Edited by Jason Ku

Slightly hysteric

Preparations for a
special workshop

Suddenly, I woke up. I was a little hysteric, but not awake enough to know why. My head cleared slowly. Its Monday; two more days. The flight is on Wednesday; we are going to the CDO convention. More facts are rising in my brain. Tickets and passport are checked, nothing to worry about that. Oh, wait, I am one of the Guests of Honor. I am not ready. Not yet. I need more time.

This is my fifth time in the CDO convention, and this time it is extremely special – I am a special guest. You may think it’s a glorious moment, and you may be right, but glory has its toll. Being invited create also liabilities. One must be prepared.

This will be my surprise factor

Preparations – models and classes

I wanted my exhibition to be exquisite! I wanted it to show my latest works, and to bring wonder to the eyes of the viewers. It is not easy to choose, with 20 huge IKEA boxes in the attic, full with paper models. Moreover, in the last two years I focused on other materials, especially metal, and in a very big scale; not something one can bring in his suitcase. Luckily, I also tried my hand with jewelry, from folded metal, and they are perfect for this task.

Being in the last five CDO conventions, I knew I had to bring new models, and not to repeat myself. So, some paper models, new; some jewelry, some wood models, just to show variety, and a model to surprise the viewer – I decided to take my retractable pyramid, that consist of 16 pyramids stacked one into the next; the bigger one has an edge of 70 cm; the smallest – 10 cm. Of course, I had to take it dissembled, all 96 units, and assemble it on site.

With no less importance, the classes I choose to give as a special guest are my next issue to consider. Usually the classes will be full, with more than the comfortable number of participants. One should be prepared with aids, diagrams, and problematic steps cleared for himself, before he starts a class. I chose a modular, a tessellation, as I am a tessellator by nature, and two identical classes about the many variations on a Cube tessellation. The best part of it will be a pendant/brooch, folded from wood, and installed into a metal frame. In this way I can show how I think and design, and share my experience with jewelry making.

A wooden brooch folded as a Cubes tessellation;
a workshop that asks for string and glue.

I wanted to add some spice to my classes, so my fifth and last workshop will not be a standard one. I decided to riddle everyone with paper puzzles. Riddles and puzzles are my second hobby, and I cowrote a book about puzzles, which all you need to riddle with and to solve is a sheet of paper. You won’t be too surprised to know that paper can be a source for not only origami models but also for logic, mathematics, and tricks.

Finally, I was asked to give a talk about folding anything but paper. For the last four years I researched and tried my hands with metal, wood, fabric, ceramic, and even glass and leather. This allowed me to use my folds in the industrial and internal design arenas, and I have gathered a nice collection of applicable folds in metal and wood. My talk would be about the process I went through and how one thing led to another.

Going there

To my first convention I booked a flight on the first day's morning and a flight back at the night of the last day. While I was packing my stuff, I looked with envy at those who stayed for an extra night. Since then I am wiser, and I always come a day before and stay that extra night. Being a group of five coming from Israel, we planned some sightseeing on the way; not rushing to get to the hotel too early. This area of Tabiano and Fidenza is full of castles, history and beautiful scenery. We also had the time to follow a wish I always had – to stop at the first Tratoria we see; upon the moment we get hungry. That was exactly what happened, and we had a lovely classic Italian lunch – great pasta, dried meat.

A castle on the hill top. Image by Yael Meron.

Quentin Trollip, a guest of honor, teaching his fox
image by Gervin Sturm

Retractable Pyramid, by me, made from 96 units.
Image by Gerwin Sturm

Getting there; started; finished!

In the hotel, I am not sure I can describe what appeared to my eyes when the elevator doors opened. All I can say is, it involved a lady, a towel and a kiss. This is truly the charm of the place and the people. Especially for us, Israelis, in Italy it is so easy to feel at home, welcomed and hugged. As the other guests of honor are coming a day before (part of the hospitality of the CDO), this is the best of times to sit together, get to know each other, and enjoy the spa and Hamam on the ground level. We are not alone, as people keep on coming from all over Europe, and, as always, those who live the farthest get here earliest. The evening before quickly turns into an endless “Oh, look who is coming now!”, and hugs and kisses all over.

At a point no one can really spot, the convention is on! People are folding, talking, mingling, laughing, and smiling. From that vague point, there is no more day or night; it is food; fold; food; fold; fold food; games; food; beer; more games; sleep; food; fold; talk; sleep; food; fold; feet fold; fork fold; chopstick fold; “Oh, no! why is everybody packing their exhibitions?”


5 days, more than 70 classes, 268 attendees, hundreds of models around the walls, and thousands of paper sheets being used; it is impossible to cover all that. Ekaterina Lukasheva, from Russia; Quentin Trollip from Canada, and myself, from Israel, are guests representing the main genres of origami – modulars, figurative, and tessellations, so each participant can satisfy his wishes to fold.

The puzzled look on the participants
faces explain what this workshop is about!

I love to teach origami, especially my own models. My creation process is based on logic, and I love to see the gleam of understanding in the eyes of the listeners. Unlike figurative origami classes, where all must advance together, with modulars or tessellations it is different. You teach the single unit or molecule, and from that moment everyone is advancing in his own time. You can go one by one, explain help or advice. With tessellations, I always give away a diagram of the single molecule and a 2x2 molecules, to see the connecting lines between two adjacent molecules.

The Famous Couples custom parade
presenting the sun and moon,
by Elena Oddone and Irene Buttari

The Best Part

Night time always bring the best moments. It may be a long talk that evolves between two folders, or the simplicity of a new origami game you are encouraged to participate in. Such as one is Origtionary. You probably know Pictionary; a game you try to transmit a word by drawing only. This game is the same, but you are allowed only to fold. Each participant write down a word on a piece of paper, fold it tight. All notes are put in a hat (there is always a hat there, somehow), and the first player pick one. Let say he gets "knife"; so he must fold anything that will lead one of the rest to shout “knife”. When he does, the guesser will pick a new note and the cycle goes on and on. It may sound easy, or difficult, depend on your flexibility (and if the players stick to the rules – like "objects only"). Try to fold "Crazy" to understand.

Graciela Vicente Rafales [Left] rising to the Fork and Knife challenge,
while Mikiko Miyamoto showing her variation to it [Right].

Finally, I am the foot folder champion!

Last night is also the time for the planned games. Two groups fighting to force paper airplanes to land on the land strip, or fold a necklace of hearts, and if the score is tied, the group leaders will be asked to fold the heart with their feet.

Ohh, yes, of course I won!


Every convention ends with a sense of amazement – how time can accelerate to go three times faster; how interesting are people who like to fold; the endless creativity our community is blessed with.

I am still in a phase I count my conventions. This one is my 13th. Many consider it a bad luck number; for me it was the best convention ever!

The Israeli group

Till the next one!

-Ilan Garibi