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Jonesboro woman makes fashion statements with paper

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

To many people, paper is a common item, easily used, and just as easily thrown away. Sihui Vice, 24, of Jonesboro, however, uses paper to decorate, dazzle and accessorize.

Born in China and raised in Saipan, Sihui (pronounced "see-wee") Vice has recently made a name for herself making earrings, jewelry, chokers, and household decorations using the Japanese art of origami. Her creations were recently featured on ArtFire.com, an online community of 40,000 exhibiting craft and jewelry makers.

Growing up in Guangzhou, China, Vice was introduced to origami by cousins who taught her how to make paper stars. Unable to afford traditional origami paper, she used pieces of calendar paper to teach herself the art form.

"We didn't have the money or resources to buy origami paper, so I would always cut strips out of calendars and make them that way," she said. "That's how I got started."

At the age of five, Vice's parents moved to Saipan to start a Chinese restaurant business. Five years ago, she married her husband, Chad, the son of an American missionary worker in Saipan, and eventually left Saipan for Jonesboro, where her husband began working for AirTran Airways.

During that time, Vice has studied Japanese and Chinese styles of origami and learned how to make a number of unique paper, and ribbon, creations. At her online studio, www.peacefullyfolding.com, she sells earrings, magnets, hairpins, greeting cards, ribbon roses, ladies' chokers, baby mobiles, wind chimes, and other items.

Kevin Ian, director of social media for Tuscon, Ariz.-based ArtFire.com, said Vice's work was featured on the company's web site because it is so different.

"We have about 40,000 artisans right now, most of those are jewelry makers," Ian said. "A lot of our artists work with beading ... we don't have a lot of people working with origami. It's very creative.

"The pieces that I like the most are the rose chokers that she makes out of ribbon," he continued. "Her works stand out from the rest of the jewelry crowd. It's definitely a good medium, and she does her craft very well."

Vice's works range from simple items, such as paper cranes and turtles, to more complex items, such as kusudama balls. The decorative polyhedrons each require 60 pieces of origami paper and four hours of folding to make.

Vice, who works part-time as a book seller at Barnes and Noble in Morrow, said that until recently, her origami creations were more of a calming hobby than a source of income.

"The store online is called Peacefully Folding," said Vice. "I named it that because, when I'm folding, I can kind of block out everything and concentrate on that one piece. It's really calming to me. I didn't really start selling until this year.

"At the bookstore, it [the topic of origami] doesn't usually come up," she said. "If people see my earrings, they will say, 'Those are so cool,' and I will say, 'I made them.' When you see a piece of paper and can turn it into something pretty, I think it's cool."

On the web:

www.artfire.com

www.peacefullyfolding.com