Image: Sacha van Niekerk

Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding has evolved into a masterful artistic genre, infiltrating everywhere from the ramp’s of high fashion shows to babies’ cribs and more.

In fashion

The same techniques used in origami have been used to make the delicate pleats and decorative folds in fabric that are featured on garments. Internationally recognised, multi-award-winning Durban designer Terrence Bray shared his experience with the trend. “In menswear, I use origami and Kirigami (a variation of origami that includes cutting of the paper) in many aspects of my clothing. Sometimes it’s obvious and other times not,” he said. The art of pattern making is essentially a form of Origami in itself, said Bray, whose Spring/Summer 2016 collection explored these techniques as a concept, on everything from casual sportswear to semi-formal cocktail pieces. “We have also applied it in our custom bridal wear when embellishments,” said Bray.

Bray, who is often inspired by all things Japanese, said, “The use of this technique has been a part of fashion for as long as I can remember, I love the sculptural quality of the technique.”

“The process is sometimes challenging and a case of trial and error but usually has very rewarding outcomes,” said Bray.

In jewelry


The delicate details seen in origami translate beautifully in jewelery inspired by the ancient art form. Megan McFall, a jewelry designer from Durban, uses a combination of features from origami and geometrics in her creations. “I love geometric designs, but find it difficult to make completely abstract designs. After seeing an origami geometric bird design online, I thought it would be great to do my own versions of different animals and flowers.” she said.

Working from photo references, McFall traces the folds of actual three dimensional origami pieces to create an outline design. “I then adjust certain variables like line thicknesses or sizing to make sure it will work as a pendant.”

To create an actual 3D origami piece is incredibly difficult, McFall said, “As anyone who's ever tried origami with paper will tell you, it gets more and more difficult as you fold the paper so imagine doing that with metal. For me it's more about creating the origami impression with my designs - which are then hand cut out from sterling silver plate."

To view McFall’s creations visit her website at www.starbrightgirl.com.

In craft


Forget adult colouring books, origami is the latest trend for keeping calm and being mindful.

Despina Papanicolaou, a psychologist in Durban, explains the benefits associated with making origami. “Mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to the present moment, to experience it just as it is, non judgmentally and with kind curiosity. When we are paying our full attention to something we are able to look at it in its entirety, using all of our senses, and in doing this we are not thinking or worrying about the past or the future,” she said.

With the patience and concentration that origami requires, Papanicolaou said, “It can bring us into the present moment as it requires us to be present and focused on what we are doing. It enhances our awareness and concentration.”

“If our expectations are to have a perfect origami piece and we find that it is not how we want it to be, mindfulness teaches us to take a pause, pay attention to the frustration and impatience which then  allows us the space to recognize that we don't have to be hooked into those emotions, rather just seeing them as they are,” said Papanicolaou.

In decor

Who would have thought that with a few folds here and there, in fabric or paper, breathtaking home decor can be created. But if you don’t have the patience making origami requires, there are plenty of origami-inspired items available to spruce up your living space.

Fabric origami birds


These fabric birds are perfect for adding colour and flair to your dinner party table setting. Available for online purchase at hellopretty.co.za for R30 each.

Baby mobile


Decorate your baby’s cot, and provide them with visual stimulation, using this adorable mobile from hellopretty.com. Retailing at R695, the pastel colours are sure to complement your baby’s nursery beautifully.

In food

Art and food combine to create these delicious origami creations.

Baked goods


Impress guests with these crisp pastry pinwheels bursting with tart raspberry and cream cheese. Get the full recipe at www.justataste.com.

Cake toppers


If you love having fun with your food, this next idea is just for you. Made to grace the tops of cakes, these chocolate wafer origami cranes make a scrumptious statement. Visit carnetsparisiens.com to learn how to recreate them.

Whatever floats your origami boat


These cute and crafty phyllo pastry boats are perfect for kids birthday parties. Place them to float in the centre of a custard pudding, your kids will love it. Visit carnetsparisiens.com to learn how.