Kingfishers by Gen Hagiwara

Australian Origami Convention
29–30th September 2012
Melbourne, Australia

Folding Australia 2012 Report

by Mike Hopkins, Melbourne Origami Group

Folding Australia is the Australian Origami Convetion, and this year was a part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. A number of origami master classes and activities were held across Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th September 2012 at Ross House in Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Ticket prices were $30 for an adult for one day, $20 for concession. Special two-day passes were available at $50 and $30 respectively.

We’d allocated 50 tickets for each day and ended up selling out of tickets for the Saturday and had less than five remaining tickets for the Sunday. Actual attendance from the Saturday was around 56, with 43 for the Sunday. These numbers were quite humbling as to the popularity of the event. We tried our best to accommodate as many extra people as we could on Saturday.

Organising Committee

My role was to act as producer for the event and, being a graphic designer, to handle the branding and marketing. Charmaine Cruise did some initial venue scouting, bag sourcing and ran the registration and store on the day. Alan Crawford was responsible for bringing along the existing supply of paper and acting as support where needed. Kei helped organise some additional assets for the convention as well as providing promotional and organisational support. Brenda Saunders handled the goodie bag paper contents as well as the financial aspects of the event.

This was further backed up by all those who volunteered their time to teach a session, those who helped out with various setup tasks and those who were kind enough to display their models.

Design and Marketing

The Folding Australia branding and marketing was refreshed this year, whilst providing continuity with previous years. The Folding Australia branding has usually incorporated a linework drawing of a spectactular or unique model, such as Steven Casey’s echidna in 2005 or Satoshi Kamiya’s lyre bird in 2007, and we kept with that direction. This year the 2012 design features the kingfisher, an original design by local folder Gen Hagiwara. Gen graciously allowed the use of his model as well as supplying the model photography and the initial linework used in the apparel design.

Speaking of apparel; In order to stand out amongst the crowd, those primarily involved in the organising of the convention had special t-shirts produced to match this year’s colour in the Folding Australia logo. The colour is called heliconia, but is in reality closer to fuchsia. One of our team received some special attention from a local barista which, well… let’s just say the feeling was not mutual. My apologies for causing this to happen through t-shirt colour alone. So… all black next time?

The marketing for this event was handled mainly through the Fringe Festival program, this website, through social media and the Melbourne Origami Group newsletter. We were also in turn picked up by some blogging and media channels, and we’re very thankful for their promotion.

Model Display

On display were a number of models folded by local, interstate and international guests. Of particular interest was the display of the lyre bird folded by Kamiya Satoshi, which is so special that it has its own special padded box to travel in. Although I don’t have a record of everyone whose models were on display (if I’ve missed you and you’d like to be added here, please let me know!), amongst those featured were fantastic models folded by: Gen Hagiwara, David Nudd, Kamiya Satoshi, Steven Casey, Brenda Saunders, Alan Crawford, Max Connolly, Gareth Louis, Ariel Achtman and Jordan Langerak.

Convention Schedule

On each day, two levels of classes were run concurrently; one for beginner / intermediate and a second for intermediate / advanced. The convention schedule for the two days was as follows, with a few changes on the day:

  Saturday, 29th September Sunday, 30th September
  Beginner / Intermediate Intermediate / Advanced Beginner / Intermediate Intermediate / Advanced
9—10am Registration and Welcome Registration and Welcome
10—11:30am Mike Hopkins,
Origami Basics
David Nudd,
Ariel Achtman,
Barking Wolf, Inflatable Pig
Joe Clark,
South Australia
Acoustic Guitar (advanced)
with Darren Scott,
Kawahata’s Elephant (intermediate)
11:30am—1pm Kei,
Masu Box
Darren Scott,
Jerard Koon,
Elephant, Japanese Brocade
1—2pm Lunch Break Lunch Break
2—3:30pm Charmaine Cruise,
Puzzle Box (beginner),
with Darren Scott,
Rabbit (intermediate)
Steven Casey,
Alan Crawford,
Magic Rose Cube, Tomoko Fuse Boxes (intermediate)
with Jerard Koon,
Additional Models (intermediate)
Steven Casey,
3:30—5pm Brenda Saunders,
From Preliminaries
Gen Hagiwara,
Auction, Final Events, Wrap-up
  Saturday Night Dinner at Wagamama, Flinders Lane

People were able to change freely between the class levels depending on what they were interested in folding and available places in each room. Although I wasn’t everywhere, I’ve attempted to fill in which models were taught above. As there was a more distinct split into three levels of skill, some of the people teaching stepped up and offered to teach a second model concurrent to a scheduled class. We’re immensely grateful for their time and for offering to teach more than just their session.

