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By Rebecca Skilton

It’s a delicate craft that few people have the patience for, let alone the skill.
But for Upper Beaconsfield resident Anna Konecny, the meaningful and detailed art of Mizuhiki traditional paper cord jewellery is a perfected talent that the mother of three is now sharing with the world.
Playing an important role in Japanese culture, Mizuhiki stands as a symbol of affection, warmth and togetherness.
Made from coloured cord created from tightly wound rice paper, it has been used to express well-wishes, thanks, gratitude and condolences and is often used as a decoration for gifts.
Nowadays, Anna’s Mizuhiki creations still include decorations for presents such as wine bottles, envelopes and vases; however her skills have extended into the realm of jewellery and accessories, with her business Anna Japana selling everything from hand-made Kimono decorations, earrings and greeting cards, as well as other traditional Japanese styled craft items such as scarves, lanyards and even soaps.
Yet as Anna explained, her jaw-dropping Mizuhiki talent is relatively newfound.
“I’ve been doing handmade Japanese washi paper crafts for a long time, but I’ve only been doing the Mizuhiki for a few years,” Anna said.
“It’s getting really popular in Japan, so I got books to see how to do it. Then I thought ‘oh, I want to try that, no one’s doing that here, it’s something new’.
“You’ve got to have a little bit of skill and it’s all hand made.”
While Anna appears monthly at the Hills Art Market, her accessories, including her stud and drop earrings, necklaces, hairclips and kimono cards, have begun to appear in retailers such as the Belgrave Emporium, Hawthorn’s Stranger Things Emporium, the Market Fair in Ferntree Gully and even Prahran’s Kazari + Ziguzagu.
“I originally contacted a shop owner and took samples of my work then negotiated a plan between us,” Anna said.
“It’s exciting (seeing my work in stores) because it starts to indicate that what I’m doing is worthwhile.”
In a busy month, Anna can create up to 300 items with her work taking her to a number of festivals including the Spring Japanese Festival at Crown River Walk in November and the Summer Japanese Festival at Federation Square in February.
However, recently Anna’s talents have also led her to conduct her first workshop teaching students how to create their own set of Mizuhiki earrings, which she describes as a rewarding experience.
“Anna Japana’s first workshop was a great success,” Anna said.
“I enjoyed showing and demonstrating how to make awaji knot.
“But what I love most about the craft is the idea that I can create a connection between myself as the artist and the person who ends up wearing my jewellery.”
To view Anna’s creations visit her on Instagram @anna.japana or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnnaJapana.

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