Hi Tania ~ I make jewellery (Jools by Julie Q): necklaces using Kazuri Beads and leather bracelets. I’ve noticed from my stats that I’m receiving visitors to my webpage from Think Tasmania. That’s great! I don’t know how they find me; perhaps because I left a message on one of your articles once? If you have space sometime to write about my creations that would be fantastic. I would be happy to provide a piece of jewellery for a prize in return. Cheers, Julie Quon

Kazuri Beads - Necklaces
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Jools by Julie Q: Kazuri beads

And with that simple but lovely note, Think Tasmania was introduced to Julie Quon. We know how much our readers love to hear about Tasmanian makers, especially those doing something interesting and unique. And who doesn’t appreciate a good giveaway opportunity? So it’s time for us to share what we’ve learned about Julie and her Kazuri beads.

Who is Julie Quon?

Living in West Hobart in a big old Federation home, there is always plenty of housework to do! Julie Quon has made it her mission in life to avoid housework as much as possible and finds she can do that by devoting a large amount of time to her other interests. Luckily, her husband and cat, the other occupants of the home, are happy to accommodate her creative spirit.

Julie has always liked making things. Firstly doll’s clothes and later clothing for herself. For many years she made and sold artist bears under the name Rag Tag Teddies. Not long ago, Julie found that she was “beared out” and decided to try a different direction for her creative urges. She has always made jewellery for herself and decided to take this to another level. She wanted something different from the usual designs and styles and her research led her to discover Kazuri beads.

Kazuri Beads - Jewellery
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Julie Quon: jewellery from Kazuri beads

What are Kazuri Beads?

Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili, an East African language. Cermic Kazuri beads are both handmade and hand painted. Each of these beads are shaped by hand, without the aid of moulds or forms. Kazuri beads are handmade in Nairobi, Kenya. Lady Susan Wood started The Kazuri Company in 1975 as a cottage industry with the social mission to provide employment for women. Over the years, the popularity of Kazuri beads has grown and with that, the factory has expanded while still maintaining its social mission.

Kazuri Beads - Handmade in Tasmania
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Kazuri beads: stunning jewellery

Now more than 360 (mostly single) mothers are employed making these beads. The wages they are paid means that they can support their families and escape poverty. Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Act. It is difficult to buy Kazuri beads in Australia so Julie mostly buys necklaces and then uses the beads in her own creations.

Tagua Nut Beads, Semi-Precious Gemstones and Ragliz

Julie also discovered Tagua Nut Beads which are sustainably made from the nuts of South American rainforest palm trees, and are an eco-friendly product that provides employment for nearly 35,000 people. Tagua is often called vegetable ivory or palm ivory, due to its color and rock-hardness when dried. They are also sold under the Fair Trade Agreement. Julie likes to combine these beads with other mediums such as semi-precious gemstones including onyx, dyed jade, lava and amethyst to name a few. She may even add some Hill Tribe Silver or handmade lamp-work beads.

Mostly, the designs of Julie Quon are not your usual symmetrical creations. She likes to mix it up and that makes each necklace or bracelet a piece of wearable art and one of a kind. Recently, Julie has added some leather bracelets to her range. She uses flat leather and round leather which is called “Regaliz” and is Spanish for licorice. There are many different components for these bracelets available for purchase and that means each design is different from the next. These are very affordable and a fun accessory to wear.

Kazuri Beads - Leather Bracelets
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Jools by Julie Q range

Where to Buy Kazuri Beads from Julie Quon

Julie has set up an Etsy shop to sell her Kazuri beads and leather jewellery online: Jools by Julia Q. She was also lucky enough to have a table at the Kingston Beach Handmade Market in January; making some sales and receiving lovely comments about her designs. She hopes to attend another Tasmanian market later this year.

Kazuri Beads - Jools by Julie Q
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Necklaces made from kazuri beads

Many enjoyable hours are spent at her kitchen table playing with her Kazuri beads and leather to create her jewellery. If Julie Quon makes jewellery for as long as she made bears, she’ll have to live to a ripe old age!

And by now, you will all be dying to know how to win the giveaway. Think Tasmania will be offering readers a chance to win a gorgeous red and white necklace made by Julie Quon from Kazuri beads valued at $55-00… soon! We were also contacted recently by Donelle Stevenson, coordinator of the Kingston Beach Handmade Market, with an invite for Think Tasmania to visit Kingston Beach Hall, 20 Beach Road, Kingston Beach on April 14. There’s even more incentive to visit now with such beautiful jewellery on show.

1 April 2013 ~ Think Tasmania readers now have a chance to win the necklace…

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