Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Origami-Inspired Jewelry from Jenna Fizel

Jenna Fizel
Cambridge, MA
Tell me a little about what you make.
I make jewelry and sculpture based on curve-fold origami techniques. Each of my pieces starts as a single, continuous  piece of mylar or polypropylene which I cut using a CNC paper cutter. I then carefully shape each piece into a three dimensional "knotted" form.
How and when did you start working with myar?
I've been making these forms, and related forms, for awhile (about four years) using paper. I always wanted to apply them to jewelry making, and to try alternative materials for larger scale shapes. However, paper will disintegrate and crumple at small sizes. I tried many different translucent materials before finding mylar and polypropylene. Mylar is easy to fold on score lines, and looks crystalline. However, if not handled properly during folding it can crack along its folds. Polypropylene is more resistant to tearing, but harder to coax into shape. It also has a cloudier appearance.
 How would you describe your style?
While I very much admire design that is simple and clean, I always find myself drawn towards complexity in both my own work and my personal style. Instead, I try to strive for coherence and balance within intricate structures. 
What sets your work apart?
My work combines traditional and high tech practices to create something that, I believe, draws on the strength of both. I also try to use deep relationships in my designs. The curved forms I make are based on a category of shapes which were first used by the Bauhaus, and which have mathematical significance.
I know that you're mom is a quilter. Did she impact your creativity as you grew up?
I've been making "things" all my life. As a kid, my parents encouraged me to create projects out of household items like boxes, tape, bed sheets, etc. My mom first taught me to sew (along with my babysitter) when I was four, and I've been sewing off and on ever since. In recent years I've tried to return the support by helping my mom develop her web presence. We're now planning to do some collaborative projects with a combination of quilting and wearable electronics.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I tend to be inspired by whatever I have to deal with in my daily life. If I need a new bag, I'll try to think one up. Or  if I want to bind a book, I'll try it myself first. This jewelry and sculpture are based off of a long term research project I worked on in college.
Is this your full-time work?
No. By day I am a computer programmer and designer. I work on large-scale, networked applications for museums and other institutions, usually for the purpose of displaying large amounts of information in an immersive and interactive way.

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