ABOUT – Francesca Vitali



I began my journey designing contemporary jewelry after having already started a career as a chemist. In my vision, art and chemistry have found an intersection point in the alchemy of paper jewelry. In ancient times, alchemists have been ambitiously trying to convert common matter into gold. Sharing this grand aspiration, I strive to transform paper, a humble and ordinary material, into precious objects.

Paper itself is a product of an incredible transformation: a delicate element derived from a sturdy and rough material like wood. My alchemy continues this transformation process, catalyzing the subsequent metamorphosis, and revealing the dignified essence of this fascinating element.

Francesca Vitali working in the chemisty lab and in her studio

Generally, I work with high quality paper sourced from local mills such as Mohawk paper, but also I love to use recycled paper because the idea that fragments of someone life will live forever in my paper jewelry adds such an emotional value to each piece. In the past year especially, I have focused my work toward creating more pieces that not only function as sculpture for the body but also carry memories, a story. And I tried to do so by giving your happy memories a new voice, and a new shape, a new life and ultimately a new way to be cherished and experienced time and time again. Just thinking about how paper is part of our everyday life continuously and in multiple forms: magazines, maps, shopping bags, mail, love letters, every piece of paper has a story and I love the idea that history is carried over through my work. This is why some of my most fulfilling pieces I have created were made out of my customer paper and memories.

When I design a piece I think about the person that eventually will wear the piece and while my work have changed over the years that person hasn’t, it is a sophisticated and playful person, confident and not afraid to be unconventional with a good touch of sense of humor. Among these I just want to mention one, because meeting her at the Smithsonian craft show in October 2019 was one of the highlights of my career, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Francesca Vitali and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I strive to achieve excellent craftsmanship, high standard taught to me by my mother and grandmother, both masters in their crafts, knitting and embroidery, respectively. My aesthetic is minimalist with an emphasis on geometric forms and clean lines, but I don’t shy away from an occasional challenge to create something completely out of my comfort zone. One of the focal point when creating  wearable sculptures is color. Some of my most recognizable pieces have the signature black and white color blocking scheme with a touch of red, and some of the newest collections are all about playful colors combined with strokes of paint.

If you would like to know more about what is going on my studio head to my Video Archive page or here for a two minute tour of my studio.