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!

Stumbled upon this amazing post from “A Journey Round My Skull” on vintage illustration from Japan while following some tweets from a new follow on Twitter…. 

The first 15 fans of Paper Demon Jewelry on Facebook scored a freebie!  They will get the brand new, as yet unreleased, Paper Demon Jewelry DIY Origami Crane Christmas Ornament Kit or Origami Crane Earrings Kit!

Paper Demon DIY Origami Crane Christmas Ornament Kit

The kits, now in production, include pre-folded Paper Demon cranes made from the finest handmade imported papers in my collection  (2 tiny ones for earrings; one large one for Christmas Ornaments), glaze, s0me really nice coordinating accent beads selected by MOI, all the hardware, special hanging cord from my travels in Japan, and instructions.   All you need is a paintbrush and a pair of pliers (needlenose are best but any will work)!  They will come in a range of patterns:  Mostly they’ll be in colors of Japanese floral, but they’ll also come in retro, geometric, and abstract patterns.

Paper Demon DIY Origami Crane Christmas Ornament Kit

The cranes are pre-treated for durability and strength, and only need glazing for shine and a bit of water-resistance.

The one in the picture features one of my all time favorite papers–an ultra thick high end embossed paper with a Japanese floral pattern: white and red winter plums on a shimmering frosted metallic silver background with lovely tiny metallic gold accents.  I pick up the pairing of frosted metallic silver and gold in the gold and silver textured beads above and dangling below, and gold hardware with silver vintage cord.  Red seed beads and a red sequin finish the look.

I have one of these on my own tree. It shimmers softly and magically in the Christmas lights.