filed under: art, design, let's chat!, metal, mixed media, paper
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i had to remember to breathe when i saw these wondrous paper creations from california artist francesca vitali, aka fru. this talented designer from rome, italy crafts stunning jewelry from folding and weaving layers and layer of papers, then integrates them with other materials such as copper and leather to create her gorgeous frucci design collection. everything is so precise and pristine, with well defined edges, but still soft and wearable. and i love her color combinations and finishing details. let’s have a chat with fru and find out more!
q: where do you live and where do you make your jewelry?
a: at the moment i live in southern california. iâ€™m here because of my work. iâ€™m a penitent scientist trying to transition into art. i make my pieces mostly at home, i have set up a little corner studio, but to tell you the truth i generally spread my work in progress everywhere. i also have access to a jewelry studio at my school, where i work with metalâ€¦especially soldering metal, which is something i’m not allowed to do at home!
q: what is your background, and did you ever study art formally?
a: for the longest time i’ve regretted not pursuing my creative nature by studying art! my formal education background is in science. i got my “laurea” in chemistry in italy and my phD in organic chemistry in switzerland. since then, i’ve being working in research as structural biologist at a different university, but something changed since i came here (to the united states). i started thinking again of my art education, and last summer i attended my very first formal class in metal, at penland school of craft. that experience changed my life! after penland, i signed up for a class at calstate fullerton taught by a great metalsmither, christina smith, and next spring i’ll attend an intensive two month jewelry course in san francisco. and i’m also considering applying for grad school.
q: can you tell us a little bit about your collection?
a: i started this new line of woven/folded jewelry almost three years ago, when my sister, who knew how much i enjoy working with paper, got me some pre-cut paper strips. she knew one day i would come up with a good use for themâ€¦and i did! i like to repurpose old techniques with new media. one of my preferred techniques at the moment is weaving. iâ€™m still experimenting with new paper shapes, new paper sources and new combinations of materials. i use shopping bags, old magazine pages, old catalog pages from my lab, coupons, old maps, museum newsletters, and new paper too. so far this has been a great creative process that is still evolving!
q: do you think there is a connection between art and science, and do you find inspiration in the combination?
a: i definitively think art and science are connected and the link is nature. for me, it is interesting to attempt to both understand and describe nature. iâ€™ve been creative all my life, and for some time i thought science could be creative tooâ€¦but there is nothing in the world that gives me as much pleasure as working on one of my pieces!
i get inspired by everything surrounding me, i guess. i never really know exactly where my inspirations come from, because normally they all come during the night while iâ€™m sleeping. sometimes i wake up in the morning with an idea and i canâ€™t stop thinking of it until i make it happen! kind of crazy, no?!
q: does it come naturally to you to blend the left brain analytical type of thinking with the right brain creative way?
a: i don’t know if it comes naturally, because i’m dyslexic and so to me left or right makes little difference! i will say that while my “right brain” background is self-taught, luckily i come from a family of great crafters (my mum is a great knitter, and my grandma was an excellent embroiderer).
q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: i like to give my customers lots of choices, so i have a broad price range ($9 to $250). people can just “taste” my paper jewelry for few dollars buying the cubetto earrings, or they can select very elaborate pieces that of course are more expensive.
thank you fru!