Venice arts and crafts: Paperoowl and Stefania’s magic made out of paper

Exploring arts and crafts in Venice...

Walking around Venice, especially in its hidden corners, a good observer can notice here and there several peculiar workshops where skilled artisans never get tired of creating original handicrafts for their clients, exactly like their predecessors used to do in the past.

Today, wandering in the area of Santa Maria Mater Domini, we have decided to stop at Stefania’s exceptionally creative workshop, Paperoowl.

Stefania is a really nice young woman, extremely original, with volcanic ideas. With determination and a good deal of hard work she decided at some point in her life to transform her unique hobby into a real job. She was born in Verona and got her degree in Communication Sciences in Perugia. She then went back to her hometown where she got employed at Teatro Nuovo for the organization of private events. When she eventually decided to move to Venice, she started to think seriously about the possibility of turning her passion for paper creations into a full time job. She had already taken several highly qualifying courses of differ types (among them also a course of jewel making). She knew she had a talent for this. In 2012 she took part in a competition in Lucca, a beautiful city in Tuscany: although her paper artwork did not win the first prize, it was the most voted by the popular jury. What a great achievement!

The artwork showed at Lucca competition (Image Credit – Guido Mencari – Cartasia Lucca Biennale 2012)

After this success, Stefania had no doubt left, so she decided to devote herself with all her enthusiasm to this project. After four years of intense activity, her smile today shows all her satisfaction.

In her little workshop, elegant and perfect in every detail, we can find a lot of her best creations. Stefania is particularly proud of her paper jewels: in these days she is working on some original necklaces that a bride has commissioned as a present for her wedding witnesses.

Paper jewels

Paper jewels

One of her most loved and appreciated creations, however, is Venice in a box. It is a series of small colorful boxes which contain Venetian views, such as palaces or bridges. These boxes are produced in limited edition. Every year Stefania creates new ones. Some of them are dedicated to special Venetian events, as for example the Angel’s flight during the carnival or the Redeemer’s feast.

Venice in a box

Venice in a box

Bridges and palaces are outlined with Indian ink. In the editions of this year the views are partially covered with a grey brushstroke, almost as if they were slowly appearing out of the fog.

We can also find other images in boxes: exquisite gardens, animals, nativities. Talking about nativities, the ones created by Stefania for the 2017 Christmas edition have a special oriental flavor… Delicious!

Nativity in a box, Indian style

When paper creations are concerned, origami must be present! We can find original mobiles (which remind of Alexander Calder’s famous works of art) with origamicranes (these birds are the symbol of health in the oriental cultures), butterflies, owls, boats… Stefania at first thought they would be perfect decorations for the rooms of little children, but she then realized that these mobiles were appreciated especially by adults.

Mobiles with origami

What is really amazing, in our opinion, is the Kusudama technique, which Stefania uses to create wonderful spheres, consisting of roughly forty modular origami: patience, precision, good skills and passion are the necessary ingredients to reach such perfection.

Kusudama spheres

Paper also means notebooks: Stefania produces a great variety of them, with Chinese and Japanese techniques, without any waste of material; the binding is not hidden but clearly visible; the addition of some modern details makes these items particularly original.


Looking around the workshop we then notice some flowers, combined with peacock’s feathers, coming out from broken eggs. These are decorations thought to embellish tables or shelves. This series has a very special name: “What springs out of a wound?”. A wound (the broken egg) does not necessarily leave behind only suffering, sometimes it can bring along an idea of beauty, of rebirth (the flowers and the feathers). We can perceive part of Stefania’s emotions and experiences in these creations, as well as in all the other ones: artisans always put a little piece of themselves in their handicrafts.

What springs out of a wound

What springs out of a wound

When we visit workshops such as this one, we can really get in touch with art, creativity, passion, we become richer with unique cultural and human experiences. People like Stefania have an entire world of emotions and knowledge to express and share: when we listen to them, we enter for a moment their magical reality.

So let us organize for you a private tour in Venice, let us take you to this workshop, and many more (do not miss our next posts on Venetian artisans!). It is really worth it. It is a different way to experience our city. Mind, though, that Stefania changes her collections quite frequently, so if we take you to pay a visit to her workshop, we can find creations that are totally different from those described in our post. Why? “Because I want to have fun when I create”, as Stefania says.

Guess what? We have purchased the do-it-yourself kit to create a Kusudama sphere entirely with our hands. Stay tuned! We’ll post a picture of it! We can make it!

The DIY Kusudama kit