CHENNAI: They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One such treasure crafted out of waste is artist Devi Chand’s paper jewellery Papermelon. Thanks to her supportive network of friends and well-wishers, who’ve been dropping off all kinds of used papers newspaper, magazines, calendars, gift wrappers, paper bags and pamphlets at her studio in Chennai, Devi has been working with a reductionist and responsible approach.
In December 2020, she launched her debut decor collection of Christmas ornaments and wall art. “Paper is a versatile medium but you need patience and practice to get a hang of it. The success of any finished product lies in how a piece of paper is cut into strips, meticulously handrolled into perfectly shaped beads and strung together to form a piece of jewellery. For an untrained eye, this isn’t as simple as your paper quilling. There’s solid workmanship,” says Devi. The NIFT graduate started her brand on Instagram, after bidding goodbye to her corporate life at a design firm, a decade ago.
Papermelon’s website features an eclectic mix of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and bangles in vibrant colours and quirky patterns, segregated under each collection. “The Green Cycle line offers jewellery made of black-and-white newspapers. Reincarnation has designs inspired by folklore. Incredible India is inspired by the diversity of the country. These are tiny elements that I incorporate in my intricate designs to stand out from the rest,” explains Devi.
While there weren’t many paper artists in the city when Devi started off, she’s happy to find several like-minded entrepreneurs dabbling with this medium in the recent past. “We follow a zero-waste policy in our studio by transforming everyday objects into efficient work equipment. Old pens and bottles, for example, are upcycled as moulds to make the base of rings and bracelets. Jewellery is made using simple tools so there’s a low energy requirement,” points out Devi. All the beads, cords and silver findings for her jewellery are sourced locally from small home-run businesses, and packaging boxes from artisans.
“The jewellery pieces are given a coat of sealant to make them sturdy and water- resistant while preserving the natural colour and texture of the paper. These are sweat, splash-proof and in their best form when kept in a closed box. With enough precaution, the jewellery will last for a lifetime,” assures Devi, who has buyers from 35 countries. Devi is confident about the increasing scope for her jewellery in Chennai’s conservative market as people are making sustainable choices.
“I accept select custom- orders as the making process is laborious. These are slightly expensive for the same reason but those who appreciate the nuances of it invest in it. Whether you wear gold or a flashy piece of paper jewellery, it all boils down to how you carry yourself in it,” she shares.
For details, visit papermelon. com; Instagram: Papermelon. They ship across the world.
All the beads, cords and silver findings for her jewellery are sourced locally from small home-run businesses, and packaging boxes from artisans.