Adventures in Kandi Land

HAPPY SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like it took forever, but it is finally my spring break which means that I will be spending the next 10 days sleeping in, working on a little homework, playing video games (I am determined to finally finish Kingdom Hearts II), watching movies, and working every night (gotta stack that cash…I really need to finish paying off my term bill). And what better way to start off my break than by going to bed at 3 a.m. and being awakened at 10 a.m. by a text? But that’s all ok because I’ve been using my time doing something valuable: arts n’ crafts of course! But I’m not talking about your average craft project. I’m talking about something much more colorful and complex:

I’m talking about KANDI.

(Image found courtesy of Google)

You know, the chunky, colorful bracelets made from pony beads and such that ravers tend to wear. Now you may be wondering why the heck I’m even talking about this or why I have chosen to spend part of my spring break doing this particular type of bead work. Well, let’s start from the beginning…and by the beginning, I really mean the confession that I’m about to make.

I am a pop cultural fiend, particularly when it comes to the ’90s and things pertaining to children. Of course, this is nothing new. I am a total ’90s kid. The decade was prime time for exceptional children’s television, the continuation of awesome music (hello, y’all know y’all totally dug the Spice Girls…), and let’s just be honest; toys back then were the shiz. I’m not even saying all of that just because I was born in ’91. I’m saying all of that to lead to my second confession:

At times, I am a total nerd. Aside from being obsessed with Crayola and Sesame Street, I also have a healthy love for Batman (and various other superheroes). I occasionally pretend like I am a spy whilst humming the Mission: Impossible theme. I sleep with a Yoda plush toy next to me because I seriously believe he uses the force to protect me from danger. I have a unicorn pillow pet named Charlie. My wardrobe consists of pop cultural t-shirts including, but not limited to: Ghostbusters, Pac-Man, Invader Zim, Harry Potter, etc. I frequently shop at Hot Topic for new pop culture items. Like I said, I am a total nerd. But still, all of that leads up to something even bigger, a confession that will probably drop judgement bombs all over me.

I like anime. There. I said it. Because I am pop culturally inclined, a total ’90s kid, and a bit nerdy, I can openly admit to my relationship with anime. Luckily, I can say that it is a rather healthy relationship. I am not obsessed. I do not eat, sleep, and breathe it. I do not talk about it all the time. I do not let it consume my life. Except for once a year. Because I still have one more confession: I attend the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention annually (photos from which you will see in about 26 days). And yes, I do get extremely excited about it. I get to see some of my friends who I don’t normally get to see. I get to spend a weekend bonding with my brother. I get to geek out without an ounce of judgement raining upon me. And I am not afraid to admit that.

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s go back to the kandi craft. (There is a point to all of this, I promise.) Every year at the con, there’s a rave. And because I am pop culturally inclined, and because I like to party, I like learning new things. A few years ago, I was at the anime con standing in line for an event when this guy with a Hello Kitty Bubble Blower started spreading his bubble joy nearby (I’m being dead serious. Anything is possible at an anime convention). He came up to my friends and I, and I noticed that he was wearing an assortment of kandi cuffs and single strands. I was intrigued to say the least. I knew what kandi was, but I didn’t really know how it was made or anything like that. So I asked the Hello-Kitty-bubble-blowing guy if I could have one of his bracelets, and much to my pleasure, HKBB guy granted my wish. He took a moment to pick the perfect strand and put the chosen bracelet onto my wrist with a huge smile and more bubbles. I cherish that bracelet. I don’t let others wear it, and I usually only wear it for very special occasions (like photo shoots and parties or, of course, the anime convention) so that nothing bad will happen to it.

And from that point forward, I have been super intrigued by kandi so much so that I spent a little time last year teaching myself how to make cuffs and learning about the culture behind kandi. But this year, I finally had the best materials and the time to devote to going all out. Behold the following creations:

A small shooting star cuff that I made for my friend who will be coming to the con with me for the first time ever.

A Pikachu cuff celebrating Pokemon (I made this one because I have a Pikachu hat and wanted something to go with it).

A Gir cuff to celebrate Invader Zim. This took 6 hours to make (would have been less, but I made a color mistake at one point and didn’t notice it until about 3 or 4 rows later and had to go back which took some time).

Sure, I could be doing other things with my time. I could sleep instead of staying up until 2 a.m. stringing beads on some elastic string. I could read a book or draw a picture or go outside and tan (ha! that’s funny…I’m permanently tan, but once everyone gets back from spring break, there will be more dark people on campus). But I find making kandi to be much more fun. There are patterns for everything. There’s a whole world out there for fun kandi making experiences. So do I regret spending 6 hours of my life last night making that Gir cuff? Nope, not at all.

My collection is small, and one of them isn’t even for me. Maybe I’ll make some single strands to trade/give away. But for now, I’ll bask in the glory of a job well done. Most of my friends can’t say they’ve made anything this intricate before. Of course, I am the crafty one of the group, so this is just another artistic medium for me. It’s wearable art.

Happy Saturday!


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