YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FASHION : Artists Turn to Odd Materials to Create Cards, Jewelry, Valances : Natural fibers become decorated paper, and in someone else's hands, cardboard boxes evolve into earrings and brooches.


Local entrepreneurs Beth Thayer and Joice Renee Moon-Williams use unconventional materials to create their artwork.

Thayer makes paper from scratch to create unusual greeting cards and window valances. Moon-Williams takes used cardboard boxes and recycles them into unique cards and jewelry.

Thayer's cards are handmade, right down to the paper they're printed on. You choose your own sentiments, but the cards are so unusual and interesting that you don't have to be Maya Angelou to impress someone.

"People call it stationery; I call it cards," says Thayer, who graduated from Otis Art Institute-Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.

The paper is made from pulp fashioned from abaca, which is a banana leaf. Thayer adds color pigment, then lays out the paper to dry. The whole process takes days to complete.

Thayer worked with an interior decorator on the East Coast before moving to Camarillo this year. Besides making greeting cards, she does wedding announcements, invitations and window valances.

Her valances hover over windows throughout the home of a Westlake client. In shades of teal with wisps of twigs, feathers and other add-ons, the valances brought the outdoors inside the home and blended in with the open, rustic ambience of the house.

"I make the valances out of several different fibers, then add other fibers to it, like unspun silk, glitter, plant things I find, ribbons and the pigments. I paint it afterward," she says.

The process is like fashioning a collage. The valances look fragile but they're not.

"They are very durable because they're not made from paper that comes from wood pulp where the fibers are broken down through processing," she says. "Fibers from the abaca are long and woven together much like cloth."

Thayer's cards are $6; her valances range from $200 to $400.

Joice Renee Moon-Williams' cardboard cards and jewelry are fashioned out of plain and simple corrugated boxes. She made her first card a year ago when her mother was ill, Moon-Williams was broke and they had just moved to Port Hueneme. Surrounded by cardboard boxes, she made do with what she had.

"I make designs, cut away and peel off the top layer of the corrugated cardboard, paint the corrugation one color and the part that's flat another color," she says.

Some of her jewelry has a metallic look, and some appears to be oxidized copper. She dips the earrings and brooches in wax to seal them and give them a more durable quality. Her designs are geometric; the patterns look three-dimensional. She says it "looks like you're wearing a little picture on your clothes."

Moon-Williams' cards are mini-sculptures, pieces of art you can place on a shelf or mantel. She thinks of a design, then cuts, scores and folds. Customers often ask her to write something to go with the card. Whether it's their sentiment or hers, she writes it in calligraphy.

Her cards are $15. Her jewelry sells for $20 a set; separately, the brooches are $15, the earrings $10.


* CALL: Beth Thayer, 482-4762; Joice Renee Moon-Williams, 986-4358.

Los Angeles Times Articles