Edited by Sara Adams

Tom Hull was a special guest (image - Garibi Ilan).

József Zsebe, another special guest, demonstrated his wet-folding (image - Garibi Ilan).

The shop is always well-frequented (image - Gerwin Sturm).

Double Eagle by Alessandro Beber - from one sheet of paper! (image - Garibi Ilan)

Apart from the workshops lots of smaller folding groups form (image - Dasa Severova).

Naomiki Sato showed us how to fold these beautiful roses (image - Dasa Severova).

Hilli Zenz customizes paper beautifully (image - Garibi Ilan).

Francesco Mancini added an origami puzzle to my collection (image - Garibi Ilan).

József Zsebe wasn't shy to teach even after midnight (image - Boaz Shuval).

Jeremy Shafer, another special guest, teaching his Wearable Elf Ears (image - Garibi Ilan).

Folding modules - a perfect end to a perfect convention (image - Boaz Shuval).

Before I took off to Milan, Italy, I read an article about a monk, who is supposedly the happiest person on earth. Scientists measured his Alfa brainwaves and discovered his numbers are way above all others they measured. "Well", I thought to myself, "he is probably asleep now, and I am heading to the 30th CDO origami convention in Vicenza, Italy; so the first place is now mine!!!" That was 5 days ago, and now, here I am back in Israel, again in second place, trying to explain to you how going to the Italian convention is the best in the world. Where else can you meet a bee keeper's family, a paper painter/banker, a robotics expert, a math professor, and a brilliant child (aged 14) named Stephano, all with the same passion? What else can bring a Japanese rose lover from France, an Israeli contrabass player from Germany, and the potential president of the International European Origami Association all to the same hotel, in a small town in Italy?

The trip back to Israel took more than 12 hours, so on the way back I managed to purify

The 10 Steps Guide to a Perfect Convention

  1. Timing: Make sure no one else is holding a major convention within a month's span of time, especially not during the expensive holiday season or when the big guys such as OUSA or JOAS are having their conventions. In this case, Nov. 1st - 4th was ideal!
    An editorial note that, while there weren't any of the big name conventions around that time, there were a number of smaller conventions that took place around the same time; namely: the Canadian Convention (Canada, Oct. 5-8), the OrigaMIT Convention (Boston, MA, Oct. 27), the Ultimate Origami Convention (France, Nov. 2-4), the Origami Colombia Convention (Columbia, Nov. 9–12), the JOAS Nagoya Convention (Nagoya, Japan, Nov. 17–19), and the East Bay Origami Convention (Berkeley, CA, Nov. 17–19).
  2. Size: 240 guests (a new record for the locals), 70 of which were international, is the exact number that brings a huge variety while still maintaining a family-like surrounding. With 240 guests you get enough teachers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience to accommodate ten classes at every given time slot. Plus, there are still more wandering around, who you can hunt down for one-on-one-fast-folder-lessons.
  3. Location: All those guests can cozily fit into the great hall of the hotel. All the action including the limited-number-of-participants classes were held in it, and just by standing up and looking all around you, you immediately know what's going on. For example, is Carmen Sprung free to teach you a quick Felix Star lesson? You never feel lost, or worse, feel like you're missing out on something better.
  4. Accommodation: When your room is just three floors above you with breakfast, lunch and dinner all included (with free Parmesan cheese), you cannot fail.
  5. Giveaways: Give your attendees a book by Nilva Fina Pillan; a booklet about 360 degree models by Roberto Gretter; the periodic magazine of the CDO; 222 pages of convention book; and a pack of special patterned papers. Put it all in a shocking green folder, and you get a winner.
  6. Special guests: Not one, nor two, but three. Make one a professor, let him talk about origami and education; ask the next to juggle seven balls while unicycling and presenting his immortal Nail Clippers; and let the third impress you with his unique wet folding style. Specifically, Tom Hull, Jeremy Shafer, and József Zsebe were this year's guests. Lock them all in the main hall, and support an atmosphere that anyone can just stroll to their table and chat, fold, or even teach them a model.
  7. The Shop: The hall to the store was semi-dark. 30 minutes before the official opening time it was already packed with people. I was 15 minutes early, so I waited in the front of the line, holding my position tight, making sure no one would try to overtake me, not conceding even in the shortest break of awareness from my part. Tensions rose, with every clock tick. More and more people came. The stress was almost unbearable. Then a strange sound increased the tension even further. But no, it was a false alarm, just a slight movement of the door handle. One minute after 8:30pm the door was still closed. Someone lost it and broke free with wild shouts (or maybe it was just me, in my head?). And then, on the brink of a savage riot, the door opened. Four steps ahead! Grab the Komatsu book! Yes! Now left! Forward! Four packages of Sato paper. Far right! Faster! 500 sheet pack of Kami. Backwards, spin in place, the Big Sheet table, slow down. - "One of each color, please!" (Smile!) "Thanks, Gabriela!" DO NOT take the Elephant-Hide-Quarter-size-22-Colors Pack. (That was a tough one!) Right! Head on to the cashier! Breathe. And again. I am out, perfect execution, all goals reached!
  8. The 3:00am folding session: I must come forth and tell the truth here - I lost the crown. I am no longer the fastest blind crane folder. But I am the inventor and creator of the flattening machine, which allows you to flatten origami models with one top-down movement of your hand, making all after-convention packing a most simple task. Have you ever tried to make an expressionless face when asked? Try to do it at 3am, around an origami table while folding a waterbomb single-handedly. This would have reached a million views on youtube for sure, if only we'd have had a camera.
  9. The models: Sometimes I get this feeling I have seen it all. What can you surprise me with? And then I saw the Double Eagle by Alessandro Beber. There was a huge explosion of creativity and talent at the Italian convention. Taking a walk to view all the exhibition tables was a joyful experience full of surprises and Wow!-moments. It felt like being part of a champions league.
  10. The people: This aspect needs a full chapter!

