Sophie Baumgärtner: peng, paper twine, tissue paper, stainless steel brooch needle
How to better start into the New Year than with a lovely New Year’s cracker? And even better: a cracker you can actually wear the whole year?
But to start at the beginning let me explain that late last year we got a super-urgent order by German Jewelry Design student Sophie Baumgärtner for a “suprise”. A couple of days ago I found these great pictures in our mailbox of the “suprise”: Sophie’s recent side project of “peng” brooches.
Handmade out of paper twine and sometimes a lining of colored tissue paper the brooches are carefully mounted on a stainless steel, nickle-free brooch pin. Sophie’s inspiration for these pieces – by now there are four different lines – are indeed New Year’s crackers and the sound they make then exploding: peng!
Besides the “peng” brooches Sophie is currently working on her diploma at the Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein (Good Luck!) and is also co-curating the Schmuckkantine, a platform for contemporary jewelry.
The “Toy Folder” by Rodrigo Solórzano is an amazing, simple concept – and brings great fun for makers young and old! I need to add that the Toy Folder is not a new idea and that I have not found a source where to buy it but nevertheless I think it’s too great not to share with you.
The concept: One buys a kit, in the form of an A4 cardboard folder, containing the source nets for a variety of animal models. The nets come on acetate slides, the kit contains a torch and the packaging converts into a desktop projector into which one can place a slide and project the desired net onto a candidate material – cardboard is a good possiblitiy but paper, fabric and any other plyable material would be possible.
The beauty is that you can vary the size of the finished animal by adjusting the distance between material and projector – as you can see below!
The Big Bear was Solórzano’s entry for the 2010 Cartasia Biennial of Contemporary Art in Lucca, Italy. The Cartasia focuses entirely on paper and cardboard and huge carboard sculptures can be found in the medieval city center throughout the biennial. Solórzano’s bear was made entirely of waterproofed cardboard and was a staggering 3.5m tall.
The building of 3.5m tall bear seems to be quite some work – but a smaller bear, shark or monkey – or a whole carboard zoo! – would be a great addition for all playrooms and grown-up flats alike.
As mentioned I unfortunately don’t know if or where the Toy Folder is for sale – in case you find it somewhere please let me know!
It’s trly amazing what projects our customers realize with our paper twines. I need to admit that I’ve known Linda Barabé for quite a while (13 years to be exact) and I’ve always admired her creative energy and ideas. Linda says that she has had problems first to come up with a suitable project for the paper twines because they seemed very precious. But eventually it came to her: paper twine dream catchers!
By now Linda Barabé has made a lot of dream catchers because as soon as they’re finished and hang in the house a visitor falls in love with the newly finished piece – and it leaves to catch bad dreams at a different place. Luckily living in the Canadian province of Québec there is an abundance of natural materials and the whole family helps to find old branches, feathers, bones and more. For the big dream catcher shown here a huge, cleaned veal bone was sawn into fine slices by the family butcher.
There are different beliefs of how dream catchers actually work – you can read more about it here on wikipedia. The Ojibwa believe that a dreamcatcher changes a person’s dreams, some say that all bad dreams get caught in the net and only good dreams can filter through.
The three-piece dream catcher shown here was made especially for Linda’s son so the red colored feathers were carefully chosen to his likings and the wooden pieces all come from places that are meaningful to him. The loop itself is wrapped in leather cord and the net is woven/wound out of natural paper twine. Linda Barabé initally followed dream catcher courses in Canada and by now she herself is teaching this tradition as well. Introducing paper twine as a new, natural material is quite a great idea – thanks, Mme. Barabé!
Prototypes for the new KNOT Paper Twine jewelry line
The process to arrive at a finished jewelry design can take quite a while. Usually I start with an idea for a piece, sometimes sketch, sometimes the idea for a new or simplified technique. For the newest pieces in the PaperPhine collection the technique was found quite easily: knots. The knots take advantage of the paper twines’ “body” – the knots form nicely and make little bulbs – and allows to combine different colors in one piece. The technique is simplified and tuned down to its bare essentials and therefore gives the pieces a modern edge.
Made by PaperPhine: Red-Orange Knotted Paper Twine Necklace – a unique piece
The early prototypes are all one-of-a-kind and I tested a lot of different color combinations. The knots already showed beautifully but I was still looking for a simpler form that would allow the wearer to wear the necklace long, short or with a decorative huge knot-like loop. I like wearing bracelets myself a lot (ask the boyfriend about the collection of bracelets and bangles…) so I saw the possibilitiy to wear the piece not only as a necklace but also as a bracelet as a definite bonus.
Made by PaperPhine: Blue Knotted Paper Twine Necklace – another one-of-a-kind color combination
By now the design of the KNOT line is refined and we’ve made a couple of pieces in different colors. Our Facebook fans already got a first glimpse of the finished designs and in a few days I’ll talk about them right here on the blog.
A sidenote: Yes, it’s paper. BUT it’s strong paper, or rather strong paper twine to be exact. This means the KNOT pieces can not only get wet but theoretically you could even put them into the washing machine and not much will happen except some entangeling. Nevertheless we recommend to keep paper jewelry out of the wet so you can enjoy it for a lot of years (and perhaps the pieces even become heirlooms).
One of our current projects: Paper Twine I-Cord Necklaces (DIY Kits)
Sometimes life in the studio is slightly crazy – or rather it’s crazy most of the time but sometimes even more so. The girls and I still have some difficulties concentrating on Christmas in July while Vienna is suffering from a heat wave. But Christmas is a busy time for us and things need to be prepared well in advance (buy all supplies, get boxes for packing, labels printed, necklaces knitted and pictures taken, etc.) not to mention the design process until a product gets the approval by the whole studio and is therefore deemed worthy to be presented to you.
