In the 1960s, paper entered the fashion world as an avant-garde material.
Since then, paper has continually been experimented with in various wearable ways by artists like Elizabeth Marling.
"My three loves are collage, sculpture and fashion. Paper jewelry appeals to me because it blends all these elements. Most of my current work is jewelry, with a focus on creating at least one component in each piece completely by hand. Hand-painted or decoupaged wooden beads, mixed metals and images are items I utilize often. Mixing materials and metals in unexpected ways is always a goal," says Marling, whose jewelry can be found at Bricolage in the basement of the Idaho Building in downtown Boise.
Marling dislikes the distinction between high and low art and strives to share that sentiment in her work, incorporating contrasting materials into her designs, like gemstones with plastic.
As a student, Marling studied film production at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, but upon graduation had mixed feelings about both film and New York City.
"Film shoots easily become either very rigid or dissolve into chaos, so the management of a shoot becomes more important than the quality of what's being filmed," shares Marling. "I'm a DIY kind of person, and I like making art more than managing people. Also, the city has a reputation for being a penultimate center for the arts, but I did not feel local artists were given any support or interest, and certainly not monetary sponsorship."
After graduating, Marling moved back to her hometown of St. Louis, Mo., where she realized she wanted to work in a medium in which she enjoyed the process as much as the finished result.
"When I was growing up, my Mom was an avid and gifted artist, and I realized my own creative desires were more aligned with hers than with school," Marling says. "One day I asked her to teach me to sew. All of my current work has sprung from those lessons. Ironically, I am still a complete klutz with a sewing machine, but I discovered other materials I work better with: paper, paint, scissors and glue. I'm about 50 percent self-taught and 50 percent Mom-taught."
Having just moved to Boise a year ago, Marling admires the city's openess to new ideas and the many independent businesses it supports.
"Boise is an awesome place for emerging artists. Boise residents have a killer combination of openness to others and good old common sense—two things I value highly. Although I'm sure this is tragically un-cool to say, I absolutely love it here."
You can read more about Marling's ideas on fashion on her blog Fash reMash: Create Your Own Style.