Materials: White paper, Origami paper, Metal rings, Paper craft glue
After learning about the necklace project, I knew right away I wanted to do something with origami. I chose origami because I like the challenge of learning a new shape or animal to construct. I delved into various sites to find what I felt would work best for the necklace. Before selecting the lotus flower as the motif for my necklace, I had thought cranes or even butterflies and balloons would work. The first intention had been to create a whimsical feel for the type of person I imagined wearing my ‘necklace’. The trouble of using origami, turning it into a chain especially, is the worry about the paper ripping or not being able to support the weight. The trouble of connecting the origami paper was solved with the use of chain pieces generally used with jewelry however the paper can easily slip through the rings.
The decision to use a lotus flower had not appeared right away. In fact, I looked at other flower first. I was not selecting at random. I wanted something that would be simple enough to fold while still holding personal meaning for the theme. Whimsy and childishness went out the window from there. I went with one of the most basic, but important ideas: life. A common idea life may be but the importance of it cannot be tampered. Life is a gift no matter the circumstances surrounding it therefore the lotus flower works perfectly.
In order to be able to explain the theme better, I dug up some research on lilies. Even the individual color meanings. Common themes of lotuses found through various religions include purity, life and rebirth. The ideas behind the lotus stem from the fact that lotus flowers begin life down in murky, muddy water however, reaching or the light, it eventually blossoms into a pristine flower on the surface.
Lotuses sprout in the colors of white, pink, purple, red and blue. I chose to stick with the natural colors because of the meanings associated with each one. The most common lily I used is the white ones, which in fact envelope smaller lotuses of the other colors. The white highlights purity of the mind, body and spirit and I used this to frame the other colors. The blue is for knowledge and wisdom, red for feelings such as love and compassion or the beauty of an open heart while purple is mystic and is used as a symbol of homage. The pink lotus is the ‘supreme lotus’ and is associated with the highest deity.
When arranging these colors on the necklace, or rather a chain, I had no particular placement in mind beyond keeping the colors to one side of the necklace. I tried to place colors so they were not next to a same one while placing the shade of one color next to the shade of another that appeared most visually pleasing to me. The decision to keep the colors to one side instead of throughout was to create a different type of balance. The colors versus the less demanding all white half. The pattern of the lotus flowers themselves help to create a rhythm that evolves with the addition of the colors. It is meant to accent the change of emotions one feels when facing the various colors. The chain holds no actual line shape and instead can be moved to the viewer’s needs. The intention was to allow a shift that flows along the body so that the figure and the necklace compliment each other’s movements. The curving path the necklace generally took lead to a meandering pattern. All these elements helped to create a cohesive piece of work.
The aesthetic apparent in the necklace highlights the realities of life. The imperfection of the folds and the inability to have every lotus flower the same. The geometric shapes of the origami lotuses contrast with the fact they represent something natural and that they create such a curved line. The imperfections within the folded paper associate with the fact that no lotus flower is ever exactly like the other. It is a truth of life that should still be appreciated. Imperfection is all around in the world but it a fundamental fact of life.