On the art of folding paper (and the anxiety of gift wrapping)


Ok, so while my thoughts have been on pretty lights and the fast approaching festive season, I have a confession to make: I am HORRENDOUS at wrapping presents. There’s nothing I love more than giving them, and I love finding things that I know will make someone else smile. Things that are tied up in memories we’ve shared, something that shows I’ve really thought about the gift, or that I know will make them laugh. Sometimes if I see something that reminds me of somebody then I’ll buy it for them as a little treat. I blame my childhood of being brainwashed by that brilliant Royal Mail campaign, ‘saw this and thought of you’.

Sadly, when it comes to the art of gift wrapping, I’m somewhat lacking in my abilities. Sure, I can pick some lovely paper and find some nice ribbon to go with it, but something in my brain hasn’t quite grasped the best way to make the present look, well, presentable. I don’t have the patience to master the art of folding paper perfectly and so what I’m left with is usually a mass of semi-crumpled wrapping, that’s a bit ripped through lack of consideration for pointy edges or from where I’ve accidentally stuck the sellotape in the wrong place. Luckily, the nice folks at the Baltic are here to help people master the art of paper folding with their origami workshops on Sunday 10th November.


Of course given my incompetence when it comes to wrapping up presents, when I was offered the chance to attend a taster session of the workshop with the Baltic’s expert paper folder, Kit, I knew I’d probably not have much of an aptitude for it. So I brought Polley along for moral support. The purpose of the workshops are to introduce beginners to the art of origami, and since Christmas is quickly approaching teach you how to make beautiful festive decorations. After being given a little insight into the background of origami, Kit decided we should spend the session learning how to make paper doves. So she started our taster session by showing us some basic folds, before walking us through each step of the way. After a few not so great attempts and some very strange looking doves, we finally managed to get the hang of things. The workshops themselves will cover not only how to make doves but also angels and stars, as well as Japanese gift wrapping techniques. Much to mine and Sarah’s disappointment, there wasn’t enough time to teach us the gift wrapping technique but it looked amazing and a lot less hassle than fiddling on with half-sticky sellotape and dog-eared wrapping paper.

If you’re interested in attending one of the workshops, make sure you book in advance as places are all ready filling up. Tickets are £9.95 each so it’s not the cheapest way to spend your afternoon, but I’d definitely recommend it as a great way to pick up some present wrapping tips before the festive season starts. You can book tickets in the Baltic shop or buy them online here.

dress: Urban Outfitters, necklace: vintage, watch: Michael Kors


  1. November 4, 2013 / 7:56 pm

    What a cute idea! I'm actually a master present wrapper, as weird as that sounds, from days working in retail – before Christmas we all had to be trained to wrap presents that we up to the standards of the department store and honestly, it was a bit likely military training but it certainly got the job done in terms of teaching me what I need to know. But an origami workshop would have been a lot more fun, no doubt about it 🙂

  2. November 4, 2013 / 10:55 pm

    I'm nowhere near but I'd love to do something like that. And I actually love wrapping presents – or should I say, I used to love wrapping presents and going to town on them to make them look beautiful but nowadays I try to get it all done as fast as possible (before the boys wake up on the morning of the 25th).

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