Hey! I’m Devi Chand, and I make some exciting sustainable paper jewelry. I live in a colorful India. I create from my little home studio in Chennai. I craft so that I don’t have to do other boring things. I’m wife to one and mother to a smaller one.
As a tiny little nose picking kid, I loved to make things. My favorite things to make were glittery baubles and tiny gift boxes from candy wrappers. I proudly hung them on the Christmas tree, and then it felt like Christmas. My parents were super supportive in my crafty adventures and ignored the mess.
I grew up and studied design at NIFT. College inspired to dream, design and make more things. As a side effect, I met my awesome husband here. After graduation, I worked in a design firm. I yawned most of the time there. It took me only nine months to say goodbye to corporate life. I started Papermelon in 2009, and have been happily crafting thereafter.
My customers have often commented that my jewelry makes great conversation starters, because they are made from something as humble as paper, that it’s hard to imagine its transformation into a wearable piece of art. And that’s why I wanted to share this creative journey with you.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
When I started out, all I had was an enthusiastic me and a colourful stash of paper, thanks to my design education. During one of my experiments, I made my first paper bead by rolling a paper strip over a tooth pick. It looked ‘different’ from beads I’d seen before. That was the first of the many many hours I spend making paper beads, perfecting the art, and researching to make the beads beautiful and durable.
Overtime, I’ve fallen in love with working with paper, and the magic it creates. It also gives me immense joy to be a part of the sustainable fashion movement, paper being one the few truly sustainable and renewable resources.
I obsessively collect all kinds of papers – newspapers, magazines, calendars, gift wraps, paper bags and pamphlets to name a few. Occasionally, I also buy eco friendly paper from my local store and during my travels. And most amazingly, I also have a network of friends, neighbours and relatives, who unconditionally passes on the vibrant paper stash they collected for this offbeat jewelry maker.
LIGHT BULB MOMENTS
I’ve these moments of inspiration when all I want to do is snuggle on the sofa and sketch, sketch and sketch some more ideas. This may sound crazy, but sometimes designs and techniques also come in my dream (They unfold like a youtube tutorial). The ideas will remain in my notebook till I find the right paper one day, and I usually know when it’s a perfect match. Then I get to work on it, make several prototypes before I’m happy with the final outcome.
HAPPY STUDIO TIME
My little 6-year old is my timer. My studio time is when she’s off to school or taking a little nap.
My studio space includes my work table (dining table in its previous life), a few racks (that I managed to conquer) and our balcony (sharing space with birds and plants). My studio occasionally intrudes into the bedroom, but withdraws upon popular demand.
I use simple hand tools and no machinery in production, because my hands are usually enough. Paper is cut into strips and meticulously hand rolled into perfectly shaped beads. I work with papers that have irregular designs and colors, so it’s hard to predict the patterns the beads will decide to have. So when they are finished, I’m as surprised as anybody else. And I love that suspense.
The paper beads are given a coat of sealant to make the jewelry water resistant, so they can be cherished forever. The beads will rest in my balcony until they are thoroughly sun-dried. The beads are then assembled into necklaces, earrings and bracelets in intriguing designs. All ear-wires and necklace clasps are made of recycled sterling silver. (Read more about my sustainable studio practices here.)
My jewelry making process is incredibly time consuming and tedious, however, the final result always makes me smile. I hope it brings you the same joy 🙂
STAY IN THE LOOP
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