Eric pretending a serious response in Zaragoza 2010

Eric leading the charge on the streets of Tokyo, 2004

Eric the joker by Dave Brill

Others have written about Eric’s extraordinary artistry and origami design skills, and of course I agree with and confirm all they have said.

But I should like to recall some of the insane moments we spent together to show Eric the joker.

Charlotte… Join the BOS!

Eric Joisel and I attended the last South East Origami Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2002. At that time I was British Origami Society chairman, and I encouraged US enthusiasts to join the BOS wherever I could, and giving out brochures and other promotional material. Eric teased me about this, saying “Oh, I don’t believe it! Do you ever stop this BOS publicity, Dave?”

For the last night concert, Paul Jackson wrote a spoof origami opera in which the performers included Vincent Floderer (lodger), Romain Chevrier (son), Ruth Anne Bessman (Mother), Dave Brill (father), June Sakamoto (God). We sang our lines in improvised discordant Schoenbergian melodies while Paul 'played' the piano, thumping random keys, to provide the discordant accompaniment. Most of the characters “died” during the performance, both artistically and theatrically, but June in her role resurrected everyone, and of course everyone lived happily ever after.

The 'opera' performance took a mere five minutes in total, but Eric suggested there really should be an interval. He prepared a large placard with the word 'INTERVAL', and half way through, he walked across the stage from right to left showing the placard to the audience. Then he turned the placard over, moving back to the right. The reverse side of the placard carried the words, 'JOIN THE BOS IMMEDIATELY!!!'

Noisy Chinese restaurant diners

I organised the BOS 30th anniversary convention in York in 1997. Star guests were Alfredo Giunta, Michael LaFosse and Akira Yoshizawa.

Anxious to meet the aging Yoshizawa, Eric Joisel also came as an ordinary conventioneer, this being his first exposure to BOS audiences.

Along with him came his fellow countrymen, Alain Georgeot, Patricia Niviere and Veronique Leveque. During the convention weekend, the French party were conspicuous, to say the least! They laughed loudly, heckled and joked at every opportunity: something not common at traditionally serious and conservative BOS meetings.

I invited all the French party to stay at my house on the night after the close of the convention and we dined that evening at a local Chinese restaurant (Eric: 'Restaurant?...that’s a French word…!')

click here to continue

Eric and Dave Brill at SE Origami Festival 2002
and now for a few Joisel media events...
a Joisel media piece
a Joisel media piece
a Joisel media piece
a Joisel media piece
Jonathan (far left) and friends in Tokyo, 1999
Eric folding in Charlotte, NC 2002
To create with a sheet of paper by only folding, will always challenge the majority of us.
To create works that live and breathe will be attained by only the most skilled of us.
But to give them joie de vivre, élan, in grande ballet,
We must look to Eric Joisel
For of course they are all French you know.

Jonathan Baxter