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Paper Jewelry: The New Way to Bring Origami to Life

Paper Jewelry: The New Way to Bring Origami to Life

I am constantly on the hunt for exciting and unique styles when it comes to fashion. Jewelry is the part of fashion I feel I can have the most fun with. Throwing on just the right piece can provide that perfect pop to bring your whole look together. And don’t you just love when you discover something that becomes a conversation piece because of just how intricate and different it is? I get so excited about anything that has an incredible story you can share as to how it was created.

I will tell you, one of the most imaginative jewelry ideas I have come across recently is paper origami jewelry. Not only is it so complex and available in the most distinctive designs, but you immediately know how carefully each piece has been handcrafted by someone with incredible talent as soon as you see it.

Cleo Raksanyi started her business just a few months ago. She has been creating origami since the age of 3 and at around 13, she discovered modular origami and began challenging herself to fold smaller and smaller. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult enough to fold origami at a normal size. To try creating art pieces by making the designs even smaller, that is a skill that deserves some serious recognition! 

Cleo is French and grew up in Paris in a family full of artists and musicians. Her mother fostered in her and her two sisters a tremendous love of crafting. She was a teen when her mother began making modular origami earrings, but she didn’t try it herself until about 5 years ago. Since then she has tried many different jewelry techniques using wire, beads, macrame … but always came back to paper and origami because it allows for an infinite variety of shapes, patterns, colors, and textures. It is the media that inspires her the most.

The process for her origami earrings begins with first selecting the paper. There is an infinite variety of papers, but not so many that work for small origami. Her paper comes from many different sources. She has even used the wrapping of a chocolate box, and an old map! Her favorite is chyogami paper, from a place that makes it in Canada. It has amazing Japanese patterns lined with shiny gold or silver. It is unfortunately too thick for modular origami earrings but works great for the stingrays, horses, and leaves she creates.

Once she has selected the right paper, she then cuts it to the necessary size and folds it. Each design has to be mounted to the wire differently. After the earrings are mounted, she applies 3 layers of varnish to make them resistant and waterproof. Once dry, she finds the perfect bead to accompany the paper piece and mounts them all together on a sterling silver or gold plated hook.

For her three leaf design, she makes the chandelier herself with brass or silver plated wire.

The process for the collage earrings is completely different. First she cuts shapes out of very dense upcycled cardboard that would have otherwise ended up in the trash. Then she selects paper from all the tiny scraps she has leftover. Her favorite part is getting to match colors and patterns. The strips of paper are then glued together on the cardboard shape, she drills a hole, and applies three layers of varnish. The metal used for these earrings is brass or steel.

The back of the shape is left as plain cardboard because she doesn’t want to hide what they are made of. You cannot get any more unique than that!!

The process that goes into bringing these pieces to life is so intriguing, but the steps that go into finding new pieces is even more interesting! She finds origami and creates that design smaller. She can feel right away whether it is going to work as a piece of jewelry. 

The carousel horses she created 2 months ago came to mind when she was looking through an old origami book. She took what she came across in the book and translated the design to something that would work for a piece of jewelry. 

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Her latest designs are not origami, but paper collage. This idea came when she was feeling bad for having to throw away pieces of paper that were too small for origami. 

Her most popular design, the stingrays, were her son’s idea when he was 3 and obsessed with stingrays. The most difficult part of each design has been to find an elegant way to make it hold together, and that was particularly challenging for the stingrays.

She has found something she enjoys doing all day long and her dream is to make this a full time job. Her business has only just begun but she is very motivated and her head is overflowing with inspiration. This is how greatness is created! 

You can find her designs on Etsy or Instagram.

 Use code “STINGRAY” for a 10% discount!

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