One of the things Japanese artists and crafters do best is take the beauty of traditional Japanese arts and modernize them.

This is made easier by the fact that so many traditional Japanese arts already had an ultra-modern geometric style to begin with.

For example, the ancient Seikaiha pattern, used in kimono dying for nearly a thousand years.   The pattern was originally used on ancient Chinese maps to signify the ocean, and turned up as a Japanese textile pattern on a Haniwa figure from the 4th century!  Yet, what could be more modern?

I take inspiration from this old-new blend in my Paper Demon jewelry.

But sometimes I like to feature the work of Japanese crafters in my jewelry.  A few years ago, on a supply buying visit to Japan, I discovered the jewelry supply boutique Beads Shop J4.  The artists behind this shop are dedicated to bringing traditional Japanese beauty into modern accessory supplies.  I love them!  They don’t sell online (that is to say, they do sell online but they don’t ship overseas!), so I visit their shop in the Aasakusabashi Beads District of Tokyo as often as I can.

The technique that these artists developed is to encase vintage kimono and yukata fabric in acrylic and cut and seal the acrylic in interestingly shaped beads.  I find these completely entrancing.

There are endless possibilities for how to use these beads.  So far, I’ve only used them in some really awesome earrings!

Find them all at Paper Demon Jewelry!

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My challenge as a jewelry maker is remembering that sometimes my materials can speak for themselves.  I can get so caught up in the challenge of folding something fabulous or winding wire into interesting shapes that sometimes I forget that just showing the paper is all that’s really necessary.

I finally remembered that this week, and decided to try a few simple styles with my most beautiful chiyogami in simple basic frames.

The frames came from Fusion Beads, my favorite source for collage and resin blanks.  I tried antiqued silver and brass for this project, because I think the aged look sets off the organic, exotic feel of the Japanese paper beautifully.

The paper is my best and favorite–in glorious shades of teal and turquoise, orange and yellow, and iridescent silver and gold (a one of a kind paper that i’ve never seen outside the shop in Asakusabashi where i found it last summer).

The biggest challenge is, for me, always the resin.  I know there are loads of crafters out there making all kinds of gorgeous things with resin, but for me, it’s torture.  I make 4 things before 1 works.  It’s a nightmare.  But then, when it works, it’s gorgeous!  What to do?  it’s a conundrum.

Well, at least til I found Magic Glos, a UV-curing resin.  One part, so no mixing, and a 30 minute cure under a UV light (or sunlight) instead of 3 miserable days with resin.  For ADHD jewelry makers like me, this is a godsend.  Here it is on brass.  What do you think?

My kanji stamps finally arrived from Japan, so I can start personalizing my tiny Note to Self Journals.  Personalized jewelry makes such a great holiday gift.  I am happy to have found a way to make personalized, customized origami jewelry with a Paper Demon touch. Right now I have stamps for:

eternity

believe

light

gratitude

demon

life

beauty

pretty

ki (energy)

Also tiny birds, butterflies, and Japanese and English alphabets.

Ki, Eternity, Inspire

I love these little journals.  They’re folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese washi paper.

They aren’t the most sophisticated tiny bound book in the world,  but they have a sweet simplicity that speaks volumes.

1 1/4" high

Find them at Paper Demon Jewelry:  http://paperdemonjewelry.etsy.com.

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams:  last week it was Queer Etsy Street Team.  This week it’s Crafting in Color Team.  So suit up, Crafting in Color Team, and let’s go!

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There are different kinds of shops on Etsy.  There are those that are totally focused, have a single item or type of item, create that one thing perfectly, and sell it steadily.

And then there are shops that are a little crazier, that reveal the presence of a curious and restless creative spirit, someone who’s willing to experiment with new materials and different ideas.

You probably can guess that I am partial to the latter.  If you didn’t know that, you haven’t visited my PaperDemon Jewelry shop yet.

