About the Artist
Since 2005 self taught jewellery artist, Maggie Krawczyk has been creating intricate origami jewellery using Japanese origami papers as well as making hand folded fine silver pieces under the name Neogami Origami Jewellery. This love for origami started with learning to fold the paper crane as a child and trying more complicated models, trying to make them smaller and smaller as a hobby and self-challenge. The business aspect came about after working for several years as a folding machine operator in local book binderies, and after a lot of practice with all the scrap paper found laying around. One day, after making a pair of impromptu earrings using fancy folding papers from a coworker, and some stitching wire (the same stuff that is used to staple magazines!) the inspiration hit. The idea seemed so fun that it was time to start creating, this time for real. Using origami paper and stainless steel wire, the first origami earrings began to take shape, and were selling fast to friends and coworkers. After a couple years perfecting the style, selling at craft shows, and introducing Neogami to local retailers starting in 2007 with Made You Look, it was time to quit working the 9 to five, or in this case, the seven to four, and work on the jewellery business full time.
Now, over ten years after beginning the self employment journey and opening a vintage shop in Toronto's East end called The Handwork Department, I am honoured to sell work by other local artists with whom I have shared this artist's journey and had work selling alongside theirs in retail shops and craft shows over the years. It is really something to be entrusted with another person's work and an extreme pleasure to be able to offer customers fun items they won't find anywhere else!
In the summer of 2017 I felt a strange numbness in one leg and went to see my family doctor who sent me to see a neurologist they work with at Providence Healthcare Centre in Scarborough. I was so fortunate to meet Dr.Ramanathan, a lovely doctor around my own age who right away sent me for testing at several clinics and hospitals. A battery of tests including two MRI's, one failed Spinal Tap, and a successful one done under fluoroscopy later, and in December I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis at the St.Michael's Hospital MS Clinic. The idea of this diagnosis seemed terrifying at first, but now with the reality of it all and the daily mini-struggles of coordinating medications, follow up testing, and adopting a daily self care routine, it is all settling in. Now more than ever I am glad to have taken every opportunity available to claw my way tooth and nail out of a life of monotony in factory work and in to the much more challenging but hundredfold more rewarding life of entrepreneurialism!
I never thought much about Multiple Sclerosis before this, and at first all I had to go on was a vague notion in my mind of a nice young lady in a wheelchair which, as a person who loves the outdoors and has a passion for long walks, was really scary. Thanks to the quick work of our medical system, I was able to get on to a drug which has been proven to slow the progression of this disease. Although disability of some form in the long-term is likely, catching it early and getting on to medication is key to having the longest healthy life possible. If you ever feel anything slightly off even if it is just a wee bit of numbness, and it persists for more than a week visit your doctor. There's no sense putting it off in case it's nothing because all that time it could be something, something which may seem to get better at first, but could end up laying in wait only be discovered later once medication may not be as effective. Not trying to be scary, just share some #realtalk
Origami and the paper crane in specific holds special meaning to so many, and I have created custom pieces to commemorate all sorts of important occasions for people across the globe, from first wedding anniversaries, gifts for siblings, or as a token to keep up the spirits of a woman fighting cancer, and for every custom order I am grateful to share in a moment of someone's life. It is truly an honour to be chosen to create someone's vision of love and memory. I appreciate your sharing your story with me, and hope to do some good by sharing my story with you.
"I want to turn what I love to make in to what you love to wear!"