Workshop review: how to make paper origami lampshades (when you have very little patience)

It’s been a while since I actually crafted something with my bare hands other than a blog post or a room design, but today is the day. I booked myself in for an origami lampshade making workshop at arts centre The Barn in Banchory, Scotland, with Mel Watt from Misty Concepts. Her creations are absolutely stunning and seem to require a lot of skill and patience. I also really like that they are made of paper, which makes it a great eco-friendly alternative to your plastic shades from the high street shops. But I have to be honest with you, when I booked I thought, yay, this will be so much fun! Right now I fear that with all those origami folds my usual lack of patience will play up and I’ll end up sitting grumpy and frustrated in the corner with a badly looking lampshade. But one can only try! This is what happened next:

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As soon as we start with the first A1 sheet (there are two in total, both 120gsm and fire proofed with an eco-friendly coating), I realise that this is not your average relaxing arty crafty class where you leasurely create something while having a chat with the other participants. This is serious business. Origami sweat shop! It requires both patience, precision and a mathematical way of thinking – three things that are not my strong points. How about that for getting out of your comfort zone! ! All eight of us get stuck in and no one says a word. Utter concentration. All you hear is the sharp creasing of the paper: horizontal, vertical, diagonal and all lines need to meet exactly. My brain hurts.


Although I am getting slightly impatient by the end of sheet one (I am one for quick results and there is a lot of repetition involved, folding, folding, more folding…), I get excited when all of a sudden the sheet starts to jump into shape and a structure begins to form as by magic. Once all the creases are in place and sharpened, it’s time to ‘crush’ or rather concertina the paper. Carefully of course.

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Sheet two gets done in half the time. We all know what we’re doing – kind of – and it’s amazing how much you remember. “Origami is very good for your memory actually”, Mel says. “It’s also meant to be quite relaxing.” Well, I don’t know about that second bit, Mel. Sparks are flying as the production line continues after the tea break.

We all finish around the same time. The two sheets get glued together and form a beautiful globe. Look! Glowing with pride, both me and my shade.

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I’d say, get yourself onto a workshop with Mel. It’s hard work, but fun and you actually manage to create something pretty cool in one afternoon. This type of craft is also perfect for anyone who wouldn’t class themselves as particularly ‘crafty’ and is perhaps more of an engineer than an artist. It is very exact. Mel does workshops around Scotland, so if you are up here, do try and book yourself onto one of her classes. If you don’t feel crafty, live on the other side of the planet or just want to get your hands on a gorgeous ready made one, visit the web shop of Misty Concepts and order one of Mel’s (far more complicated! The folds! How is she still sane?) shades online. Knowing now how much work is involved, I can honestly say from experience, they are worth every penny.

Misty Concepts web shop

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Misty Concepts can also be found at Flock, contemporary Craft & Design Christmas fair at The Barn in Banchory, Saturday and Sunday 18 + 19 November 2017, 10am-5pm.

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