Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why I Don't Do Origami

For awhile I thought this was going to be an entry about a total disaster of a day, but in the end things got better and now I'm just going to call it "why I don't do origami."

The lead up to today started a few days ago when I got a note from my boss suggesting that I do a story about a local origami group. The story had been suggested by Will* whose son was a member of the group--and in fact, Sonny had just returned from an origami conference in Singapore. (They have origami conferences? Who knew?)

It sounded like a fun story, so I said yes and we set up a photographer to meet me. I also sent off a note to Ellen, who is in charge of the group, to let her know we were interested in doing the story and was it OK if I came on Saturday. Normally this is just a formality, but it turned out Ellen wasn't so sure. She couldn't give me permission to come until she had spoken with the members of her group, and would get back to me.

Well, Thursday night she wrote to say she was still waiting to hear from 2 people. By now I was thinking we should just postpone the whole project, given that Ellen only had computer access in the evening and could not get back to me until Friday night, by which time it would be too late to cancel the photographer. I called Derrick at home on Thursday night, and at the office on Friday morning and I sent him an e-mail and never heard from him (still haven't).

In the meantime I talked with Will, who laughed and said I should just go ahead and do the story anyway and he was sure it would be OK. But if Ellen really had problems, I didn't want to force this on her. It's not like we were doing an exposé or anything. I tried calling the newspaper editor to find out which photographer was assigned, but she wasn't in and never returned my call either. It was obviously too late to postpone the story.

Besides, I had seen some of Sonny's creations on Flickr and was definitely intrigued.

O-ah5.jpg  (142467 bytes)
(I LOVE the leaf!)

At the appointed time, I drove to the Senior Center to meet the group. Only I couldnt find them. The girl in charge of the Senior Center (a job Paul used to have, by the way), said it was her first day and she didn't know anything. She led me all over the place looking for the group, but all we found was a cooking class and a room with chairs and no table.

By now it was after 1 (the class started at 1) and I decided I must have made a mistake in the location, so came home and checked the e-mail Will had sent Derrick, and yes, I had made a mistake. Only the only information he had provided was the name of the apartment complex and the street. I didn't have a clue where it was. It's a long street.

I tried calling Will, but he wasn't home. His wife gave me directions on how to find the place and in my usual unerring fashion I turned the wrong way and went several blocks out of my way. I finally found the place, which was huge and no sign of any community room. Fortunately, the mother had also given me Sonny's telephone number so I called him and he came out and met me (good thing, because I was about as far away from the community room as you could get at the time!)

When I got there, a man was giving instructions on making something using a big fake dollar bill (he said "my mother told me I should become a lawyer because I'd be dealing with big money"--then, twinkle in his eye, he held out this bigger than life dollar bill and grinned. A little origami humor)

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After he finished what seemed like endless foldings and unfoldings and twistings and turnings, he ended up with this:

O-heart.jpg  (85882 bytes)

(He slips a quarter in the top of it and it becomes a standing heart holding money.)

Ellen demonstrated something called the "rocker," which was so simple she said even I could make it. My structure did rock, but looked very sloppy.

Then a very artistic woman got up and showed how to make the traditional crane. She has made thousands of them, uses them to decorate greetings cards and even makes them using teeny tiny heavy paper, then shellacks them and makes earrings out of them. I tried to follow along, but needed lots of help and my end result was definitely not as god as the little kids who were also making them with her.

THIS is why I don't do origami!!!
Crane.jpg (106594 bytes)

I opted out of the comedian's next lesson, which made a bird-like mouth out of those oversized dollar bills, so he could say that he learned how to make money talk.

In the end, I had no time to interview anybody, but I got names and phone numbers from all of them and I plan to call them and do telephone interviews.

I thought the day was going to be a disaster, but it was actually kind of fun, even if it did only underscore my inability to make tiny paper figures.

*Names changed because I don't want to get into any trouble here!

1 comment:

harrietv said...

Using a library book, I tried to learn something about origami, which I find very beautiful. The first lesson was the "love knot," and to this day it's the only one I can do.

At our favorite Chinese restaurant, a waiter showed my daughters how he made fans out of the linen napkins. I can't do that either.