I recently discovered the paper jewelry art of Ana Hagopian. It blew my mind, and changed the whole landscape of the paper jewelry ‘enterprise’ for me.
This stuff is not about pretty little origami earrings, as nice as those are. This is wearable sculptural art that draws out the integral qualities of handmade paper (I think she makes her own, but it seems similar to Japanese washi in fiber texture) and explores the limits of paper worn on the body.
There are so many technical issues involved in getting paper to make those berry shapes, for instance, and hold that shape while being worn on a warm body,that I can’t even begin to comprehend how she does it. But her work inspired me to go back to a project I’ve been playing with for a couple months, which is abstract shape paper jewelry.
I started exploring a few ideas this week, and am pleased with the results. I like how the spidery fibers of the washi are echoed by the delicacy of each individual vintage burnished copper and gold embroidery filament.
The quality of paper that I like, even more than the colors, is the translucency. I’m drawn to making jewelry as thin and gossamer-like as possible–the challenge is, keeping it wearable! The irony is not lost on me that I, who sleeps and showers in the same pair of earrings for weeks on end, am the one dedicated to fragility as beauty.