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Shoulder Ring: Jewelry from Paper and Light

Summer 2017
Summer 2017
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Born in 1970, Anke Neumann  grew up studying drawing and the fine arts in the former East German industrial city Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz), and this has influenced her sense of the technical. Neumann trained in textile technology and spinning (1986–1989), interned at art and crafts establishments in Berlin, and studied textile design at the Weissensee Art Academy (1998–2003). A series of experiments in papermaking inspired her to undertake practical training and provide assistance in the paper workshop of Gangolf Ulbricht in Berlin. As LICHTPAPIER, Neumann explores light-conducting materials and fiber optics combined with paper to create light objects and illuminated surfaces for clients. Here you see jewelry that is not made of silver or gold. It does not sparkle, yet it is eye-catching and wearable—a poetic light object made of paper.  When filtered through a paper surface, light attains a special softness and warmth. The light emitted from the optical fibers shines through the gentle paper and encircles the wearer with a mysterious glow. Although the paper is rather hard, the light gives a warm and protective feeling around the neck.

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There is also a prac¬tical aspect of the ring. It works like an extraordinary flashlight, making visible the wearer's surroundings. Worn upside down, the shoulder ring illuminates the wearer without blinding.  My work as LIGHTPAPER investigates the connection between the tradition of hand papermaking and the modern applications of fiber optics. By modifying the surface of end-emitting optical fibers, I am able to achieve the effect of light being partially emitted along the length of the fibers, thus creating luminous vein-like patterns in the paper. The "injection of light" stems from a tiny external LED (light-emitting diode) light source.  I integrate the optical fibers during the papermaking process so they are enclosed and held in the finished surface. To make the pa¬per, I use a mixture of different, sustainable raw materials, such as linen rag, flax, hemp, abaca, and kozo. The imbedded optical fiber creates a small space within the paper in which light is reflected and simultaneously emitted.