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The Story Behind “Oakk and Stone

For as long as I can remember I have loved origami. Growing up I spent many afternoons in my grandma’s house. Often she would be doing her embroidery or rug making, sometimes playing solitaire. I would rummage through her dusty books, stumbling upon origami manuals (in complete Kanji) belonging to an aunt who spent her college days in Japan. Attempting to do them by following the illustrations, I would only succeed in completing the easy shapes. I loved the act of folding perfect corners and pulling the last edge into the intended shape or object; the challenge of getting it perfect, knowing that every minute error would detract from the beauty of the final shape.

Flash forward to decades later when origami books became readily available in english and origami paper sold cheaply in any local bookstore. Rediscovering origami after having 2 boys, it served as a calming hobby for me. I enjoyed folding so much that I created a candy buffet for my youngest using folded origami boxes as containers for the candy. During Christmas I would make ornaments for the tree in origami… But there was something lacking paper eventually disintegrated and was thrown out. Even the best project fades with time. One time my aunt ( same one who owned the origami books) sent me a kumihimo project kit complete with thread and loom.

I immediately fell in love with it. I always loved macrame but this was different. Kumihimo is the art of braiding used in the Japanese culture, combining different colors of silk thread. Historically the technique was used for making belts incorporated into the samurai warfare gear . It is also used traditionally to bind the obi belts for kimonos. Eventually I mastered the braiding techniques for both round and flat braids. I experimented with suede cords and satin. I moved from just following directions to incorporating glass beads and semi precious stones. Creating cuffs would take one evening. Creating necklaces would take four. Each braiding project started as a journey of creativity and discovery. Color combinations are imperative in keeping me interested in finishing the project. If there was a mistake, I would start over. If I didn't like the colors, I would take it apart. Over and over I would try to create the braid that when finished, made me want to do it again. A friends father who knew how to do woodwork created a traditional kumihimo loom for us called a Marudai. Braiding patterns and techniques became limitless.

Experimenting with different sizes of beads and thread led me to discover peyote stitch and brick stitch patterns, mostly by eastern european women who would post beading techniques on the internet. It fascinated me how tiny the thread was and how precise the beading had to be. I experimented on creating earrings mainly because it would not take more than a few hours to create a pair. From then I would go from marudai to needle and thread. Finding therapy in pulling the last thread through a project. Barely finishing one before getting inspired to start another one. Mixing glass beads and semi precious stones, gold metal and silk threads, I decided to create interesting jewelry that would not only be aesthetic but complimentary to the wearer. Blending beauty but not overpowering, they serve to frame and provide an accent without being ordinary. Each oakk and stone piece is unique and one of a kind with a life of its own from inception to finished product. Skilled artisans render hours of attention to detail, sharing the same passion for creation and perfection in each piece. Collaborating with goldsmiths who provide the precise framework for the beading, the result is a culmination of improvisation and basic beading technique. Work of human minds, hearts, and hands. Created in a space in time from a thought, evolving into a tangible expression— Oakk and stone.