…which is a traditional symbol of ‘good luck’ at weddings. He
enjoyed doing that so much that he began to learn more about Origami.
He was fascinated by the complexity and geometrical aspects of Origami and
paper folding in general and became an accomplished practitioner of the art
of Origami. After some persuasion my sister got Mr. Hamamoto to agree to
give her lessons and they are now good friends and fold together on a
Over the years I have had several conversations with my sister about the
mathematical basis for folding and how this aspect of Origami has developed
along side of the amazing expansion of objects created out of folded paper
beyond the traditional forms of historical Origami. Many people are
surprised that there are so many mathematicians, engineers and scientists
interested in Origami. The world of folded objects is quite extensive in
art and science. During one of my trips to visit my sister she very kindly
invited Mr. Hamamoto and his wife to lunch. They arrived with a large box
and after introductions Mr. Hamamoto began to take items out and tell me
about how they were made. Because of our shared technical background we had
a common way to talk about his creations even though I do not do Origami.
To be with someone so skilled and passionate about his art made for a
When it came time for the Hamamotos
to leave they began to go without taking their box of folded treasures.
When my sister and I started after them with the box Mr. Hamamoto turned
and simply said, “You keep those.” We tried to say that we could not do
that and then Mrs Hamamoto said, “Oh you must keep them, please! We have no
room in our house to move around! All Joe does all day long is fold paper!”
And so, here they are on Lummi Island.
Bill Lee, interview, 11/18/13