Convention brings origami novices into the fold
Merida and Michael Weinstein show examples of their origami in their Clintonville home. The Weinsteins are founding members of the Capital Area Paper Shapers, which will hold the CenterFold origami convention Aug. 16-19 in Worthington. Buy This Photo
This is one CenterFold that's just fine to share with children.
CenterFold is the name of the annual origami convention put on by the five-year-old Capital Area Paper Shapers. This year's gathering will take place Aug. 16-19 at the Holiday Inn Worthington, 7007 N. High St.
Origami is an ancient art form and craft that originated in China but took wing in Japan after Buddhist monks introduced paper there in the sixth century. It involves folding paper -- sometimes a little and sometimes a lot -- to produce shapes -- sometimes simple and sometimes not.
"There's something for everybody," said John Scully of Granville, who's the "general organizer and Web guy" for the sponsoring group.
His wife, Monica Salisbury, founded Capital Area Paper Shapers, also known as Ohio Paper Folders, in July 2007 because the state lacked an origami group, according to the organization's website.
"I started, like a lot of us did, when I was 8 years old," Salisbury said last week.
When she was growing up in Parkersburg, W.Va., Salisbury said, her father had a shop across the street from a bookstore, and in that bookstore window was a display of packages of origami paper, complete with an instruction book. The little girl saved up her lunch money, bought one of the packages and, 35 years later, is still folding paper.
"I think one of the things is that it cuts across all the age boundaries," Salisbury said. "It doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80. It's an absolute delight to take a plain piece of paper and turn it into something incredible.
"It's a great feeling."
Ohio's origami organization started out with only eight members, but grew to 20 over the course of its first 10 months of existence as a result of public seminars.
The Capital Area Paper Shapers today has 101 members, according to a list supplied by Scully. They come from various parts of Columbus as well as Grove City, Reynoldsburg, Bexley, Westerville, Worthington, Pickerington and Hilliard locally, while some live as far away as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Indianapolis, Princeton, N.J.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Stockton, Calif.
CenterFold is one of only perhaps four conventions held in North America, and Scully said modestly that many attendees feel it's the best of them.
"One thing that is different from the other origami conventions in North America is we have a really heavy focus on bringing beginners in," Scully said. "Our nonprofit is about spreading origami, not just connecting master folders with one another."
"Anything that gets people folding is good in my book," said Clintonville resident Michael Weinstein, a tenured professor of molecular genetics at Ohio State University.
He and his wife, Merida Weinstein, are among the founding members of Capital Area Paper Shapers.
The national origami convention, which has been held in New York City for the past 50 years or so and draws 600 people -- about five times the number anticipated for CenterFold -- is "pretty heavily structured," Scully said.
"They don't really want a lot of beginners there," he said.
By contrast, classes offered for $50 on the Friday of the CenterFold gathering are almost exclusively geared to beginners.
"It is intended for absolutely novice: You've never tried this before, you don't know how to read the diagrams," Scully said.
True master designers, including guests of honor Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander, owners of the Origamido Studio in Haverhill, Mass., also will be on hand during the four-day event.
A large public display of origami, from extremely complex ones that involved 3,000 individual folds to "stunning, elegant ones" accomplished with less than 30 folds, will be open all day Saturday and Sunday, and that's what will capture the attention of most unfamiliar with the art form, Scully said.
"They're stunned, they're absolutely stunned at the range," he said. "It's not just that people have gone into more complicated models. It's actually spread in new directions."
For more information about Capital Area Paper Shapers and the CenterFold convention, visit the website ohiopaperfolders.com.