The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Paperfolding of Thoki Yenn
 

Introduction

Thorkild Søndergaard Jensen, usually known as Thoki Yenn, was born in Randers, Denmark on January 13, 1919 and died on February 22, 2004. He was a multi-talented magician as well as a graphic artist who worked in films and on television.

There is quite a bit of biographical information scattered around Thoki Yenn's website, The Clouds of Thoki Yenn, which is preserved by the British Origami Society, but the extent to which it can be trusted is not clear. I have tried to place the information in chronological order here:

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Chronology

1946

According to information on Thoki Yenn's archived website (see above): (The picture can be seen on the website)

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1952

Thoki Yenn was the illustrator of 'With Francis in Magicland' by Frances Ireland, which was published by The Ireland Magic Company, Chicago, in 1952.

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1956

The introduction to Robert Harbin's book 'Paper Magic', published in 1956, contains a reference to Thorki Yenn (sic):

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According to Imdb, Thok Søndergaard is credited as a cast member (role unknown) in the 1956 film 'Evighedsklokkerne'.

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1958

Thoki Yenn's archived website (see above) mentions that he met Lillian Oppenheimer in Copenhagen in this year, presumably around April when Lillian normally went to London to see her daughter Rosalie.

On 27th June 1958 Meyer Berger's 'About New York' column in the New York Times featured Lillian Oppenheimer and her love of paperfolding. The column was titled 'Origami, the Ancient Art of Paper-Folding, has Gramercy Square Disciple.' It mentions Thoky Yen (sic):

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In Vol 1, Issue 2 of the Origamian, which was published in November 1958, there is a list of the people Lillian Oppenheimer has made 'Honorary Members' of the Origami Center, which includes, inter alia, the name Thok Sondergaard.

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1960

Thoki Yenn created and animated 26 short episodes of the children's stop motion TV series 'Snip and Snap', Snip being a pair of scissors and Snap one of his cut and fold dogs, for Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films. Various episodes can currently be viewed on You Tube.

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In the same year he wrote the Danish stop motion children's TV series 'Dukker på ballonfart' also known as 'Professor Kapok and Mechanic Nick'.

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1962

According to Imdb, Thok Søndergaard is credited as a cutter on the 1962 film 'Journey to the Seventh Panet'.

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1964

Thoki Yenn is credited on Imbd as the puppet master for the 1964 TV film 'Snip, Snap, Snude'.

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He was also puppet master for the Danish TV series 'Bonus og Minus' which aired for 24 episodes in December 1964 as a kind of visual advent calendar.

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'Secrets of Origami Old and New: The Japanese Art of Paper- Folding', by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne Book Company in London in 1964, contained a design attributed to Thoki Yenn. It is, however, my understanding that this was not in fact Thoki Yenn's design.

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During this year, according to http://articles.ivymag.org/pdf/ivy02.pdf he suffered mental health problems and became interested in Scientology, which appears to have benefited his mental stability. The following extract is taken from an article, 'As I Knew Him ...', him being Ron L Hubbard, he wrote for International Viewpoints No 2 of August 1991.

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1966

In the same article Thoki Yenn says that he arrived at Saint Hill in 1966 and:

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1967

Thoki Yenn was involved in the start of Ron L Hubbard's Sea Org project, initailly working as the Bosun on the 'Athena' and then serving as First Mate.

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1985

A collection of Thoki Yenn's geometric paperfolds, titled 'Orikata', was published by the British Origami Society as Booklet 13.

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