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Making Paper Beads – a Library event

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As part of Black History Month, volunteer members from MatrixArts recently conducted a workshop on making Paper Beads at the Arden-Dimick library on Watt Avenue.

Paper beads

Paper beads are made using strips of colorful paper, wound tightly into a shaped cylinder, glazed, and then strung into creative jewelry pieces. Any type of paper can be used, from magazine pages & newspaper to old wallpaper sample books. Heavy papers will produce larger beads, while the thinner papers will produce smaller, more delicate beads.

Joy Gee measures out triangles of paper, prior to cutting into long strips.
Paper strips, ready for rolling into beads.

While paper beads were a popular artform in Victorian England, more recently the craft has grown popular in Uganda, where women make beads from recycled paper. The craft has caught the attention of American crafters who purchase the beads through fair trade agreements.

Rolling the strips of paper onto a stick, or mandrel.

About 12 teens attended this workshop, hosted by Joy Gee and MaryEllen Burns, both volunteer artists in the MatrixArts programs. They supplied photo books, beads, twine and other supplies for the workshop. In less than 2 hours, the attendees were able to create their first collection of beads and simple necklaces.

A finished piece.

The finished pieces look nothing like paper.  When finished with a layer of laquer, they are smooth and durable, and can be an infinite variety of colors.  Alone, or mixed with other beads, they make beautiful pieces of jewelry.

Finished piece.

Another event to make the beads will be held Saturday, February 11, at 2:00 PM at the South Natomas Public Library, 2901 Truxel Road. This event will be in conjunction with the “African American Kitchen” event.  For more information, http://www.saclibrary.org/?pageId=622

This was just one of the 3800 events presented annually at the 28 branches of the Sacramento Library system. For more information and a calendar of events, call the library at (916) 264-2920 or go to saclibrary.org and click on “events”. All programs are free, though some may require an RSVP in order to assure adequate space or materials.

MatrixArts is a non-profit organization that bridges the visual, literary, performing and culinary arts. They offer art and design education programs for kids, teens, adults and families in schools, libraries, parks, community centers and other venues throughout the Sacramento region. Learn more about their programs at http://matrixarts.blogspot.com.

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