Newest Creations

‘Ohisashiburi’ is a Japanese phrase that means, “it’s been a long time….I hope you’ve been well.”

Like so many Japanese phrases, it sums up in one word what a clunky language like English needs a whole sentence or two to say.

It has indeed been a long time.  Turns out with the new job and the kids’ crazy schedules and some family things like my dad dying, the blog just  fell by the wayside.

But, I’m back.  With things to say.

I want to talk about the disaster in Japan, and how Paper Demon raised $2000 for relief with this handmade necklace made from Japanese washi paper on brass.  I was so proud to do something to help!

The Japan Relief Necklace that raised $2000!

And a cool new Japanese art I’ve been working on, this time using Japanese fabric!

Chirimen Fabric ornaments


But today I want to tell you that I’ve opened a second Etsy store!  It’s called Bellabolla Beads.  Here is the shop banner!

At Bellabolla Beads I’m selling my huge collection of vintage beads from Japan, including unusual floral lampwork glass beads known as Tombodama, antique brass buttons, and  Made in Japan faux pearls.

My stock comes from my wanderings in flea markets and antique fairs in Japan, from midwestern farm auctions, and from years of travel.  I’ve got loads of retro plastic faux pearls, Made in Japan, sold in the U.S. in the 1960s.   And some unusual finds, like hand-distressed wooden beads that I wove with yarn to make my son’s samurai armor last halloween!

Here are some of the lovely items:

Japanese Tombodama Bead

Antique Japanese Buttons

Hand-Distressed Vintage Wooden Beads

Vintage Bird Sequins

Come visit Bellabolla Beads on Etsy at!  And come “like” us on Facebook at:!

One of the things Japanese artists and crafters do best is take the beauty of traditional Japanese arts and modernize them.

This is made easier by the fact that so many traditional Japanese arts already had an ultra-modern geometric style to begin with.

For example, the ancient Seikaiha pattern, used in kimono dying for nearly a thousand years.   The pattern was originally used on ancient Chinese maps to signify the ocean, and turned up as a Japanese textile pattern on a Haniwa figure from the 4th century!  Yet, what could be more modern?

I take inspiration from this old-new blend in my Paper Demon jewelry.

But sometimes I like to feature the work of Japanese crafters in my jewelry.  A few years ago, on a supply buying visit to Japan, I discovered the jewelry supply boutique Beads Shop J4.  The artists behind this shop are dedicated to bringing traditional Japanese beauty into modern accessory supplies.  I love them!  They don’t sell online (that is to say, they do sell online but they don’t ship overseas!), so I visit their shop in the Aasakusabashi Beads District of Tokyo as often as I can.

The technique that these artists developed is to encase vintage kimono and yukata fabric in acrylic and cut and seal the acrylic in interestingly shaped beads.  I find these completely entrancing.

There are endless possibilities for how to use these beads.  So far, I’ve only used them in some really awesome earrings!

Find them all at Paper Demon Jewelry!

This fall I’ve been inspired by Mura-zome washi.  There are hundreds of varieties of Japanese washi paper, and each and every one has its own beauty.

But, I have a particular weakness for mura-zome.  Mura-zome is a traditional tie-dye paper in colors that are mind-blowingly vibrant and, to my eye, modern.

It has a cloth-like look and a stained glass look and a look that is all its own.  Here is a screen shot of a few colors from the online shop


The beauty of mura-zome washi


I started the fall entranced by fiery oranges.


Mura-zome paper art pendant


But I’ve recently moved on to greens, in this new piece, “Modern Medieval Medallion.”


Modern medieval medallion choker on copper


I adore the cloudy mystery of the green encircled by copper.  I could see Merlin wearing this, or better yet Morgan La Fay!

My challenge as a jewelry maker is remembering that sometimes my materials can speak for themselves.  I can get so caught up in the challenge of folding something fabulous or winding wire into interesting shapes that sometimes I forget that just showing the paper is all that’s really necessary.

I finally remembered that this week, and decided to try a few simple styles with my most beautiful chiyogami in simple basic frames.

The frames came from Fusion Beads, my favorite source for collage and resin blanks.  I tried antiqued silver and brass for this project, because I think the aged look sets off the organic, exotic feel of the Japanese paper beautifully.

The paper is my best and favorite–in glorious shades of teal and turquoise, orange and yellow, and iridescent silver and gold (a one of a kind paper that i’ve never seen outside the shop in Asakusabashi where i found it last summer).

The biggest challenge is, for me, always the resin.  I know there are loads of crafters out there making all kinds of gorgeous things with resin, but for me, it’s torture.  I make 4 things before 1 works.  It’s a nightmare.  But then, when it works, it’s gorgeous!  What to do?  it’s a conundrum.