And that’s why I love Glamasaurus

This is a shop that I appreciate on a human as well as an artistic level.  The artist, Andreanna Kostantas, is an American expat living in Switzerland, and she’s clearly someone with a sense of humor.  From her motto– “so sweet it will give you cavities” –to her unpretentious list of preferred materials –“polymer clay, plastic, glue, pixie dust” — she’s a person who just doesn’t take herself and her art too seriously.  And on Etsy, which definitely has a  lot of the “artiste” attitude going on, that is refreshing indeed.

Whether it’s her Lego earrings, her polymer clay donut, cookie, and cupcake jewelry, or her mysterious and charming shrubbery, Andreanna  makes things that make you smile.

Surely you need a set of yarn shrubs that have been, in Andreanna’s words, “carefully shaped using my keen shrubber’s sense.”

And for those of you looking for Hello Kitty gauged studs, her shop is certainly the place to go.

I appreciate artists who are willing to be goofy and willing to admit mistakes.  I like seeing that she still listed the goofy Domokun Cupcake necklace above, even though she “iced it kind of lopsided” (so it’s on sale!).

And it goes without saying that I like her Japanese-inspired aesthetic!  As her shop description reads, “Kawaii Harajuku Sweets Deco Kitsch Jewelry Accessories”  From Domokun, to her Hello Kitty studs, to her recent “kamikaze guitar pick bracelet,”  she definitely has a thing for Japan.

And, I also appreciate artists who help other artists out.   Andreanna does major work on behalf of the Crafting in Color Team.  She’s one of the main CIC Team Leaders, and definitely keeps the trains running on time.

For someone as utterly disorganized and random as me, this kind of contribution is astounding.   How does she do it?  I don’t know.  But  I am so grateful.

Check out Glamasaurus over the web:

http://blog.glamasaurus.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mommysaurus
http://www.twitter.com/glamasaurus
http://www.myspace.com/glamasaurus
http://www.facebook.com/Glamasaurusshop

It’s been crazy at Paper Demon Jewelry this past month!   Gift bags, giveaways, promotions, 4 local markets, teaching my first series of Japanese Papercrafting classes at the splendid EMU  Craft Center, and a steady stream of orders on Etsy.  Amidst all that, trying to find time to create and perfect new jewelry designs, and switch our entire operations over to all-green mediums, sealers and finishes.  (I’m excited to post on this cool all-natural specialty fiber hardening product I’ve discovered–Paverpol–that comes from the Netherlands!)

But for tonight, let’s keep it short.  I want to introduce my latest items on Etsy.  I’ve been doing a lot with chiyogami/yuzen paper lately.  Actually, ever since my post on the Japanese Paper Place.  For awhile there I was completely entranced with my stained glass, sculptural, and shoji jewelry, all of which played on the color, translucence, and fiber texture of pure plain washi.

But as I explored the hundreds and hundreds of brilliantly colored patterns of chiyogami/yuzen washi at the Japanese Paper Place, I started to feel that maybe I’d abandoned it prematurely!

Chiyogami/yuzen, by the way, is the colorful patterned Japanese paper that so many Japanese crafts are made from.  Here’s how The Japanese Paper Place defines the term:

These wonderfully decorative patterns on paper, known as Chiyogami, are silkscreened onto machine made sheets of mixed kozo and sulphite.  They are more popularly known as Yuzen in the United States.

Originally, Chiyogami designs were developed in the Edo period as woodblock prints by papermakers during the farming season for use as accessories in the house to enliven the interiors. They were based on the bright kimono textiles which the papermakers from the countryside saw on the fashionable wealthier ladies in the larger cities, especially in Kyoto, where the area known as Yuzen had become famous for its sophisticated techniques for dyeing cloth.

Chiyogami was meant to be cut into pieces and made into paper dolls or pasted on tea tins or small paper boxes; still today the scale of the patterns is reminiscent of these early uses.  And still many of the symbols depicted hearken back to auspicious occasions when fancy kimonos would be worn: cranes for long life; bamboo for flexibility; plum blossoms and pine boughs for beauty and longevity.

