Saturday, April 21, 2012

Project 1 - 2012: Paper Beads

Artistic creativity knows no limits. Even with a non-existent budget, art can be borne out of the simplest of things. When reflecting on the direction of the craft club one of the goals I felt passionate about was to encourage the spirit of an environmentally aware ethic - The vision was to impart the idea that art and craft was not necessarily the luxury of those who could afford expensive art supplies but to be aware of the fact that art most often is the repurposing of everyday items into expressions of creativity. 

different patterns yield different bead shapes
So for the first project of the first meeting of Unizulu's very own students Craft Club, we hit on a way to reuse paper waste created by printing of magazines, newspapers, advertisement flyers and even regular documents.   

Cutting out the bead pattern
The students were introduced to the art of paper-bead rolling. They were taught very basic bead-rolling techniques to create various bead shapes.

Comparing the bead to the desired shape
hard at work

The students seemed to grasp the concept very quickly and set to work rolling and creating their own paper beads.
a skewer helps with uniformity
Once they got the basic technique down, within no time at all they began experimenting with designs of their own. (bracelet)
  I then asked the students to find ways to incorporate their paper beads into an everyday item, the idea behind this was to encourage them to be creative - to actively find new and creative ways to apply the skill they just acquired.

I helped them out a little bit by suggesting that it could be a piece of art, an accessory or even a home decor item.

Of course the students looked at me horrified -
this I believe is the is the result of a generation raised on X-Box, TV and instant apps that predict your text for you - we may have inadvertently trained our children to not think outside the box - literally.   
At this point I sneakily introduce a little bit of Computer skill and Internet research training. I show them how to do an Internet search on various search engines to find inspiration. (paperbead curtain)
A quick search yielded some fascinating projects created out of paper beads including incredible fashion accessories, a divider screen, a beaded curtain, decorative napkin rings, designer cards and even pieces of abstract art. (bags and purses) 
The sheer volume of amazing things people have done with paper beads was enough to get the students buzzing and they began to talk to each other about ideas they had.  I smiled smugly to myself - this is exactly what I was hoping for....
brooch pin

 Prior to the class I created a quick mini art project using various scrap pieces of wire, paper rolled up tight to make a kind of ribbon, corrugated packaging board, popsicle sticks, hat pins and a white-out pen to write a simple sentiment. I was hoping that it would demonstrate how simple items can be repurposed and recycled into a useful or fun new item. 

As of now - I am still waiting for the students to show me their completed projects.  They are little perfectionists though and want more time to get it just right.  I also think the threat of having their work showcased in the display cabinet is forcing a level of attention to detail with their projects that didn't occur to me.

Well I happily conclude my first report on this exciting new project.  Until next time be gone with our wasteful selves and hello to our creative wasteless selves! 




  1. At last something lively on campus! You deserve the encourgement you're getting. Bless you.


  2. Our happyness pending to our hands how we use it effectively.I am supprised what i see at Unizulu that "hands on" on the way.