Nancy Raasch Jeweller - North Carolina, USA.

Can you discuss the technique of mulberry paper and why you are so impressed with it?

Joomchi is a traditional Korean craft. You combine sheets of mulberry paper with only water and agitation. The felted pieces of paper are strong because the long fibers are interlocked with the agitation. Historically, Koreans used joomchi to make clothing. It is a painterly medium, I can combine layers of coloured paper to achieve different hues, depth and textures.


 autumnAppalachian Autumn Necklace, artist hand-felted mulberry paper with freshwater pearls and sterling silver closure.

What other materials do you use?

I use paper, combined with sterling silver wire, natural beads, freshwater pearls and linen threads. I have also used corrugated cardboard, green packing materials, and paper maché, I have made my own kozo paper for some of my projects.

How has your graphic design background helped with your current medium – jewellery?

I was graphic designer for 35 years – it prepared me for colour combinations in my jewellery design, spatial relationships and the properties of what paper can do.

Discuss your necklace, ‘Joomchi Red Stacked Necklace.


Red Disk Necklace

 This necklace is constructed with over 480 disks of joomchi (hand-felted mulberry paper). Hand fashioned sterling silver closure.

            Size Length: 19.5 inches, 1.75 inches depth

            Weight 5 oz

            Design concept choker

            Colour Red/black

Using Lime Joomchi Swirls discuss the use of two colour or combinations of colour in your work.


Lime Joomchi Swirls

I love the surprise of a bright lime green with the grey.

When did you first use corrugated cardboard and how have you found it?

I started my jewellery design career with corrugated cardboard. I love what forms that can be fashioned! It is the mundane transformed into the precious!


 Artist made beads of corrugated card with freshwater pearls and sterling silver findings.

You also use precious stones in your work discuss this aspect.

I only use freshwater pearls and natural stones in a few of my pieces. I love the natural look, they complement the texture of the paper.


Corrugated cardboard beads with freshwater pearls.

As your working life began as a book designer do your use printed paper?

I have used old texts books in some of my work.

 Chinesefloating disks

Chinese Floating Disks, Vintage Chinese textbook paper.

Can you discuss the influence Aimee Lee and Jiyoung Chun have had on your art practice?

I have studied with the two ultimate masters. They exposed me to the historical traditions of Korean paper. I learned new techniques and I was able to refine my techniques in handling paper.

How important is current fashion to your work?

Not much. I design my work only with MY sensibilities. Bold, clean–not cluttered lines and colours that I like.

Discuss the importance of Eco in art from your perspective?

I started out using recycled paper and paper that was packing materials. I wanted to reuse paper and make something unique out of it. Paper is precious, although the world sees it as a throw away.

Korean Kube Necklace – mulberry paper with bronze leaf and sterling silver wire closure

 Korean Kubes, Kozo paper tiles, copper leaf, with silver findings

By making jewellery from paper does this allowed you to make bigger more opulent jewellery?  

I am not into dainty! I love bold statements.

You have had a long term battle with cancer how has your art helped you during some of your low times?

 I lose myself in the creative process. When I am in the studio – time stands still.  And when I finish with a project I gain a lot of satisfaction that “I made that”.

I love your comment, “I have cancer on Thursdays since I go to the clinic on Thursdays”  the rest of your time is devoted to making jewellery, gardening reading, cooking walking the dog, expand on this wonderfully refreshing attitude.

 Thanks, I try to live my life to be mindful and live in the present. How much energy I have or don’t have, I celebrate to be alive (It beats the alternative)!!


Contact details.

Nancy Raasch, North Carolina, USA

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, November, 2015