A new way to recycle; beading in Laos!

There was one more thing I really wanted to do in Luang Prabang. Online I’d found a workshop to make your own paper jewellery with a local. It seemed like an incredibly fun thing to do and a nice change from all the walking, temples and museums. So I signed up online via Backstreets academy and made my way to the shop where the workshop would start.

After crossing the bamboo bridge, that is only open during the dry season and taken down before the rains start, I arrived at Garden of Eden. There is a small jewellery shop with all kinds of necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I got to choose two items that I wanted to make. Although they didn’t have to be made from paper beads, I decided to choose two items with paper beads, so I could practise making the beads themselves as well as putting it all together.

My host Nick was a energetic young woman, who would show me how to do everything. First she let me practise making some beads and then it was time to choose a color. I like bright colors and decided on purple for a necklace and bright blue for some earrings. The paper beads were made with recycled boxes of fruit juice. You have to cut and roll them a certain way and then glue it together and give it a varnish.

With a few beads on the table, it was time to put everything together. Nick showed me how to make knots for the string and how to create the earrings with wire. We mostly worked on the jewellery together, each of us doing half the work. Nick gave me tips on how I could do things at home and really encouraged me to keep making jewellery. It was also nice to have a conversation with someone from Laos about our lives and our dreams.

Because I’d chosen some fairly simple models, there was time to create one more piece. I chose a simple bracelet with a big bead in the middle. It was such a satisfying morning. I had a great time and learned something I can continue doing at home. I have three beautiful souvenirs that will remind me of Luang Prabang forever. I loved the workshop because it was just me and Nick and it was a completely different activity then what I’ve been doing so far. This is definitely something to consider if you’re in the area!

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And here’s the result of a creative morning!

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