Lillian Oppenheimer

Speaking about the masters and founders of modern origami, one cannot but remember the American god’s origins, Lillian Oppenheimer’s “godmother”, whose centenary of birth was celebrated in 1998.

As they say, there would be no happiness, but misfortune helped. In the thirties of the twentieth century, the daughter Lillian fell ill with meningitis. To entertain the sick girl, Lilian began to stack simple origami figures, their schemes were published in one of her home almanacs, which she wrote out. The daughter recovered, and the figures were postponed indefinitely.

Only in the late fifties, when the children grew up and separated, did Lillian return to his interest in the figures again. Her active nature did not allow her to do what she loved alone, she launched a truly nationwide campaign to promote origami, spoke on radio and television, wrote articles to newspapers and magazines.

It is thanks to her that since 1972 the Museum of Natural History has decorated the Christmas tree with origami figures. A great many people around the world are engaged in origami thanks to her efforts.

In the late sixties, Lillian’s public activity spawned the formation of American and British origami centers, and then influenced the creation of origami centers in other countries: in Italy in Turin and Florence (1977 and 1978), in France (1978), in the Netherlands and Belgium (1979), as well as in Spain in Barcelona (1982).

The intensive origami classes did not interfere with her family life. She was married twice, had three sons and a daughter, who is now trying to develop origami in Israel. Lillian died after a severe heart surgery when she was 93 years old. She was surrounded by 26 grandchildren and 30 grandchildren! The energy of this open women and people around the world, which underlay the development of origami in the United States, still continues to influence the involvement of all new admirers of the art of folding paper figures.

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