Paper Rock No Scissors, New & Featured Spring Market Artisan, Creates Incredible Origami Sculptu

Nanako "Nana" Mizushima of Boulder is the creative force behind Paper Rock No Scissors. You'll be amazed by and love her Japanese washi paper designs of some of her favorite local wildlife!

FF: Why did you begin your handmade journey?

PRNS: I've always loved making things. Since my immigrant parents were very frugal in buying toys for us five children, I made my own. They encouraged us to draw by giving us large sheets of paper from CU where my dad taught. I remember the thrill of my first sale. A stranger asked if he could pay me for a painting of an apple in an exhibition at Douglas Elementary.

FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?

PRNS: About ten years ago, I taught silver jewelry making at Front Range Community College. One of my favorites was origami jewelry. Based on those experiences I wrote a book "Metal Clay Magic" and sold the jewelry.

FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?

PRNS: I was teaching origami through the BVSD Lifelong Learning and ran across a wonderful buffalo project. Since I was teaching geometrical origami forms, I didn't use the buffalo in my class but decided to begin making the buffalo as a sculptural piece. With encouragement from my mother, I made more for others.

FF: What materials do you work with & why?

PRNS: After experimenting with different papers including Japanese washi paper, I looked for ways of making the buffalo piece more permanent. By covering it with a protective coating and setting it on natural flagstone, I found the buffalo could be displayed. When my 25 year old son suggested "scenes" with the buffalo I experimented with creating a "collage" and a large canvas with colorful Washi paper.

FF: What inspires your work?

PRNS: I love being a Boulder native and growing up here. The buffalo, bear and coyote have always been some of my favorite animals of this area. The buffalo is also the mascot of the University of Colorado where my dad was a physics professor. Also two of my kids as well as I are proud CU alumni. I also enjoy creatively using my Japanese heritage in my art work as well as in my writing. I've collected Japanese washi paper for many years when I lived in Tokyo, and loved origami and other Japanese paper crafts.

FF: What excites you for the future?

PRNS: I look forward to doing origami sculptures and combing that with my love of writing. I was born and grew up in Boulder. After living all over the world (Tokyo, Bucharest, Nijmegen, NYC, Palo Alto and Jakarta) I'm looking forward to spending the next decades back here in my hometown, doing art work and sharing my knowledge of other cultures.

FF: If you have other interests, we'd love to hear about them.

PRNS: Outside of my art work, I'm interested in the plight of refugees. A couple of years ago, I translated and published a memoir written by a Japanese refugee of WWII. (Tei, a memoir of the end of war and beginning of peace) This amazing woman and her three young children survived a year of hunger, severe hardship, and uncertainty to then become one of Japan's most beloved writers. Tei inspired my mother's generation as they rebuilt their lives after WWII. I had the honor of meeting Tei's family and entrusted with the translation of her best-selling memoir.

FF: Let us know if/where you sell your work other than online and at markets.

PRNS: I started an Etsy site recently. I will also be at the Boulder Creek Festival and the summer Firefly Market. My son Thomas (2017 graduate of CU's masters program in advertising) has promised to make me a website for my birthday!

This short video is a quick display of how I make the buffalo:

FF: Anything else you'd like to tell us?

PRNS: This is me with my three grown kids, Thomas, Joe and Aimee. I've had the pleasure of being their mother here in Boulder, Jakarta, Tokyo and Seattle.

Visit and shop with Nanako "Nana" Mizushima at Firefly Handmade Spring Market, May 20-21, 10am-4pm, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district, Boulder, CO!


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