Looking back over the BOS Magazines builds an astonishing picture of the last 50+ years in the history of origami.
The magazine reflects new trends in folding, introduces the active creators of the period, highlights the latest creations, covers events and much more.
The content comes from the members, contributing their thoughts, opinions, reviews, stories, photographs, enthusiasms, articles and responses to articles disagreeing (or even agreeing) with the author.
It doesn’t have to be much, but it all helps, so please support your editor and send them something!!
Tim Ward produced the first ever origami magazine in the UK. It was titled The Origami Monthly and the first edition dated 1st September 1967 comprised British Imperial paper size quarto (8 x10 inch) turned sideways with two pages typed side by side. The resulting 6 visible pages contained text and drawings.
Edition No. 2 was dated October 1967. In his contribution to the article ‘Editors Recollect’ (British Origami 100, June 1983), of the title The Origami Monthly, Tim says “…an absurdly optimistic outlook: one issue per month!” So a few months passed before the now re-titled Origami Art appeared, followed by one further edition.
However, the next one, due in April 1968 did not appear and ultimately Mick Guy produced what was to be the fifth publication, the third Origami Art in September 1968. At the second ever BOS AGM on 2nd November 1968, Iris Walker was appointed the position of editor.
Iris Walker 1 – 45
Joan writes: Nick has asked me to write about Iris Walker who, with the help of a purchased typewriter and second-hand duplicator, managed to publish the first now re-titled British Origami (subtitled The Newsletter of The British Origami Society) later that November and amazingly, between that first edition in November 1968 and the end of 1970, Iris managed to publish 23 editions.. I have all the newsletters from the beginning and have looked at a few that Iris produced.
The first one of hers thanks Tim Ward and Mick Guy for their work on the very first few. There is also news of an exhibition in Tokyo organised by Akira Yoshizawa which asks for models to be sent: information about the AGM that year with guests Florence Temko and Philip Shen; the publishing of Teach Yourself Origami by Robert Harbin and a book review by Eric Kenneway. What a star studded edition!
This was a far harder job than I had as a later editor. The newsletter was typed on stencils and printed with a Gestetner machine, stapled together and sent out to members by Iris. For some reason, over these years the magazine went from half quarto, to full quarto and then to A4. I think the larger formats were because the contents increased and you could no longer fold one of the sizes in half and staple them successfully. Quite a performance! Because of this way of production, there were no diagrams but we were kept informed of what was going on in the world of origami. Iris’s last newsletter was No 45 in 1974.
Ray Bolt 43 – 93
I first became involved in the newsletter (as it was then termed) in the middle of 1973. Iris was doing the whole job – receiving and writing articles, doing drawings, typing onto stencils, duplicating the pages, collating them, addressing and stuffing envelopes and posting them. To relieve Iris of some of the burden I volunteered to take over the duplication and distribution. Duplicating and distribution were very manual tasks (the duplicator was manually operated, not electric) then collate, staple, address, stuff, take to the Post Office, stick on stamps. Iris also wanted to take a break from the editing job so I gradually took over that as well and we edited 43, 44 and 45 together before I was on my own from 46 onward.
It didn’t take long (3 editions actually) before the duplicating machine gave up the ghost and I was forced to find a printer who could get the latest edition out for me. This crisis turned into a blessing in disguise as the printer introduced me to the photo reduction process and in turn this process opened up many design and content possibilities. In the new A5 format we were now able to introduce better quality print, better drawing reproduction, more model instructions, Letraset titles, our first photograph (BO 52) and best of all, for me, no arm aching duplicating on that machine!
Typing was improved from issue 62 by the Society purchasing an electric typewriter for Brian Cole our regular typist (no computers in those days!) and I note that issue 62 was also the first to have a card cover rather than the then usual flimsy bank paper. From the first edition in 1979 (BO74) a contents list was included and the subtitle officially changed from ‘The Newsletter of…’ to ‘The Magazine of…’. And so it went on. In my sign off from the ‘Editors Recollect’ article in British Origami 100, I wrote ‘Here’s to glossy pages and colour photographs.’ It wasn’t long before they appeared.
I thoroughly enjoyed all my time editing the mag. I remember a great deal of satisfaction when the design works well, the content ‘feels’ good and the edition finally goes out.
It was good returning to the Society some 30 years later and seeing the magazine still going strong. The various editors should be congratulated for reaching 300 and thanks must also go to the contributors and others behind the scene who have shown so much support to them. The quality of design and consistency of content does the Society proud. Here’s to the next 100 and beyond.
Paul Jackson 94-117
The four years I spent as editor were intense. Although I’d previously drawn, written and laid out a few BOS Booklets, the Magazine was very different — it was a collaborative effort with a constant stream of deadlines, major and minor.
My strongest memory is every two months taking over for 2-3 days and nights the big table in the shared house where I lived and juggling around and then glueing together by hand many dozens of pieces of text, photos, diagrams, Letrasetted headlines and more, until the contents were made to exactly fit a multiple of four pages, a difficult but hugely satisfying task.
During my tenure I began to make a living with origami. The Council politely suggested I step down to avoid any conflict of interest, which I duly did (how times have chaged – Ed.) . Editing the Magazine was a responsibility and a privilege, that a young guy learned much from.
