Kuumbas Heart Banner

Paper Gems

The Paper Gems Line

Women at least as far back as Victorian England in the late 1800s were making paper beads. Young ladies would gather socially in their dining rooms and make handmade paper beads from scraps of wallpaper rolled on knitting needles. They would then polish the beads with bees wax and string them onto long pieces of yarn. The beads would then be used to make door curtains to divide rooms.

 
Paper Gems

 

In the 1920s and 30s, the idea of paper bead making for the purpose of jewelry making was introduced, and more recently paper beads have been made in cooperatives as part of development projects in countries such as Uganda. There, women make rolled paper beads that are ultimately purchased under fair trade agreements and are sold around the world. Organizations such as Project Have Hope, Outreach Uganda, and Bead For Life help to organize bead cooperatives. They also teach the women how to organize and run a business. The techniques used for African paper beads remains largely the same as those used in Victorian times; however, the cooperatives tend to use scrap paper from printing companies and paper recycling markets, rather than wallpaper samples.

 
Paper Gems

 

Most recently, paper beading as an art form has gained in popularity across the world. Modern artists are exploring creative and exciting ways to work with paper beads. The Paper Gems line was born out of a desire to explore these techniques. For example, I am currently experimenting with various coloring, sealing, and glazing techniques. In addition, I am an advocate for various forms of recycling. Paper beading is an excellent way to recycle old magazines that are otherwise discarded. In addition to old magazines, I use computer printouts, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, pages from damaged books, flyers and junk mail, and any other recyclable paper to make my “Paper Gems”. Once my beads are finished, I combine them with sterling silver, silver filled, or 14k gold filled findings, as well as semi-precious stones, crystals and glass beads to create unique pieces that are comfortable, lightweight, and fun to wear.

 

KuumbasHeart@Yahoo.com | 919.761.9959