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On paper, a fun hobby for sure

Anna Granly of Fosston, uses paper to make beads, as well as regular beads, and then makes necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

FOSSTON -- Everywhere she goes, Anna Granly pays attention to sheets of paper.

It could a stack of brochures, a magazine page that stands out . . . she starts thinking "that has got to be a necklace or something."

Granly, 50, of Fosston, uses paper to make beads, as well as regular beads, and then makes necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

She was looking to find a hobby and started making roses out of coffee filters, but quickly got bored, she said.

While searching for ideas on the Internet, she came accross videos about paper beads, so she did more research on the art form. The basics of making a paper bead involves cutting a strip of paper, rolling it around an item such as toothpick and covering it two coats of a paper sealer and a glaze.

Sure, it sounds easy, but the rolling technique leads to what shape the bead will become. "When I first started out, they weren't perfect, they were oblong," Granly said.

The art of paper bead making allows a lot of room for the artist to be creative. "Some are different patterns, some are the same patterns, just some have different paper, but different beads will make it look totally different," Granly explained. "You can roll it the same way, its just that I used thicker paper or double paper."

When she started, Granly would often cut, measure and use a bit of guesswork, but now she uses templates to make sure each bead is exactly the same, "but I've gotten good enough that if my beads are not perfect, I throw them."

With one sheet of paper, she tries to make a set consisting of a necklace, bracelets and pair of earrings. Granly sells her jewelry at local craft fairs but also at The Crafty 1's, a local handmade gifts and goods store in Fosston.

Time flies for Granly when she is in her in basement working on beads, "I'll be down there rolling, and all of sudden, it feels like I just started, and my husband yells down 'Are you going to make dinner?'"

Granly has no plans to stop to making beads. "I do have arthritis in my hands, but actually when I start rolling my fingers, they get to be a little more limber; when I stop, they feel like they get more stiffer," she explained.

In terms of wearing jewelry, Granly most often only wears her own, "I didn't have any earring to match (a necklace), so I just made one."

Maggi Stivers

Maggi Stivers is a Multi-Media Journalist at the Bemidji Pioneer. She covers art and entertainment in the Bemidji area. She is a 2013 Bemidji State graduate majoring in mass communications with a minor in sociology. Contact her at (218) 333-9790 or

(218) 333-9790