Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Shrouded by a history of political intrigue, Ireland's grandiose Connagh Castle sits ominously atop a bluff in the Brade Valley. Ireland is also home to featured jewelry designer Angela O'Kelly.

O'Kelly is truly in line with the new wave of contemporary jewelry designs from Ireland.

Though the Green Isle is renowned for its intricate Celtic jewelry, some designers like O'Kelly have opted to go against tradition by following a different aesthetic.

An alumna of the Edinburgh College of Art, and the University College Dublin, O'Kelly's love of painter Mark Rothko's "fabulous combinations of color" largely influence her design approach, which combines dyed paper, yarn, wire, silver, nylon and Perspex.

Like Korean designer Kiwon Wang, O'Kelly creates innovative jewelry that is unusual, colorful, and playful. "I began experimenting with paper making and paper manipulation while studying for a jewelry degree at Edinburgh College of Art. I can achieve a light, spontaneous colorful effect working with paper," she explains.

"Inspiration for my pieces is derived from observing landscapes, rock formations, bog lands, and sea life. I combine the paper with fabric, felt, metal, and cord using a variety of textile and jewelry techniques. Texture and color are my main consideration; texture is achieved by layering hard and soft fibers and knotting and sewing paper cord."

Using old newspapers and "specialist papers" from Japan, Thailand, and India, O'Kelly's pieces are clean and spherical, with items resembling feather boas, small, turbine-like fans, amoebas, and tubing.

The unique simplicity of the final product is a marvel of execution. What may initially seem simple actually belies a remarkable complexity and intricacy.

Again, O'Kelly's unique approach speaks to a daring spirit that reflects she fully embraces her distinctive path of self-expression.
Photo 1 (top right): Lime and Navy Paper Arm Piece
Photo 2 (bottom left): Pink and Peridot Mixed Media Brooch
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