The gentle beauty 
of paper

"The little 
paper fairy":
this was the nickname I earned from my family.

The waste paper basket in my father's study was my favourite source of supplies: paper and all kinds of scraps, card in different thicknesses and colours, all precious waste that gave shape to my imagination and populated my magical thoughts.

I was a shy child of few words, but I was very expressive. Gifted with keen manual creativity and great patience, I created tiny enchanted worlds that spoke on my behalf through paper details.

Wonder was the emotion I was chasing. For me, the two-dimensional plane has always been the springboard for a message that aims to conquer reality, that invades it and surprises it, creating its own space in the world.
Indeed, pop-up books and books with windows were my daily bread: full of charm and poetry, they offer surprising animations through their paperwork that capture the attention of readers of all ages. Some of these books are true masterpieces of architecture, created by cellulose artists who make every volume unique and special: whether they are fairytales or educational books, the magical effect of the figures that emerge from the page makes the reading engaging and never predictable.

My father's study was a great, endless source of material, but my supply of inspiration was diverse and could occasionally come from bread bags or paper from the butcher, a tram ticket or a label, a scrap of allpaper or wrapping paper. Not a single magazine, catalogue or newspaper reached the waste paper basket without first being passed over by my imagination and my scissors.

I collected, recycled and reused paper, but also other small materials.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.

I was playfully using a practice that has now acquired the much less playful, highly imperative urgency of a way of life that is necessary for a sustainable future.

Over time, I began to create a personal supply network: a few printmakers and upholsterers kept scraps and waste aside for me, friends thought of me if they found any unusual types of paper, and a loving origamist, Luisa Canovi, always saved some precious scraps for my creativity.

Mine is a world of little things

. They arrive and develop a new life, following the fine line of my imagination.
This is how a little paper fairy, with a degree in Architecture, became a set designer.

My official debut as an artist in the world of paper came about almost by chance.

On the occasion of the Milan Furniture Fair in 1995, Nicola Gallizia asked me to make paper models to hang in the wardrobes in the Molteni exhibition. I had never been interested in fashion, but I went about the task with great enthusiasm, maybe more than was necessary. Indeed, I made real clothes to dress mannequins, not just clothing styled for hangers.

And it inspired wonder: for me and for others.
My little collection of clothes immediately intrigued various paper and fashion companies.
Yes, of course, my surname also came into play in some way: I would like to think not just for its fame, but also in terms of my disposition.

Between word of mouth and more widespread communication, the commissions and collaborations multiplied, and as the world of work sped into the digital age, I slowed down, moving towards craftsmanship, and found a new way to explore my internal world with growing eloquence.

Beyond Boxes by Comieco, the National Consortium for Paper and Cardboard Recycling, was one of the first exhibitions I participated in, in 2004. Objects made from paper and cardboard, created according to a design criterion that is equidistant between the temporary dimension of disposable products and the permanence of indestructible material. 
Lightness, flexibility, transportability, transformability, adaptability to different contexts, recyclability, biodegradability and compostability: these were the functional, aesthetic and eco-friendly characteristics of the objects exhibited.

My passion for the strong, light quality of paper therefore found a way to contribute explicitly to spreading the culture of sustainability and the fight against waste.

"The Gentleness of Paper. Sustainability is beauty" was the title of the exhibition in which I interpreted the charm of fashion Made in Italy for the Fashion Research Italy Foundation for the opening of Punto Sostenibilità: the most comprehensive Italian archive, both physical and digital, of sustainable textiles, accessories and packaging solutions for fashion.

I made paper clothes, created with 100% recycled fibres on mannequins made from recycled material.

I am convinced that recycled and reused paper is a material that works better than others as a metaphor for the kindness we need to have towards our planet. A gentle call, but no less powerful, that perfectly reflects my historical approach to others and the world.

Paper is a gentle material: it doesn't soil anything, it doesn't attack, it is discreet.

You can work with it anywhere and transport it easily; it can be opaque or transparent; and it is light - in fact, it is lightness itself.
If you put it in water, it disintegrates, comes apart, disappears.

When they come to me, many companies specifically ask me to help them design a poetic, gentle interpretation of their work, their products.
An event, an exhibition, a paper installation creates a special atmosphere, adds a dimension where reality and fantasy come into contact, where the lightness of boundless imagination finds its material form, without losing the magical aspect that characterises it.

The models themselves have often confided in me that when I dress them in paper, they feel a little like Alice in Wonderland.

My most recent installation was presented on the 30th May for the Milan Aquarium:

"Under the sign of Pisces", curated by Irene Ivoi.
Fish are the gentlest animals on the planet. They are so unaggressive, have so little impact on the world, yet they are so beautiful - elegant dancers in the water. Quiet: like me, like paper. But so expressive. Feelings and emotions are often more intense when there are no words.

As a child, I created little magical things in order to inspire wonder and attract attention in silence. Today, I create bigger, more structured things, but I still search for that magic, that gentle wonder of little things, which captivates, without any need for words, suspended between reality and fantasy.


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N° 12


What does kindness have to do with our Stories of Sustainability?
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