Well, at least til I found Magic Glos, a UV-curing resin.  One part, so no mixing, and a 30 minute cure under a UV light (or sunlight) instead of 3 miserable days with resin.  For ADHD jewelry makers like me, this is a godsend.  Here it is on brass.  What do you think?

My kanji stamps finally arrived from Japan, so I can start personalizing my tiny Note to Self Journals.  Personalized jewelry makes such a great holiday gift.  I am happy to have found a way to make personalized, customized origami jewelry with a Paper Demon touch. Right now I have stamps for:









ki (energy)

Also tiny birds, butterflies, and Japanese and English alphabets.

Ki, Eternity, Inspire

I love these little journals.  They’re folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese washi paper.

They aren’t the most sophisticated tiny bound book in the world,  but they have a sweet simplicity that speaks volumes.

1 1/4" high

Find them at Paper Demon Jewelry:

I don’t need to tell you that Halloween is coming up.  In honor of the best holiday of the year, here are some owls that you will find at Paper Demon Jewelry.

Paper Demon Jewelry is about being bold and unafraid, taking chances, and leaps of faith.

One of the things I love about Japanese paper is its combination of delicacy and strength.  It’s the very essence of beauty, but try and tear it, and you’ll be surprised at how strong it is!

Japanese paper expresses the contradictions of life and I find it a perfect medium for expressing myself.  It inspires me!

I decided to give that inspiration form in a new creation: Note to Self–Tiny Journals to Call Your Spirit.  These journals, folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese paper, contain 8 blank pages and 2 pockets.

Note to Self: Customized Journal to Call Your Spirit

They are completely personalizable.  You can buy them blank, or you can have me fill them with your selected stamped letters, initials, names or words, or Japanese characters or images.

Closes with a golden cord; accented with a crystal

Some of the characters I can stamp into the journals are:










Keeping joy close to your heart ("joy" note in pocket)

I’ll be listing many colors soon.

I notice that designers both large and small always seem to use the words kimono, origami and geisha to market any item that is even vaguely Japanese.  That always annoys me.  Just because a pattern is Japanese doesn’t mean it comes from a kimono, people!

Of course now I’m guilty of it too.  I grit my teeth and tag my items “origami,” and “kimono” because I know that those are the search terms that people use.  As a 25-year Japan specialist and scholar though, oh how it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

But now, I’ve actually created something that I proudly call the Geisha Kanzashi Hairstick.  Why?  Because I modeled it on the kanzashi hairsticks actually worn by modern-day geisha in Japan (and yes, there are still geisha in Japan, although not a lot.  They live and work mainly in Kyoto and some traditional areas of Tokyo, entertaining at expensive private parties).

Geisha Hairstick in Red Chrystanthemum

This kanzashi hairstick is a 5 inch carved bone stick tipped by an imported red tensha bead in the traditional Chrysanthemum pattern.  Tensha beads are a special kind of Japanese bead in which the image is adhered to the bead through a heat process.  I found these at a shop in Japan and fell in love with them.  I have them in black also, in an origami crane pattern and a dragonfly pattern.

Kanzashi Hairsticks tipped with Tensha Beads

All of these patterns date from kimono patterns that are hundreds of years old.

I modeled the Geisha Kanzashi on the short hairstick tipped with a round red bead almost always worn by geisha in the back of their elaborate hairstyles.I modernized it a bit by using a round matte gold bead at the end instead of a (slightly scary) inch-long metal point!  But otherwise, I tried to stick close to the original in spirit.

This kanzashi is not meant to hold a chignon, the way a long “chopstick” does, but rather to ornament a lovely updo.

I make a long Geisha Hairstick for holding up the hair as well.  This one is modeled on the long “waterfall” of wisteria flowers hanging from the left of the geisha’s hairstyle in the lower photo above.  I replaced the wisteria with cherry blossoms but am happy with the waterfall effect nonetheless!

I can see someone wearing these hairsticks as part of a geisha Halloween costume, and then wearing them out to dinner the next day, and with jeans the day after that!

I was inspired by Japan’s modern-day geisha.  But you don’t have to be a Geisha to wear them!

The ENMA Aki Matsuri (Fall Festival) is this weekend!  I found out too late to  make it in as a vendor, but I contributed this sweet item set as a raffle prize to help raise money for the wonderful Japanese organization ENMA (Eastside Nihon Matsuri ASsociation).

Tanuki and Crane send fond greetings to ENMA Aki Matsuri

Matsuri means festival in Japanese.  And they’re WONDERFUL!  Go if you can.  This one is in Belleview Washington.  Here’s the address:

Bellevue College Main Campus
3000 Landerholm Circle SE, Bellevue, WA 98007

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