then you get another drink, fold some more, and repeat this a few times…. Mark was one of the “late into the night” folders at the conventions – often having to finish some fiendishly difficult fold before dragging himself off to bed. His last BOS convention was the society’s 50th anniversary convention in Stratford on Avon last September.

In more recent years I have been friends with Mark on Facebook, and followed his posts about various items, domestic and origami-related! Mark was also on the list of BOS members who did private “commissions” and used to take up the challenge when companies wanted origami to promote their products or someone wanted a demo for a corporate or public event – fold 500 animals for a mailshot, do a demo at a Japanese themed event etc. When Mark retired from work - just over a year ago - he also expressed an interest in teaching origami as an entertainer on cruise ships – running workshops while the ship is at sea, maybe themed around the places you are due to visit. He asked my advice and any tips I could give him, and decided to go for it. I know he was hugely looking forward to his first cruise - a 3 week trip to Brazil – and I’m sure would have had a great time, when unfortunately he had his heart attack.

I had the honour to attend the memorial service to Mark, held at Greenacres Woodland Burials in Epping Forest, a beautiful setting close to Mark’s home in Ilford, Essex, and some of this article is reproduced from my tribute to Mark on the day. In conversation with Mark’s daughter, Phoebe, we thought it also would be nice to do some origami as part of the service. So, I taught the attendees a “heart note” fold that I originally leaned from Stephen Biddle at a public session in Plymouth while I was living down there in the early 1990’s, and has remained one of my favourite folds since.

Like many of my “origami friends”, I never really got to know that much about Mark’s private life – you meet up to fold paper – and maybe have the odd bit of chat about your home or work life. I learned a great deal more about Mark’s private life at the service, and afterwards speaking to Mark’s friends and family – son Stacy, daughter Phoebe, and sister Marie, and even had another origami session before heading home! And, yes, there is a life outside origami!

Mark will be missed by all his origami friends. Nick Robinson has set up a page on the BOS website for tributes to Mark. From this page you can also make donations to chosen charities in Mark’s honour. There is a great photo on that page and reproduced above of Mark adorned with various origami models - including a Norminton Daffodil & Kawasaki Rose and various animals & birds, which sums up “Origami Mark”."

Tony O’Hare, BOS Chair

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