Nel Linssen – masterpieces with a special rhythm

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A while ago I decided to make a series of articles and interviews based on paper and its versatility, because I want to promote this type of jewelry. I always thought that this was a modern concept, a technique discovered and revealed to us recently.

That was until I met Mrs Linssen. She changed my whole perception for this art, she really gave me the strength to dig harder to uncover all the designers that make amazing accessories, to present them to my audience and inspire the new talents in their work.

Dear Mrs. Linssen, I am glad that I found such an experienced artist in this field, we have a lot to learn from you. Your work is amazing. You are really turning paper into wearable art for a few decades now. I want to introduce you and your work to our readers, so please help us understand the concept of Paper Jewelry.

Tell us something about yourself and how did you discover your talent.

I am Nel Linssen, born 1935. Already as a young child I knew that I would be an artist. In 1956 I got my diploma  on the Academy of Fine Arts  in Arnhem (drawing education).

Why did you choose to create jewelry?

It happened to me…in the development of my work through the years, drawing, by experiments with thin plastic (1981) a surprising object aroused: thin squares linked with nylon thread a flat mat which a playful hand can transform by a zigzag movement into an incredible variety of sculptural shapes.

In 1986 this object inspired me to make jewelry, after about working half a year to find out how  to make my first jewelry piece, it turned out that paper was the most useful material.

Do you use other materials except paper? Are these materials ordinary, or do you need a special kind of paper, for instance?

The first 20 years that I made jewels I used only one kind of paper: Elefantenhaut ; best quality and colors! This paper is not available anymore, so I make use of paper which is covered by plastic.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

In the beginning I got inspired by the botanical world, the structures of plants are fascinating! Later on, my own work inspires me, while working, things happened, which inspire me to make new constructions.

Tell us a little about the process of creating a piece of jewelry with your technique. Your creations seem to have a special rhythm. Do you make the design before you start creating ?

In the last years, most of my work is made out of flat circular shapes which I glue for a part together; the way in which I fold them gives the final appearance, the rhythm. The shape just comes to me naturally during the creation process.

Do you use some kind of mixture to harden the paper in the end?

No. I use paper covered by plastic.

What kind of jewelry do you enjoy creating the most?

I can’t say, my work is my passion, I spend a lot time on it. I enjoy creating everything.

What colors do you like to use?

I try to make items that look subtle and strong, there is no preference for colors.

And in the end of our talk, I have THE question: why would anyone wear paper jewelry? How can we convince the audience is safe to wear?

Through my experience, in the beginning people didn’t dare to wear paper pieces. After a few years this changed; I know people that wear pieces of mine for 20 years now with pleasure. Besides I tell people to let me know when there are complaints, but these happen seldom.

Dear Mrs Linssen, it`s been a pleasure talking to you. I am happy, like always, when I meet a great artist, from whom we can learn so much 🙂

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