Paper is a readily available material with an infinite variety of colours, textures, patterns, sizes and thicknesses. Qualities of paper is such that they can be folded, creased, rounded, twisted, tied and made into various forms and shapes. A design programme, for second year BDES students, was carried out to make beads using paper as material. In the process of making paper into a bead jewellery, the students took different approaches in creating the design. Some of the objectives of the project can be listed down as below.

By Hiranthi Pathirana, Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa

  • TEST THE PROPERTIES OF PAPER– foldable, crumple, teared, cut, twisted, pulped, glued, woven, stripped etc.
  • TO TEST THE STRENGTH OF PAPER –various methods were found out in strengthening paper in bead making.
  • AESTHETICS – aesthetics of paper were tested with applied colour, colour compositions chosen, colour balance achieved in the design.
  • FUNCTION– functional aspects of beads were considered and creative methods adapted for the wearable jewellery achieved.
  • AFFORDABILITY– one of the main objectives was to create affordable, attractive jewellery with an entirely new concept.
  • DURABILITY – the durability of the jewellery to withstand regular uses was also considered, an important aspect that solutions needed to find.

Some of the design solutions brought in with different designs are presented below.

DESIGN 01 – White beads are made with the structural principle of folded plates strung together by a cord. Because of several layers it withstand regular use and retains the shape.

DESIGN 02 – A lightweight flower bud form is created with closely wrapped spacer beads of yellow ochre. Folded quality is enhanced in the main bead forms.

DESIGN 03 – Loosely connected paper beads with frills.

DESIGN 04 – Paper is made into close wrapped beads, with suitable colours and applied glue making them hard for durability. The knotty forms brought in paper is considered a worthy effort.

DESIGN 05 – Paper is made into wooden like form with layers of paper glued together as pieces of bark.  Flat wooden quality settles well on the neck form. Also found are the tied cords at the back of the neck.

DESIGN 06 – Layers of corrugated form is taken to make design elements representing ‘rudhakshina’ beads, used by Hindu Priests.

DESIGN 07 – Attempt is made to represent nature’s forms in this particular necklace. Paper is brought in to organic quality and certain naturalness in the fruits of certain plants.

DESIGN 08 – The quality of paper is  enhanced, by cutting and shaping. Hierarchy of design elements are seen in their composition. Rigid geometrical shapes are used at intervals as spacers.

DESIGN 09 – The folded quality of mushroom is enhanced in these paper beads.

DESIGN 10 – Paper is made into a thick slab using pulp and made into dye with forest green.

DESIGN 11 – Green colour paper used for design 11, folded into  flat organic forms of beads.

DESIGN 12 – Is an approach to design, with carefully cut little pieces of paper closely combined. in stack forms. Also earthy complimentary colours are used. The necklace contain several strands. The form does not get distorted in longer uses, due to its close compact nature of the beads.

DESIGN 13 – Beads are made into solids connected by cylinders.

DESIGN 14– Traditional concepts of packaging is adapted into beads, composed as several stacks attached together with a string. Paper is woven into several compartments and attached with a cord.

Conclusion – the experiments made above indicate to us greater possibility of harnessing qualities of paper, into something extraordinary. The potential of using paper is experimented with each examples reflecting the wide range of possibilities and more to experiment. Acknowledgment – BDES students Yr II, 2007

Hiranthi Pathirana was the author of ‘Nature’s Colours’ which appeared in The Architect October – December 2009.