Janna Syvänoja

Janna Syvänoja (*1960) is a Finnish artist who, by a slow and meditative process, creates art jewellery from recycled paper. Using such fragile material, she is able to create depth in form, each slice meticulously layered by hand. Often the original purpose of the material can be read on the surface. Old maps induce a topographical feel, while lines of text evoke soft patterns.

The transformation of paper into jewellery is a very slow process. A technique that involves working with single sheets of paper, carefully curved around steel wire, in a sequence of repeated motions that slowly make the piece “grow”, as may occur in the organic world, whereby elements build on to form different shapes, conferring a general “woody” character to the works. In a way, it seems to turn back to its origins.

The print on the paper creates a pattern on the outside surface of the piece. The words contained on the paper, no longer legible, take on random forms, conferring additional expressiveness and a new hidden meaning. The paper used for her jewellery comes from newspapers and printed telephone directories that very quickly go out of date and are no longer of use. When Syvänoja started making jewellery, there was great recycling awareness that soon became an important social issue in Finland. It was at that time that she started to regenerate these useless heaps of paper by turning them into meaningful objects to adorn the body.

In contrast, along with these man-made materials, Syvänoja also transforms natural materials such as seeds, eggshell and bark, into jewellery with the same poetic quality.