A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
This page attempts to record what is known about the paperfolding designs of Giuseppe (Peppino) Baggi, who was born in Faenza, Italy. As a young child he discovered a talent for making caricatures and comic sculptures out of scrap materials and turned this talent into a way of making a living, travelling around the world from city to city and seeking work entertaining in nightclubs, at trade shows and on TV etc.
Most of what I know about him comes from articles in newspapers and from his own promotional material. Here are some newspaper cuttings:
Here is what he says of himself in his promotional material:
Here are a few of his creations from wire and scrap materials which illustrate his talent:
At some point he must have learned about origami, experimented with it, and added it to the portfolio of his many creative skills.
The earliest publication of any of his paperfolded designs that I can find is his Santa Claus design (from 3 squares with cuts) which was published in Vol 1, 3 of the Origamian for October 1958.
His work was first used in a subscription advert by Mad magazine in April 1963, and regularly thereafter until September 1968, the last 10 adverts featuring origami designs folded from dollar bills. You can see these adverts here.
He also created the (very simple) designs that featured in 'Folding Paper Masks' by Shari Lewis and Lillian Oppenheimer, which was published by Dutton in New York in 1965.
In September 1969 issue 129 of Mad Magazine featured a 'Mad Origami Zoo of Cliche Creatures', which were folded by, and many probably also designed by, Giuseppi Baggi, from media appropriate to the title of the design.
In 1960 one of his designs featured in another advert, this time for a paper pulp maker. Giuseppe Baggi may have been the first paperfolder to fold designs for use in commercial advertising campaigns.
According to http://www.archivioceramica.com/CERAMISTI/B/Baggi Giuseppe.htm, in 1965 'Giuseppe Baggi, a versatile and singular artist ... won a scholarship in Faenza where, almost sixty years old, he approaches ceramics for the first time proposing his works in paper in clay (origami) applied to vases and sculptures.'
Giuseppe Baggi died in Mexico City in 1972.