Origami Deutschland held their 2003 meeting in Röttgen, just outside Bonn. I rise at 5am and just over 7 hours later arrive at the Andreas Hermes Akademie in the sleepy village of Röttgen, just outside Bonn. The convention starts at 3pm on Friday. The organisers, Gabi Grottenthaler, Heide Karst, Klaus Kosta, Ruth Schumann and Ulrike Krallmann-Wenzel have arranged rooms with “formal” sessions and teachers, but the main room is busy throughout the weekend with dozens of smaller, informal sessions, which seem to run themselves!
The special guests for the weekend are Paula Versnick and Vincent Floderer. Both are kept busy! Vincent has developed a new facet to his crumpling approach, that of inflating them. Imagine his “typical” mushroom, then blow down the stem to inflate the cap. This creates a huge variety of gourd-like objects, which once again have an extraordinarily organic appearance. Paula says she has nothing new to show, but her table is also full of goodies.
Friday evening sees the folding continue immediately after dinner until the wee small hours. 160 visitors are expected and many seem to be already present. John Cunliffe and David Lister are my fellow Brit attendees. Edwin Corrie probably still counts as a Brit, even though he now lives in France. I decide to catch a few hours extra sleep in anticipation of the long weekend to come. I’m rooming with Vincent, but we’re too tired for long chat.
Saturday morning and I’m scheduled to kick-off one of the teaching sessions – we run through an arrow, then Escher fish tesselations. “Falten, falten, falten” is the order of the day (and weekend) – I wander around the exhibition tables admiring the work on display. After dinner, (and after another bout of folding), the evenings entertainment begins. My attention starts to wander and a small group of us sneak off to the nearby pub. Many tasty beers were drunk and the paper games got sillier and sillier, until some time well after midnight. Several people were still up and folding, including young Niki Grabant, a delightful young man from Slovenia who was keeping his father company. Niki has the rare ability to fit in with a group of adults despite his tender years and spoke excellent German and English.
Next morning I meet and chat with Stefan Weber, a street artist who travels around Europe earning his living through performance and folding origami at high speed and with a deft touch. During the weekend he wet-folds several amazing bulls, based loosely on a Montroll dogbase. Another visitor is Assia Velli, a Russian currently living in Germany. She makes simple models, but does so with tremendous enthusiasm and joy.
The weekend winds down around 4pm and sad farewells are made. Heide Karst, talks me into an evening bus ride to Bonn, where we sit in the market square and have a few beers along with some excellent food. Heide talks a lot about the future of Origami Deutschland and I’m impressed with her attitude and devotion to the society. Any group of volunteers depends upon people such as Heide and I feel sure the future of OD is secure.