Unfolding Origami

Third Thursday Lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 16 January, 2014
6:00pm GMT

David Brill (British Origami Artist)

Every Third Thursday of the month, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures hosts a lecture on a topic related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history. Admission is free and all are welcome. Booking essential. To book a seat email us at or fax 01603 625011 up to two days before the lecture stating your name, number of seats required and a contact number. Unless indicated otherwise the lectures are held at the Norwich Cathedral Hostry (Weston Room), Norwich NR1 4EH. The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Charitable Trust.

Book seat Map

About the Lecture

From its formal beginnings in the early 1700’s, origami (folding paper in Japanese) has progressed from the ceremonial via the symbolic and the recreational, to its highly developed standing today. It is indeed a many-layered intellectual activity, once aptly described as “midway between art and a game”. A number of artists and authors in Japan and the West stimulated its popularity in the 1950’s. Origami can be explored by contrasting some of its many styles: engineering and minimalist, decorative and practical, technological and artistic. In this entertaining lecture, David Brill gives an insight into origami’s rich history by showing some traditional pieces from the past, comparing these with achievements of today’s origami artists and scientists. We’ll even tackle a couple of intriguing designs from this seemingly endless spectrum. He will convey some of his excitement for this art form, which requires only the very simplest raw material.

About the Speaker

David Brill was introduced to origami 60 years ago, when at the age of 5, he learned the traditional flapping bird. David joined the British Origami Society in 1974, and met many other enthusiasts who encouraged him to develop his own designs. He was BOS Chairman from 1995 to 2004. David’s book Brilliant Origami was published in 1996 and sold more than 25000 copies before going out of print 10 years later. David has worked with many styles of origami: the representational (animals, figures, scenes), the geometric (unit constructions), the practical (boxes and containers) and so on. David’s origami work is influenced by his other main artistic activity as an oil painter: in fact, each enriches the other! David has travelled worldwide to share his knowledge of origami at conventions and exhibitions.

Future Lectures

20 February 2014
Garo and the Birth of Alternative Manga
Ryan Holmberg

20 March 2014
Putting Japan into a Pacific Context; Some Ideas from an Anthropologist
Professor Joy Hendry

More information

Become a Friend and receive a complimentary copy of Sir Hugh Cortazzi’s latest book together with a set of Institute’s original greeting cards
Join ‘Friends of the Sainsbury Institute’ and receive a copy of A Miscellany of Japanese Sketch Books and Print Albums, 1840-1912 and a set of greeting cards on the night of the lecture. Copies of the book (£8.00 per copy) and cards (£2.00 each) will be available to purchase on the night.

For more information on Friends of the Sainsbury Institute and how to join, contact Keiko Nishioka at or 01603 597 510, or visit:

Support Us

Add to iCalendar / Add to Google calendar