One of the new things we’re working on are DIY Paper Twine Necklace – Kits. Easy and fun to make, available soon (so you can get a head-start on your self-made Christmas presents!) and with nearly endless possibilities to combine colors.
We’ll keep you informed – and now I’m off to get some ice cream (current favorite: lemon) so that thinking about the colder months is not that difficult.
We do have one dress form in the studio that is a big help for taking all kinds of pictures when no one else feels like modelling. We tend to call her – and it’s obviously a she-form! – Suzie or Stracciatella and both quite affectionally, especially the later. To explain, Stracciatella is one of the studio’s favorite ice-cream flavours (“… gelato with a vanilla base and chocolate shavings… It is somewhat analogous to chocolate chip ice cream in North America though the chocolate is intended to be less chunky and more integrated with the gelato. It was invented in 1962 by Enrico Panattoni, the owner of the “La Marianna”, a gelateria in Bergamo in northern Italy.” – wikipedia).
Making a new dress form: layers and layers of differently colored newspapers…
What we like about our old Suzie-Stracciatella is that she’s made of paper from neck to waist (with a wooden base and a neckpiece) so she fits perfectly into the PaperPhine studio. Unfortunately it was impossible to find an all-papery sister for Suzie and therefore we decided to make a dress form ourselves. Based on Suzie – literally formed over her – the new dress form is not quite finished yet.
Taking the new form off the old one was more difficult than expected so now there is a lot of patching to do. Also we have not yet decided what “skin tone” the new dress form will get but we think about a neutral gray so she can wear paper twine jewelry in all colors. And there is no name yet but surely there will be one right after the next visit to the ice-cream parlour!
Paper Star / Craspedia Flowers by kissa design
I tried to warn you about the studio’s current obsession with paper stars but it’s good to see that you’re still reading our blog!
Some of the paper stars that we love most for their simplicity and geometric form (if it’s possible to say that about stars) are handmade by Kathleen who runs kissa design.
One question that arises – especially when having a look at the gorgeous Craspedia Flowers on top of this article – is if these small sculpture are stars? Kathleen herself calls them “Star Urchins” and explains her point of view “Star Urchins are based on the traditional Polish folk art decoration often called a porcupine ball, a style of ornament making that dates back beyond a hundred years. To me, they look like stars or sea urchins, so I call them Star Urchins, but their spiky form has been likened to seed pods and fireworks, too.”
Kathleen’s mother taught her to make porcupine balls when she was a child and her family has been in the “star business” for half a century – definitely a good tradition to pass on and make a living with! Kathleen also adds that “I have developped some of my own techniques and expanded my ability to work with pretty much all different kinds of papers to produce consistent results”.
The Star Urchins and Star Flowers can be found in Kathleen’s shop kissa design on etsy – and I might add that they’re definitely worth a look (and purchase) not only during Christmas season!
BEUTE lamps by herrwolke
Michael Konstantin Wolke / herrwolke is the designer behind the amazing BEUTE lamps made of found and “looted” old cardboard.
To understand the concept you have to know that BEUTE is the German word for “loot” and only by reusing and rearranging the “conquered” cardboard these lampshades can be built. They’re all one-of-a-kind and I find that very aesthetically promote the idea of reusing discarded materials. The colorful bits and pieces of the original imprints and logos on the boxes contrast beautifully with the industrial look of the rolled corrugated cardboard edges.
Michael Konstantin Wolke’s interest in the reuse of found materials and their transformation into useful everyday objects shows in all of his work – and he’s also available for comissioned work in case you’re looking for something special (a note: the studio is based in Cologne, Germany).
The BEUTE lamps can be bought in the dua shop (beware: you’ll need some time admiring all the beautiful furniture there) as well as on the herrwolke website. They’re all one-of-a-kind and special sized can be comissioned as well.
Tia Kramer: Damsel bracelet (Sterling and Handmade Paper) and color samples
The story behind Tia Kramer‘s paper jewelry is intriguing. Defining herself as a “multi-media, installation, sound, and adornment artist” her jewelry emerged directly from experiments with sulpture. When Tia was comissioned to create two huge, free-hanging sculptures in 2003 she decided to work with handmade paper.
Small-scale samples to see how light would filter through the paper and details of Tia Kramer’s finished installation “Suspended Flight” (2003/2004)
While working on the large commisson Tia made a lot of small samples to see how light would filter through the paper. Again this is a main point of working with paper: how it transforms the qualities of light and how it actually changes when the light changes (remember the blog article about the origami lampshades by Studio Snowpuppe – it was also a main concern there). Even though Tia’s first jewelry objects were basically by-products of her larger commission she stays true to herself and still treats them like little sculptures: “Inspired by our relationships to the natural and architectural environment, I create jewelry objects that make visible our interactions with structure and movement. My adornments are performative sculptures for one’s ears, architecture for the body.”
Looking behind the scenes with tools and supplies ready at hand to create a big variety of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more
There is a lot to discover on Tia’s website and the range of colors her pieces come in is amazing. You can even order a custom design in case you’re looking for something very special.
Pixar’s WALL-E inspecting some paper twine
So this is what happens when you take work home and leave both your work (e.g. paper twine bobbins ready for a photo shoot) and your camera unattended. You come back to find some very interesting pictures on your camera that somebody else – e.g. the boyfriend – has taken. And quite obviously he likes to play as well…
We might have to invest into a bigger LEGO crane….