May 6, 2021

cafeonjohnston

fashion is organic

Yupadee Kobkulboonsiri, Designer of Otherworldly Jewelry, Dies at 51

3 min read

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Yupadee Kobkulboonsiri made fantastical jewelry — neck cuffs with silver springs ending in pearls that looked like asteroids, necklaces that looped over a shoulder and erupted in diamonds and pearls. She won awards at every trade competition she entered.

She transformed everyday objects into artworks, too. She would buy sandals and weave shells into them. She would crochet flowers with saffron yellow yarn for the Buddhist temples she frequented (and knit tissue-box covers for the monks there).

She could peel an apple in one stroke with her eyes closed.

Ms. Kobkulboonsiri was 51 when she died on April 27 at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn. Steven Fishman, her husband, said the cause was the novel coronavirus.

In recent years she had been eager to design less rarefied work, and she and Mr. Fishman had been making furniture together — mosaic tables and brass lamps etched with whorls and spirals.

Even Ms. Kobkulboonsiri’s hair was gallery ready, cut in an asymmetrical bob. It was as strong as steel, Mr. Fishman said. Either he or she cut it, because she didn’t trust anyone else to get it right. As a Buddhist, she was practiced in letting things go, Mr. Fishman said, but she was also a perfectionist.

“That’s good, but can you try to make it straighter?” she would urge him.

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