It's all about the people

Bottom line and above all, convention is about the people. For some reason (or perhaps for the nine reasons above) all the right people came to this convention. The mix of folders from twelve countries and three continents created a never-ending stream of sparks when folders met each other, spoke, shared, learned, and laughed together.

Matthew Gardiner approached me and wanted to talk. He is an artist most known for his work with origami and robotics, called Oribotics, and meeting him was one of my best moments of the convention. We discussed my metal origami tessellation and he shared with me his technique of pleating fabric. A whole new world of opportunities opened to me just like that!

Naomiki Sato is the son a botanist. His admiration of roses became his main passion in origami. His classes lasted three hours and always while I was giving my own classes. So I had to go undercover and ask for a private, speed-folding, off-schedule class. And yes, some chocolate bars had to exchange hands, but he agreed with a big smile, happy to see yet another admirer get on his knees. When talking to him after this class, I realized how unique and inspiring his way of doing things is: the meticulous refining of the small details, the reality he seeks to achieve, the passion with which he talks about roses and their properties, the amount of love he puts into each one and mostly, and above all, his willingness to share all of that.

I spent a whole lunch with Hilli Zanz, a banker that paints pattern on papers. She wants to make a living out of those papers, and I helped her with the first buy. I just couldn't bear not having them.

I had a laughing explosion with Dasa Severova, Robin Scholz, Alessandro Masiero, and Ricardo while trying by best to make a normal, expressionless face.

I was almost nominated as the President of the International European Origami Association by Krystyna and Wojtek Burczyk, but then breakfast was over and they just went down to fold before giving their final approval.

Francesco Mancini once again showed me his wisdom and generosity by giving me yet another origami-mechanical puzzle hybrid he folded. Speaking of mechanical puzzles, I met my soul sister who came all the way from the USA: Marti Reis, an origami enthusiast and collector of origami puzzles. Well, so am I! There's no better way to come back from an origami convention than with some puzzles as giveaway gifts!

Tom Hull gave me two new ideas for my Origami course. I taught Jeremy Shafer a magic trick with two rubber bands. József Zsebe gave us a post midnight fox class. And then there was this lady from France, who told me whenever she gets the BOS magazine she just loves to read my paper reviews. Now that made me smile for a long time!


On the third day of the convention I stopped for a moment and raised my head. On the far right a guy, dressed as a clown with green paper Elf ears was teaching 20 guys to do the same. Another guy was giving away Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls, asking people to eat them, so they can fold a dress from the wrappers. I myself was folding for the 15th time the same unit for a modular twist ball, after seven hours of folding other models. And it all just seemed normal. "This is the life!" I said to myself, and picked up the 16th paper. I just love Italian conventions!

-Ilan Garibi