We love Esther Thorpe, founder and creative mind behind Origami Est.
We love her not just because she has the cutest house rabbits that make regular appearances on her Instagram feed, and not just because she turns pieces of paper into amazingly cool 3-d items, but also because at least 10% of proceeds on Origami Est go to Stop the Traffik, a charity committed to helping people find freedom from being trafficked and to raising the awareness of the truth of human trafficking. Love her too, already?
We first discovered Esther’s work in Smug (if you haven’t been yet, you really ought to), when we were there for the shelfie breakfast with Tiff Grant-Riley. I thought the flower balls were ceramic, which shows how robust they have been folded to look.
“I have always been obsessed with paperfolding,” Esther tells us. “A couple of years ago, I decided to start folding bigger ornaments to give as gifts for friends.
“I was getting rather addicted – it doesn’t take much for me to get excited about something! So I decided to write a little blog about what I had been making. To my amazement, people started asking if I could make them to sell!”
“At the time, I was teaching full time, and so I didn’t feel the need to make money from my mini business venture. I have been passionate about supporting STOP THE TRAFFIK for a long time, and it felt right to commit to giving to them through my origami.
“I made me realise how few people know about modern day slavery, so I would try to use Origami-Est as a way of telling people about human trafficking.” What a good idea, Esther!
We’ve been watching, via Instagram, with amazement at how popular Esther’s origami Christmas collection has been, with particular models and prints flying out of her hands as soon as they are made.
Esther shares with us some of her Christmas traditions: “A few years ago, I folded 24 little origami candy boxes together, to be used as an advent calendar. Every year, we fill the boxes with chocolates and a narrative of the Christmas story.
“The boxes are then stacked on the mantel piece, and as each box is opened, they are hung to make a garland.”
Esther has also held origami workshops at the Pop Up Cafe in Kent, and at Smug in Islington. She also takes commissions and wholesale orders. Visit her website for more information, and to get yourself some Christmas hangings if you haven’t completed the decorations yet (don’t panic)! We have a feeling the ancients who invented origami would be pretty impressed to see her modern twist on the art.
Images via Esther Thorpe