Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Miniature Masterpieces: Origami Ornaments

Written by Emma Davidson for Canberra's Got Style

In my first ever assignment for Canberra's Got Style, I interviewed Liz Knox from Origami Ornaments about her passion for the little things in life.
Liz's etsy profile describes her as an IT worker with a Commerce degree in marketing and IT. But this daytime office worker has a secret life: she's been making origami since Grade Four, and now turns her miniature masterpieces into unique earrings and pendants. “I'm typically very impatient, but I actually find it kind of calming,” she says.
When she was at uni, Liz says she “used to get all these flyers and would cut them into squares. There was always a piece leftover to make a smaller square, and then an even smaller square... I used to make origami from gum wrappers and other little pieces of paper.” All her origami are hand-folded, making the tiny cranes all the more impressive.
After her mum suggested she do “something useful” with the delicate cranes, Liz began creating unique lacquered jewellery from them. You can find her work at her etsy store, and on Saturdays at Gorman House Markets.
Her inspiration to turn her origami into jewellery was a response to how amazed people were. “If people like them, they would really like wearing them,” Liz says. She started out selling her pieces at a Gorman House Markets stall with a couple of friends, around two years ago.

Branching out into resin lacquered puzzle pieces was something she tried in the hope for an easier option. While the puzzle pieces are not as easy as Liz had hoped, they are not as fragile as origami, and have a slightly different appeal. With both the origami and puzzle pieces, Liz enjoys the colour, pattern, and intricacy: “kind of like a tub of rainbow confetti”.

One of her highlights in creating origami jewellery was having her work appreciated by a Japanese person she met during a work trip to Malaysia. Another highlight was a custom order for an older lady who wanted a bold colour combination including pink, green, and purple.

But one of her favourite pieces of work isn't a custom order. The green leaf fan set – earrings and a pendant – were something new for Liz. Created from a triangle, not a square, it shows the pattern of the paper in a different way to the cranes. And being her favourite colour helps!

Liz sees that online exposure is what will help new Australian jewellery designers break into the international scene, but getting people to physically see the pieces is important. She says that for new designers, it's very costly to get into the US, but “we do have good support from Australian buyers”.
When asked about her dream, Liz says she would love to work on her origami jewellery full time, “to work creating and making people smile”. She's also thinking about experiments with fabric origami, and larger scale sculpture origami.

Meet Liz in person, and see her unique range, at the Gorman House Markets every Saturday; join the Origami Ornaments fans on Facebook; or buy online at the Origami Ornaments Etsy store
Origami Ornaments will also be at Canberra's Handmade Market on February 7th at Albert Hall.


JustJess said...

I LOVE her work. I own a pair of her earrings, and will cash-up to add to the collection at the next 'Handmade'!

origami ornaments said...

Emma was so friendly and I had lots of fun talking with her. =)

Thanks so much for featuring my work, it's more than made my day.