Joan Homewood 118-183
It is quite a while since I was Editor but I still remember….. I was lucky to have been Editor when so much in origami was expanding. There were some very interesting contributors to the magazine. The most exciting bit was being in contact with the people at the beginning of origami in the West and watching the expansion of original origami; it has expanded since exponentially. Letters and emails came from all parts of the world, from the great and the good in the origami world. Facebook has taken away those lovely letters but still allowed more of us to see the work being done now.
The production of the magazine then went from literally cutting and pasting to the use of computers. At the time I had to teach myself how to use them and to begin with I still had to organise the diagrams and photos around the typed articles. At the end of my long stint as editor, articles came in by email but scanners were just coming in so the diagrams still had to be fixed the old fashioned way. I did have the use of the very good copier that the printer had so that the photos could be organised and inserted onto separate pages. Those of you old enough will have noticed that I overlapped the photos: this was because a printing screen had to be made and each one had to be paid for; when overlapping them, they counted as one! The best bit of the job was that I was able to meet many of the star turns in the early years. But that is another story.
Joan’s first issue was numbered 119, so there were actually 2 issues with this number!
Dave Mitchell 184 – 195
Dave brought a refreshing change of style to the magazine (as every editor should), especially the covers. He liked to challenge the readership. The last issue under his tenure was the first magazine to feature full colour internal photos. The march of progress!
Rick Beech 196 – 208
Rick brought a new approach to the production of our magazine, in that he acted as a collator of contents, which were professionally laid out by the company that printed it.
The Committee 209
Rick stepped down at short notice, so this issue was put together by a small committee of Council members.
Nick Robinson 210 – 241
I took over the job mainly due to a lack of alternative volunteers, but layout is something I enjoy doing. My aim was (and is) to “entertain, educate and inform” and produce the kind of mag that I would enjoy reading. I tried to produce covers that were miniature “works of art” and also to introduce the odd moment of levity.
I persuaded Council to allow a colour cover for the Christmas issue and discovered a postal system that saved us a lot of money, but required us to individually insert a mag into an envelope then add an address sticker and and stamp it, before bundling into the different postal regions, putting in a sack, filling in a lengthy form and taking to the local sorting office.
My biggest “grrr” moment was to see that my successor was allowed to outsource posting completely as well as use colour covers every issue!
Larry Hart 242 – 265
I knew the current editor was standing down, but hadn’t really thought of standing for the editorship myself. when at a convention the discussion came round to maybe only having four magazines a year instead of six! I couldn’t help myself from speaking out and saying ‘that mustn’t happen’, the reply was ‘it may have to’, so I said ‘not happening’ – I was the new editor!
In a very short space of time, I saw things (items/articles) that could be used for the magazine. That’s not to say I thought about the magazine 24/7, but I guess like when you have a blue car – you see loads of blue cars, so the magazine almost has a life of it’s own and influences the way you see things.
For me it was like being the spider in the centre of the web – seeing and affecting what happened. I wasn’t shy about asking for diagrams of a model I’d seen, but as Editor it was about getting permission, so I found I had some gravitas! It’s not just a case of editing the articles that came in, as I often had to ask for items and chase them up as well, but it meant I really put my stamp on the way it all came together. It was a great four years, and if health issues hadn’t got in the way it would have probably of been a fair bit longer.
Dennis Walker 266 – 282
As with any task, there are highs and lows. Lows? A sad, sad number of obituaries during my short tenure. Highs? I always looked forward to seeing what submissions would turn up unexpectedly, sometimes literally, on my doorstep. I particularly enjoyed finding out what fun models had been found, rediscovered or created! This became even more apparent at conventions as I found that now more members would come up to chat to me about the magazine or models that they liked.
I thoroughly enjoyed both meeting more members, the ensuing discussions and impromptu teaching sessions as they shared their latest find. The BOS Magazine has never been just a diagram distribution system and I believe that it should remain that way; a published record of the thoughts and trends and breakthroughs in origami.
Tung Ken Lam 283 – 287
TKL was the editor for a brief period.
Nick Robinson 288 – 307
Stepping up to the plate once more, in the absence of any other coluunteers, I’d hoped it would be just for a year, but it turned out to be a bit longer than that.
It was a job I thoroughly enjoyed, but I was aware that the website was in need of a total update, which was delayed by my magazine duties. Plus, I needed to pay my mortgage and support my 11 children and 6 cats. I was eventually relieved by the delightful and youthful Dennis Walker.
Dennis Walker 308 – 313
Demonstrating just how loyal and committed our members are, Dennis once again stepped in to put the previous editor out of his misery. He too has insisted that this will be a short term measure!
Stephen Hill 314 – now
In Stephen’s own words: I took on the role as editor because I wanted to give something back to the BOS after being welcomed into the society and meeting fellow folders for the first time, something which had a huge impact on my appreciation of origami. I’d been thinking about becoming editor for a number of years, because I’ve decades of experience as a technical author and I’d created in-house magazines as part of my previous job, so I knew that this was something I’d be able to do, and I knew it was something that I’d find rewarding. After Dennis said he was leaving, I finally felt it was time to take on the role myself. So far, it’s been a lot of fun!