Constructing a figure out of paper using just scissors, glue and the imagination is no easy feat. Turning it into a career is nothing short of heroic; the preserve of those blessed with a special gift (as well as great skill), such as Raya Sader.
Having studied a degree in architecture, this young Venezuelan-Lebanese woman set off to travel the world before finally settling in Barcelona, where she uses paper to create her art. Every fold, every texture and every figure she designs is a tribute to the ephemeral delicacy of beautiful things.
As faithful followers of everything she posts on Instagram, we decided we would like to find out more about her, her ideas and her paper creations, so we asked her if she would agree to an interview. (We were considering sending a paper aeroplane but were afraid it wouldn’t make the grade…) And when she said yes, it put a big smile on our faces; as we’re sure you too will have when you read this interview
Raya, define yourself in three words.
Patient. Persistent. Introverted.
Tell us how you started out in the world of paper art.
I started working with paper a long time ago, while I was studying architecture in Venezuela. I often used paper in my artistic expression projects; it’s a material I have always liked very much!
Can you tell us about your artistic and professional background?
I think my journey has really been more a return to my origins, to all the work I did at university. Along the way, in 2010, in the middle of the crisis, I started to make jewellery from paper but I got tired of it pretty quickly; it wasn’t my thing. I’m not good at designing origami but I am good at creating paper sculpturesJ. I started by making personal projects and posting them on Instagram and, gradually, I made it my profession.
Why Little Ray of Sunflower as your alias?
It’s not really my alias… it’s the name I used for my jewellery pieces but on Instagram it stuck. It’s a tribute to a great friend.
Who are your role models and influences?
My work is heavily influenced by architecture, whenever I need inspiration I go to my books. I couldn’t pick out a specific role model, there are many.
What inspires you?
What I see, in nature, the textures in it, I like to see the different layers of things and reinterpret them in paper.
How do you create each project? Do you always apply the same methodology?
Every project is a world in itself. I think I approach each one in a different way but I think my way of working stays the same. I feel, I draw, I draw, I draw, I do trials, make models, and then I start.
What part does recycling play in your projects?
Recycling is quite an important factor for me; I’m careful about not wasting paper, I try to use acid-free paper and often use bits of paper that have been discarded.
What would you highlight of all your work and collaborations? Why?
To quote Michael Graves ‘My favourite project is always the next one’.
Along with the many other products you produce you have also created some origami jewellery pieces. What is your ideal piece of jewellery?
I don’t wear much jewellery, but, for me, the perfect piece would be light and simple and I always like touches of colour!
A type of paper
Anything with a weight between 160 and 170 grams… that is the perfect thickness to cut and mould.
An origami figure
I like very geometric figures
A place in the world
Cayo Sombrero! (Venezuela)
A work of art
Just one? If so, then Kandinsky‘s Yellow-Red-Blue
What are your favourite pieces of Joid’art jewellery? Why?
I really like the Garland necklace. I love the lines and the way it hangs!