Meet origami expert and Paper Home author, Esther Thorpe

Paper-folding fanatic Esther Thorpe runs her own origami business, Origami Est, and is the author of Paper Home where she shares 15 origami projects to make for the home. With some 13k followers on Instagram, many will already be familiar with Esther’s beautifully styled photographs of her paper creations. Here Esther talks about her new book and her love for origami.

It’d be impossible to put a date on it, exactly when my obsession with making things from paper began. Even when I was at preschool I remember endlessly making paper homes for my cuddly toys. My parents were brilliant at encouraging me to be creative, even though creativity wasn’t something that came naturally to them.

My mum would frequently take me to exhibitions both locally and further afield, and I distinctly remember being struck by the beautiful work of Bridget Riley on a visit to the Tate Gallery in London. This sparked my fascination with geometric pattern, and with Bridget Riley books, of which I have a library!

At school, art, design and maths were my favourite subjects, and when I went to university to study graphic design, I discovered that origami marries these three passions together beautifully. Throughout my degree and since, I have enjoyed stretching myself with more and more complex models and still find there is nothing more satisfying than transforming 2D square sheets into 3D models.

I live in a small seaside town in the south east of England, with my husband, daughter and two house rabbits, Hugo and Florence (my paper offcuts nibblers!). I enjoy being a mummy by day and a ninja folder by night. I find origami truly addictive and I hope my book Paper Home will inspire you too. There are projects of varying levels of difficulty: some are straightforward and quick to complete, while others are a little more time consuming, but well worth the effort.

If you are a novice, the Triangular Basket or the Star Garland is a good place to start. Mastering projects that use a similar origami technique is also a good way to develop your folding skills; for example, the Photo Holder, the Cube (Geometric Mobile) and the Vase are all based on the same origami module (the sonobe).

Feel free to dip in and out – the photo step-by-steps should make it easy to pick up where you left off. I also find a good cup of coffee and a little background noise helpful when getting my fold on! Whatever works for you, relax and enjoy your creative process.

by Esther Thorpe


Extracted from Esther Thorpe’s latest book Paper Home (Pavilion, £16.99), available now (photographs by Kirsty Noble)

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