The striking pigment colours, careful registration of screens and wide range of designs make these papers ideal for picture mats, books and box making.

The range of Chiyogami patterns is endless, and Japanese designers today are tireless in their development of new fascinating patterns.  These patterns are constantly stocked at The Japanese Paper Place.”

Yuzen patterns are the ones that look most like kimono fabric patterns and contain a lot of gold.  Chiyogami are traditionally more repetitive, with smaller scale repeating patterns that are excellent for utilitarian crafts (ie, wrapping tea canisters).

Here are some chiyogami images, taken from The Japanese Paper Place’s website.  The first block are quite modern patterns; the second block are more traditional (don’t stress about the ‘discontinued’ note–the JPP stocks over 1000 patterns and is constantly cycling in new ones and phasing out old ones, and can order anything a person needs, as I found out this past week!  Thanks Nancy!)

Some modern chiyogami

Some more-traditional chiyogami patterns

How can you not yearn to create with these papers?

I mean, the austere simplicity of kozo washi is a fine thing….  But look at these colors! 

So, to make a very long story (with nice pictures) short….  I am working on chiyogami jewelry this past couple of weeks.  And here it is.  Even Chiyogami Gem Pencils for Back to School!  They’re selling like hotcakes–especially the Chiyogami Gem Bracelet.

The Geometric Possibilities of Chiyogami

"All Our Efforts Must Tend Toward Light" inscribed on back

Chiyogami Gem Pencils

Sleek Modern Sterling silver dangle earrings

On a chunky Susan Kazmer Bezel

Chiyogami Gem Bracelet

Every jewelry-designer’s dream: to be the featured designer in the spectacular international jewelry blog, The Beading Gem’s Journal!

And lo, it has become reality for The Paper Demon!

The Paper Demon "On the Newsstands"!

How thrilling!

We love So You Think You Can Dance (hereafter SYTYCD) at our house.  We watch it faithfully.  It’s a really cool show.  First off, you get to see spectacular dancing.  You also get a crash course on the styles and lingo of the dance world.  I grew up dancing as a kid and young adult–mostly ballet–and I like showing off my knowledge:  “dude just totally biffed his grand jete!!  Where is his technique??”

But my favorite part of all is actually the judges.  Nigel Lithgow, Adam Shankman, and Mia Michaels.  These judges, leading Emmy-winning choreographers, dancers, and producers of dance, are passionate.  They are committed.   They’re funny and dramatic, and incredibly articulate and well schooled in dance.  But most of all, they are generous of spirit.  They  believe in the dancers and the importance of what they achieve through their dancing.

Mia Michaels is one of my heroes.   She is one of the most ‘real’ people I’ve ever seen on TV.  She ties the professional and the personal together and demands total honesty from the dancers.  Her choreography is spectacular and powerful and heart-wrenching.  She’s faced personal trauma in her life that she processes with great, if sometimes startling, honesty herself.  And, she has amazing style, and wears great jewelry.

Mia Michaels

Why do I bring up the wonderful Mia Michaels on the PDJ Blog?  Well, the Paper Demon’s wonderful partner has a cousin who is a promoter in Las Vegas.  One of her good friends is Stacey Tookey, one of the leading choreographers on the program.  Through this friend of the cousin of the partner of the Paper Demon, there is a possibility, a possibility mind you, that a piece of Paper Demon Jewelry will end up being worn by Mia Michaels herself!

I think Mia Michaels would look cool in Paper Demon paper jewelry.  Paper jewelry is fluid– it moves with the body; it’s light–it doesn’t weigh down your grand jetes!   It floats–like the best dance.

I could see her in some washi stained glass jewelry. Or recycled vegan jewelry.  Or best of all, reversible riveted chunky cuff!

Reversible Riveted Chunky Cuff

How cool would that be?