Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crafty Profiles: Twice Round

New to Beyond the Junkpile, I'm adding another section to profile some of the many amazing crafters and artisans working with recycled material. So I'm doubly excited to share the first profile of Tammy Bowles from Twice'Round in Ohio.

Shop: Twice'Round
Goods: recycled paper beads

Beyond Junk:
How did you get started as a crafter? With paper beads specifically?

I came from a pretty crafty family. I have pictures of me learning to knit when I was 2 or 3, and as far back as I can remember I was helping Mom knit and crochet. I also spent a lot of time drawing as a child, and learned to do cake decorating, baking and chocolate molding as a youngster as well, since my mom ran a small bakery out of our home.

Growing up, I spent as much time with my Dad's mom as I could, and she taught me a lot of other skills. Her favorite crafts involved turning every day items (like egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, old gloves, plastic forks, and junk mail) into things that people could actually appreciate. She taught me one year to make paper beads, and I've been hooked on it ever since.

Beyond Junk:
What inspired you to open an online store?

Because of a progressive disability I've had to re-arrange my life several times. This last time I was left unable to hold a regular full-time job in any capacity, so I ended up starting an online toy company ( I opened an Etsy store for that business first, and then opened the Twice-'Round store as a place to sell supplies and other things that didn't fit with the toy business.

Beyond Junk:
Do you see your work as being environmentally friendly? If so, how?

I would say my work is environmentally friendly. All of my beads are made from recycled materials: junk mail, catalog pages, magazines, old calendars, old gift bags, soda bottles, etc. I use shellac as the finish, which is a natural product.

I do stock wood parts that I get from from a wholesale supplier, but any screw-ups or parts that do not meet my quality standards are sanded and reused, or passed on to someone who will reuse them.

Beyond Junk:
Tell us a bit about your plans for Twice 'Round.
As of now, my Twice-'Round shop is mostly a stress-relief for me. I'm a very odd sort of person... even though my nerves are damaged and the fine motor control in my hands is not what it used to be, even though it's actually painful to use my hands, the monotony of rolling beads is a very cathartic experience for me. I can't do it most days, but I do it when I can, and more often when I'm stressed out about other things.

I love combing through magazines and catalogs to find pages that will make pretty or interesting beads. I get excited when I receive a particularly bright or colorful piece of junk mail. When I sit down to make a set of beads I take the time contemplate which size bead will most complement the colors and thickness of a particular piece of paper.

I let the control-freak in me take over as I make precise measurements to cut each paper into strips, and I'm careful to line up each bead just-so, with every turn, as I'm rolling it. For some inexplicable reason, I feel like a little kid every time I hear that *plink* as I remove a finished bead from my toothpick and let it fall into the bowl with all the others.

Selling the beads just gives me an excuse to keep making them, as I discovered long ago that many people are much better at designing jewelery around the beads than I am.

Here are just a few items from Tammy's shop: