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Blog - Letty McHugh

Origami Workshop


If you’ve been reading the Disability Arts Online blog recently and thinking ‘You know what I miss? Letty McHugh talking about trying to make an installation of 1000 origami boats’ this is the blog post for you, friend.

nine white origami boats with black hand written text that can't be clearly read on them. In the background a noticeboard with notes and postcards that are blurred and unclear

Am I nearly at 1000 yet?

Here are two things for you to get yourself excited about.

1. I am in fact still working on making 1000 origami boats. I recently learned that the biggest navy in the world, in North Korea, has less than 1000 ships, and that feels like relevant information. Progress has been slowed by the pandemic, and a dyslexic brain adding 100 boats that disappeared when the fleet was recounted by someone who can, you know, count. I remain optimistic I will hit 1000 before the end of November 2020

2. I am going to be doing an online event on the Disability Arts Online Instagram teaching you how to make an origami boat if you fancy it, then talking about the story behind the project and how it has developed.

I am very excited about that second thing. You see, 2020 was going to be the year that I launched the participatory phase of Seaworthy Vessel, starting with our event at the Tate Exchange. The idea was to get people to make their own origami boats, folded from paper they had written personal achievements on. I wanted to share the things the project had taught me, about how buoyant humans are, and how good at weathering life’s storms. I wanted to work with a few different places and make a fleet of origami boats in each place. I don’t know if you’ll remember any of this, but some stuff happened in 2020 and it made all those things impossible. (Do I need to say COVID? Is it like I don’t trust you to get the joke if I clarify?)

origami boats made with white paper featuring illegible handwritten text viewed through the slightly frosted wall of a perspex box. A handwritten note with numbers counting up in fives to 300 is stuck on the outside of the box

warning this image contains evidence of rubbish counting.

It felt against the spirit of the project though not to find a way to make a collaborative fleet, after I just spent a year learning about the remarkable ability of ships and people to keep going in inclement conditions, so I thought we could work together to make an online fleet.

I hope you’ll join me on or after the 31st of August and make a boat with me, and maybe share some stories or have a chat in the comments.

(If you are getting a vague feeling of deja vu reading this, don’t worry, I did do an online workshop on the day I would have been doing the Tate Exchange workshop, but I did it without DAO’s excellent technical support so it disappeared forever into the ether. This one will be saved for prosperity. Three cheers for prosperity.)

If you want to come to the workshop prepared you’ll need a square of paper (any size, it just needs to be square) and a desire to watch me living my Blue Peter presenting dreams.

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