Interview with Hannah Ng of Joyful Array

Interview with Hannah Ng of Joyful Array

How did you get into paper art and origami?

Being born and raised in Hong Kong I was exposed to the art of origami from a young age. Boys commonly made paper boats and planes, while girls would make flowers and hearts. As young as 5, I learned to make my very first paper crane. I have always had an interest in arts & crafts since I was little. So, when I learnt about origami, I was mesmerised. At one point, I attempted to make 1000 paper cranes.

Moving to England at 16 I maintained my engrossment in art and craft. This led me to do a degree in Arts & Crafts. There I furthered my interest in paper art and was enamoured by how such a simple material can be manipulated and displayed in a seemingly infinite variety of ways. I then built upon my knowledge and skills by drawing from my heritage, history and passion.

Can you tell us a little bit about origami?

Origami loosely translates from Japanese as ‘folding paper’. Traditionally, its goal is to transform a flat piece of square paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Though it should be noted that the art of paper folding has been practised in many Asian cultures throughout history, not just in Japan. So, most people that grew up in Asia would have learned some form of ‘origami’.

How did you approach our brief?

Via my Etsy shop, I was approached by your design team enquiring about a different design of mine at first, before showing the draft idea they had. Coincidentally, this design your team had in mind was one of my best sellers from the previous year. Fortunately, with extensive practice from the prior year, I was confident in my ability to create the requested design.

Do you get any strange requests for paper objects?

In 2018, I was commissioned by The University of Liverpool to create a completely original origami that represented the Liver bird. They named her Grace after the majestic ‘Three Graces’ buildings that define the Liverpool skyline. She was so well received that to this day, they use it as their mascot and she features on their website and brochures. This was certainly one of my most interesting and challenging commissions. 

Favourite kind of paper and paper shop?

Working with quality paper makes a significant difference. Thus, Japanese Washi paper is undoubtedly my favourite. They have unique patterns on them that are inspired by nature and the traditional kimono.

A paper shop in London would be my favourite. They go by the name Shepherds London and they specialise in bookbinding however, they also sell some of the most gorgeous handmade paper and ship globally. As for somewhere more local, the Paperchase superstore in Manchester is my go-to for stocking up my materials.

Do you have any jewellery memories?

Funnily enough, apart from doing origami growing up, I also enjoyed making my own jewellery! In Hong Kong, we have a haberdashery district where a whole street sells all kinds of beads. My friends and I would often go there at the weekend to pick up the newest beads and charms to make our own accessories. I still do when I get a chance to go back.

What's on your Fraser Hart wish list and what pieces do you enjoy gifting?

The Carat London Stella Collection Mimosa Drop Necklace is right up my street, I like anything sparkly and celestial.

The petite initial necklaces would be perfect gifts for all my girlfriends, I like gifting presents that have a personal touch.