Due to the nature of the layout at Ross House, we ran the convention across two rooms – the mezzanine level on both days for beginners/intermediate, and the level three meeting room on Saturday and level four on Sunday. The lift was quite slow and ponderous, so the stairs were usually the best option for travelling between rooms. As the distance from the ground floor to the first floor actually goes up two flights, that meant climbing four or five flights depending on day. Overall the two days provided plenty of exercise for all!

Origami classes were the core focus of the two days, and it was really great to see people who came on the Saturday with little to no origami experience, leave on the Sunday having mastered several quite challenging models! For those already seasoned in the art of the fold, the intermediate / advanced classes really pushed origami skills to the limit.

Saturday Night Dinner

Due to the challenge of organising a venue in the city, let alone on AFL grand final night, a small group of us decided informally to go to Wagamama just further up Flinders Lane. It was a great chance to relax and enjoy some food and drink.

My girlfriend and I were pretty tired, so we folded a little earlier than the others. The others remained a while longer, casually making some favourite models and chatting over the finer points of paper folding.

Folding Australia 2012 Store and Supplies

Folding Australia 2012 T-Shirts

To provide attendees with a chance to see what types of paper is out there, as well as to have some practical mementos of Folding Australia 2012, we ran a small store on both days. A selection of different origami papers were available to purchase, as well a selection of t-shirts featuring Gen Hagiwara’s kingfisher, expertly screen-printed by Screen Fiend. We still have some t-shirts left at the time of writing, which we will be selling via the Melbourne Origami Group website. Not all sizes / colours are still available, as they proved to be quite a popular item!

The convention bags were filled with a selection of papers sourced by Brenda Saunders from Dragon Papers, and Kami. Brenda also spent several nights tirelessly sorting and grouping the papers for each bag – no small feat! A big thank-you to Brenda for all her hard work. Screen Fiend also screen-printed the kingfisher design onto the convention bags.

For those who bought a two-day pass, we also had an extra gift in the form of a laser-cut keyring featuring the Folding Australia logo. Thank-you to Kei and the Swinburne Prahran workshop for their time and effort in producing the keyrings.

All proceeds from ticket sales and from items sold at our store will go entirely towards the next Folding Australia, as well as to assist the Melbourne Origami Group in continuing to run.

Auction and Closing

To wrap up the convention, we held an informal "auction" just before the close of the event on the Sunday. Several people graciously donated things to auction, including Gen who provided not only his set of four kingfishers, but also a larger signed kingfisher and a quirky origami book from Japan as well. We also auctioned an origami calendar and a number of other books as well as some unique origami paper. As with the store, all proceeds will go towards the planning of the next Folding Australia convention as well as to the running of the Melbourne Origami Group.

We closed with an acknowledgement of all those whose hard work had made this year’s convention a success, and to all those attending for coming along.

The Future

At this year’s convention, we’ve started to lay the groundwork for people in each state to promote origami, under the common banner of Origami Australia.

The intention is to have a starting point for people to find out information about origami in their area, especially for those groups just starting up to gain more exposure. Origami Australia will exist to help promote origami around Australia, no matter how big or small the group. Although Folding Australia has to this point been organised by the Melbourne Origami Group, we want to be able to hold Folding Australia in other states and territories. Origami Australia is our first step towards achieving this goal.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to all those who attended Folding Australia 2012. We hope to see you all again soon!

You can find more photos from the event on Google+.


Photos featured were taken by Kei and Mike

Looking For More Origami Around Australia?

We’re starting to bring people together under the banner of Origami Australia. Check it out for information on your local origami group or club.

If you live in Melbourne, the Melbourne Origami Group runs regular informal monthly meetings in Elwood, all ages and level of skill are welcome. Find out more at the Melbourne Origami Group website. Come and fold with us! Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with Folding Australia and Melbourne origami. You can also follow the Melbourne Origami Group on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Previous Conventions

Information about the Folding Australia conventions from 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 can be found at Matthew Gardiner’s Paper Crane site.