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I aimed at these three days, the 24th Italian Origami-Meeting of the Centro Diffusione Origami of 08.-10.12.2006, almost a three quarter year. When I arrived in Verbania - Pallanza on 7th of December 2006 the curtain opened to an origami event full of magic and fascination. 171 people from 12 nations took part.

But first things first. On 15th of March 2006 I got an invitation by Roberto Gretter: "in the name of the Centro Diffusione Origami we have the honor to invite you to the 24th CDO as a special guest". This was a very affecting moment. At first I wasn't sure if I really could do justice to this invitation, but the fascination was too big. So I accepted, firmly intended to do everything to come through this convention successfully. I structured the necessary preparation measures and started. So I revised the instruction sheets of my models I wanted to teach in Italy, wrote something to my vita and conducted untiringly correspondence. I planned the course of my lesson as best as possible.

The days passed and December came closer. The time had come on 6th of December 2006. My bag and my exhibits were packed, ready to leave.The morning of my departure was completely rainy. Finally arrived at the train station my journey went to Ladenburg to Gigi Gaisbauer at first. On 7th of December 2006 we, Gigi and I, went to Verbania Pallanza together with Irene Grohe to the lake Lago Maggiore in Piemont (north italy). We arrived in Verbania at about 16.30 hours. After a short cab journey we checked in to the hotel Castagnola at Via al Collegio 16. In the dusk I had a marvellous view from my hotel window to the lake Lago Maggiore and the mountains located behind it. It was a wonderful scenery.

The next day I made all necessary arrangements with Roberto Gretter regarding the storyboard and the appointments of my 3 workshops. After the breakfast I built up my exhibits. There I became acquainted with Paolo Bascetta (Italy) and Francesco Decio (Italy). We spent the time until the official beginning of the convention in the big common room.
The meeting was opened officially with a short welcoming speech at 17.00 hours. Then the two guests Fernanod Gilgado (Spain) and I were introduced.

In the evening Eric Gjerde arrived from Minneapolis (USA). I have met him in the Flickr Group 'Origami Tesselations' virtual (via internet) in summer and was very impressed by his creations. Therefore I was very curios to meet him personally. We talked about our ideas and projects for a long time. We exchanged experiences and talked about theoretical matters. It was a special experience to be able to exchange thoughts with an artist of his rank.

After two days of endless rain the sun rised and colored the mountains in a bright red. The lake was quiet and nature showed it's most beautiful side. Actually the weather was far too fine to spend the time with folding paper. After the breakfast my first workshop started. A large sheet with my name was attached at the door to the teaching room. A big table stood in front of the door to the big common room. All models which were taught that day were placed there. Every model was provided with the name of the artist, who showed and explained them. This was a very good idea. So one could look at the models at leisure and decide what one wanted to fold. I was a little sceptical first how many people would come to my workshop. But then the room filled very fast. For my delight Julia Palffy (Switzerland) appeared to fold with us. I saw Julia at the official opening in the evening the first time, when she translated the speech of Luigi Leonardi, the chairman of the Centro Diffusione Origami, into other languages. I asked her if she would help me to translate my lecture into Italian and Spanish what she did willingly. It was unbelievable how fast and confident she translated into different languages. The first workshop proceeded very well. I think most people had much fun while folding. After almost an hour all participants held their hexagonal 3D-star in hand.

I met Assia Vely and Dave Brill on the way to the hotel. Assia introduced me to Dave and we started a conversation immediately. Dave is a remarkable personality. He is honorary chairman of the British Origami Society (BOS) and author of several books and professional articles in origami magazines all around the world. For me it was a great honor to meet him.

I used the time between lunch and the beginning of my 2nd workshop at 16.00 hours for an extensive ramble through the exhibition. Paper fantasies flattered my eyes and I couldn't feast my eyes on all these wonderful models. There was still some time left till the 2nd workshop would start so I looked around in the big common room for somebody I could join and to fold with. Then I saw Jean Baden-Gillette (USA New York) and her lovely folded high-heels. So I joined and folded with them. Unfortunately, there was only time for one shoe. The time made fast progress and I went into my teaching room to teach my octagonal star. My 2nd workshop also passed smoothly.

In the evening Christiane Bettens arrived (Mélisande (fromSwitzerland) arrived. Therefore we were already three tesselation folders. Mélisande bubbles over with energy and creativity. Her models and tesselations are very interesting. I could take a look into her tesselation portfolio and I was enthusiastic about the many new variations.
It got late and I got tired, I already wanted to go to sleep, but Nicoleta from Romania still liked to learn my tesselation star. She would already be on her journey back home on Sunday and therefore she couldn't attend my lecture about the tesselation star. Of course I couldn't say No and so we folded till 02.00 hours.

