“Creation out of nothing. I often say that origami is as close as you can get to that. It’s a piece of paper. Beyond that, you don’t need anything else.” – Joseph Wu
It was Geralyn Socha-Broccoli’s wedding in late 2016 that motivated her to launch her origami-themed small shop Branching Off Studio. “My husband and I chose to have our wedding based off the ancient Japanese tradition of 1,000 origami cranes. It is said if you fold 1,000 cranes for your wedding, you will be blessed with the ultimate wish,” she recalled. “Origami flowers and cranes decorated our entire reception. We put them in glass ornaments as favors, made them into boutonnières and tucked some into my updo as a hairpiece. Guests loved all the flowers and cranes and immediately after the wedding, they started asking me to make more as gifts. This is when I decided to open shop.”
Named for its tree symbolism, Branching Off Studio focuses exclusively on gifts and decor created through origami. “As tree branches stem off in many directions, so do my items. They all incorporate origami in many different ways,” explained Socha-Broccoli. Such origami offerings include jewelry, mobiles, wall art and dream catchers, chandeliers, paper bouquets and rearview mirror charms, all constructed from sheets of paper. “I have always been creative and been able to envision things before they are made,” she said. “Sometimes, I am at the store and see a piece of printed paper and can just picture it made into flowers. I’ll start pairing it with other papers and colors and a bouquet is born. Sometimes, it starts with a beautiful vase or container I have come across.”
Socha-Broccoli designs many of the Branching Off Studio’s creations through custom orders. “I love when customers ask for special pieces made from book pages, maps, sheet music or any type of paper that gives it more meaning to them,” Socha-Broccoli professed. “About half of my orders are one of a kind and I love having conversations with my customers and really getting to know them to create pieces that are meaningful to them.” The paper professional pointed to “a wedding card featuring an origami bride and groom folded from dollar bills” as her most shop popular item, but personally prefers the “floral design in a small square glass vase topped with multiple flowers and filled with two origami cranes inside” as her favorite. “Although there are other artists who offer origami, no one else offers such a wide variety,” Socha-Broccoli said of Branching Off Studio.
Over the last few years, Socha-Broccoli has enhanced her techniques and folded her way to success. “I now offer about 25 items in many different variations in two online shops and three local boutiques. I am always creating something different so it is never boring,” she shared. “There are days of just folding flowers and creating bouquets. I also have days of folding cranes and lining them up on a platform for a UV and moisture resistant finishing spray and later creating jewelry and car charms with them.”
Up next for Branching Off Studio: origami ornaments! “I have created several different types of ornaments,” Socha-Broccoli teased. “I’ll have the glass ball with tiny origami cranes inside and I’ll be offering, for the first time, an origami crane ornament with a diffuser cage and lava stone to add your favorite holiday scent.” Deck your halls this holiday season with an ornament from Branching Off Studio and check out all the different paper designs on the shop’s website here.