You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Real People: Chemistry student finds stress relief with art of oragami

Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, certainly demands patience and dexterity. For Suwanee resident Rebecca Gieseking, creating intricate, creased shapes takes even more: It’s a challenge to her imagination and science skills.

“The engineering aspects have always been part of my artwork,” said the 24-year-old. “I like making connections between a very logical thought process and also being creative. I couldn’t design what I do without the artistic and the scientific parts.”

Gieseking, a Georgia Tech Ph.D candidate in chemistry, first found her passion for origami when she was a child, and by the time she joined the Girl Scouts, she had a favorite model she followed. The hobby made her consider a career in art.

“In college at Furman University, I double-majored in chemistry and art, but I wasn’t doing a lot of origami,” said Gieseking. “Then I started graduate school in 2010 and didn’t have much time to paint anymore, either. But at the end of my first year, one of the world’s leading origami experts came here and talked about the artistic and scientific side of it, and I was drawn back to it.”

Gieseking began designing avant garde bowls and vases that can take several hours from idea to completion.

“First, I sketch out shapes I think look interesting, then I figure out all the dimensions, how things are to be aligned, how to approach taking one sheet of paper and turning it into these shapes,” she said. “How long it takes depends on the complexity; more complicated pieces take maybe an hour or two to do the design and work out the math. Then it takes time to get the paper painted with everything aligned correctly, followed by four or five hours of folding.”

The results are complex pieces of art that look functional but are, in fact, delicately creased stacked bowls, abstract vases and tree ornaments that resemble seashells. As a member of the North Gwinnett Arts Association, she’s had her creations displayed in Suwanee and Lawrenceville, and some pieces are in the gift shop of the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum on the Tech campus. Buyers have paid between $75 to $100 for her work, but she isn’t actively looking to sell. For now, origami is more of a hobby that gives her brain a rest from the stress of grad school.

“I’ll often just move my laptop off the desk and work on something,” she said. “It’s a different outlet for a similar type of thinking. In my research, I’m thinking about how molecules fit together - which is not all that different from thinking about how paper shapes fit together. But for now, I’m sticking with chemistry; it’s a much more stable career path than origami.”

Every other Wednesday, H.M. Cauley brings you positive stories from our community. To suggest a story idea, call 770-744-3042 or e-mail

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Your guide to the 2017-2018 Cobb County school year
Your guide to the 2017-2018 Cobb County school year

You might have missed some things during the academic off-season in Cobb County. There’s going to be a brand new building at Mountain View Elementary School and a new phase opening at the under-construction Walton High School. And don’t forget about the 24 new principals throughout the district. If you are looking for more things you...
Ex-UPS worker charged with stealing guns
Ex-UPS worker charged with stealing guns

A former UPS driver was arrested for stealing guns from a delivery truck this month, Lilburn police said Friday. Seun Long Vang, 32, was charged with felony theft by taking and drug charges, police spokesman Thomas Bardugon said in a news release. Police also charged Vang’s girlfriend, Chhun Nath Kheav, 26, with felony theft by receiving stolen...
Braves organist continues run at ‘The Ted’ with Georgia State football
Braves organist continues run at ‘The Ted’ with Georgia State football

Matthew Kaminski has been the organist for the Atlanta Braves since 2009. He’s played his tunes plenty of times at Turner Field, but when the Braves packed up and moved to Cobb County for SunTrust Park, so did he. His popularity has grown for playing distracting and funny songs as the opposing batters approach the plate, like theme songs...
07/23 Mike Luckovich: Juice is loose.
07/23 Mike Luckovich: Juice is loose.

Invest Atlanta boosts building facelifts, new projects with tax breaks
Invest Atlanta boosts building facelifts, new projects with tax breaks

Plans to renovate downtown’s Medical Arts Building, construct two new towers in Midtown and build close to 500 new affordable housing units are getting some help from Atlanta’s economic development arm. At its Thursday meeting, Invest Atlanta approved tax breaks and grants for a raft of projects that will bring new housing downtown, add...
More Stories