On Sunday morning the alarm clock rang at 07.00 hours, breakfast at 08.00 hours and my 3rd workshop already started at 09.00 hours. The room filled fast and we started with on schedule. People somehow were very unsettled. When we started with the twist folds suddenly it got very quiet and everybody folded very concentrated. After almost 2 hours we had mastered the tesselation star.
At about noon most guests had departed and the convention was ended officially. Many foreign guests and also the organization team waited like us until Monday with departure. So we had a beautiful Sunday evening together.

It was a wonderful and fascinating meeting. I have met many interesting and lovable people and was hearty admitted into the community of the Italian folders. Those days will remain unforgotten.
I would like to thank Luigi Leonardi (President) and Roberto Gretter (convention promoter) for the invitation as well as with the organization team for the ever-present support. I would like to thank Gigi Gaisbauer (Germany) for the untiring work to convince me to go to Italy once. I also thank Eriko Ayoama-Pabel (Japan/Germany) for the beautiful photos. Otherwise I wouldn't be on any photo. I thank Julia Palffy (Switzerland) that she has removed all language barriers in my workshops and translated my lectures into the different languages. I thank all others for the unforgettable and wonderful days in Italy.

Ralf Konrad

p.s.: Thanks a lot Peter - Syngola for the accurate translation.

wichtige Links

Centro Diffusione Origami

24. CDO Konvention

Roberto Gretter

Fernanod Gilgado

Eric Gjerde


Homepage der italienischen Origamivereinigung

Homepage zum 24. Kongress der CDO in englisch

Homepage von Roberto Gretter (Italien)

Homepage von Fernando Gilgado (Spanien) dem 2. Ehrengast

Eric's Flickr Homepage

Christiane Bettens Flickr Homepage
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From right to left: Gigi Gaisbauer (Germany), Paolo Bascetta (Italy), me, Francesco Decio (Italy). After assembling my exhibits I got into conversation with the Italian artists and Gigi had the great idea to take a joint photo.

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These are the models by Eric Gjerde (USA). It was fascinating to watch his paper ideas in real. But most of all it was a great pleasure meeting him personally. You can meet Eric also at Flickr, where lots of his models are displayed and annotated.

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Fernando Gilgado (Spain) was also invited as a guest of honour. Here are some of his models. He is a very creative artist and a very good instruction draughtsman.

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Shortly before the end of the meeting I met Fernando Gilgado (Spain) once again. There used the chance to take this picture. It was a nice experience to meet Fernando personally.

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Nicoletta Maggino is a very creative Italian folder. I liked her models; especially the model Stellina (Asterisk), which you can see in the foreground.

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My workshops were very well attended and sometimes even the last free seat was taken. Nicoletta Maggino (Italian, on the right) has folded in all my three workshops. She is a charming and creative lady.

Photo by Eriko Ayoama-Pabel
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It's always a pleasure to meet Annette and Paul Hassenforder. They travel through Europe to all the different Origami conventions and they belong to the nicest people I know. Paul has always interesting models in his luggage.

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The cuckoo clock is made by Roberto Gretta (Italy), using instructions by Robert J. Lang. It is really very good and precisely folded. You can find the instruction in Robert's book "Origami Design Secrets - Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art" page 489.

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These are some models by Christiane Bettens - Melisande (Switzerland). She is a very creative artist and is folding also very nice tessellations. I was lucky to see lots of her tessellations.

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Designed and folded by Sipho Mabona September '06. The material and the folding down to the last detail are very impressive.

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Blick aus meinem Fenster, ein wunderschöner Lago Maggiore mit der kleinen Insel und dem dahinter befindlichen Bergen, einfach traumhaft.

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I was amazed when Roberto Gretta has shown me the room for my workshops which was especially on hold for me.

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There was a huge room where the guests could stay and fold. If you saw an interesting model or artist you just add to and fold.

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These are the nicest models which I folded myself or which I got as a gift. I was very impressed and touched because some people thanked for the seminar and gave me a self-folded model. I want to say Thanks to all of them!

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Many thanks again to Julia Palffy (Switzerland, on the left in front). I met Julia the first time in the evening at the official opening when she translated the speech of Luigi Leonardi, the chairman of the CDO (Centro Diffusione Origami) into other languages. Later she came to my first seminar and I asked her for help to translate my lecture into Italian and Spanish what she willingly did. It was incredible how fast and certain she moved between different languages.

Photo by Eriko Ayoama-Pabel
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This is how my workshop did look like. The room was always fully occupied. I think there were about 20 people or more. Nevertheless, everything went fine and most of them left the workshop with a self-folded model and a smile in their face.

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I was also lucky to meet these likeable young folders Nicoleta Mihalcea and Florin Dan from Romania. Nicoleta questioned me a lot and wanted to know everything in detail which was good because I used the opportunity to show her many little details of my models.

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From the right to the left: Christiane Bettens - Melisande (Switzerland), Eric Gjerde (USA) and me at breakfast. I was astonished that we looked quiet awake that early in the morning despite the fact that we folded until very late night.

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