Paper Owl: handmade paper jewels and surprising souvenirs in Venice


Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso

I really love bijoux and craftsmanship, so I had been keeping an eye on Paper Owl shop for a long time. But, I have to be honest. I did not expect such enchanting creations. I had no idea that paper could be transofrm into art and poetry.

Paper owl

On that particular day I made up my mind kind of last time, without warning the owner Stefania. I just went there, opened the door and introduced myself. She was there, wearing her own paper jewels, and a pair of round glasses (you know I love glasses, too, right?), surrounded by brushes, glue and colorful paper sheets. Well, I ended up staying there for almost two hours, chatting, contemplating her creations, hearing her story, or, better, stories.

Stories of a little girl born in Verona, who has always felt that paper was somehow her path. It is not a common thing, isn’t it? After working in the event planning field, she decided to change track. So paper was the first thing that she could think of. After attending a lot of different courses, including origami making and jewellery, she started making her first creations. But she wasn’t sure yet. That’s when she heard of a contest for paper artisans: Cartàsia, the paper Biennale in Lucca.

She didn’t win. But was the most voted upon by the public. And this gave her confidence. So, in 2013, when her partner had to move to Venice for work, she decided to open Paper Owl shop and finally embrace her paper passion. She chose the owl, since it’s the symbol of wisdom, but also the animal that is always depicted with Athena, protector of artisans.

I found myself at complete ease with Stefania. She is not only creative, but also smart and empathetic. Her shop is a white, clean space, with splashes of colors and personality: the precious sheets of paper coming from all over the world, skilfully folded origami hanging from the ceiling, home decor objects, paper pendants similar to embroidery works, colorful earrings, a counter full of different materials and tools for her creations, including hammers. Which surprised me. I didn’t expect they would be useful in such a delicate art. Turns out they’re needed to create the boxes.

You should see those boxes! I will never see a box in the same way from now on. Honestly, I’ve always thought: a box is a box. Ok, some are prettier than others. But Stefania’s boxes are works of art. Unique creations with a story. She reads a lot, she seeks inspiration in books, fabrics, different cultures. For example she created a series of boxes inspired to people characters: introvert, extroverted, empathetic, etc. If you see those boxes: they represent precisely the different personalities. Also the boxes of the jewels collections are artworks per se.

The thing that hit me the most was precisely this: every object is not only an object. There’s always a philosophical, artistic or personal inspiration.

For example the new collection is inspired by the Rajiput miniatures. These are paintings from the palaces of the sovereigns of the Rajastan. Think that they’re so refined and thorough, that, because of the tiny size, you need a magnifying glass to fully appreciate the details. Stefania found a book about those miniatures at an exhibit in Venice and suddenly she thought about a piece of Indian fabric her mother had bought in Verona many years ago. A fabric with the image of some Indian princesses, that made her daydream of faraway realms and flavours. And she started to create the new paper jewels.

The collection consists of a series of incredible necklaces/collars and earrings, whose colors and shapes are inspired by those seen in the Indian paintings. I completely fell in love with one of them. It is a white and gold collar. The gold comes from actual gold leaves, created by the last battiloro, the gold-beater of Venice.

Every piece is unique. She patiently cuts and then folds each piece of paper. Then she uses the glue. She connects the small partes and applies a coat of protective varnish. Finally, she applies the gold leaves or other materials/colours/varnishes to obtain the desired effect.

In the end, I chose two items for me: a beautiful purple pendant and a brooch. The pendant was ready to go.

I started wearing the purple pendant immediately and I can’t tell you how much I love to wear something handmade with so much passion and care!

As for the pin, I chose the paper sheet and Stefania created a special design just for me.

My new pin

Moreover, If you are looking for an original souvenir, you should take a look to the so called “Inabox“. They are mini dioramas in tiny boxes, representing a view of Venice, a secret garden, a particular room of a house. In other words, any memory you wish to treasure in a box, to be open when you feel the need to dream or remember.

I totally suggest a visit to this magical, hidden gem when in Venice.

Paper Owl

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