Right now, Ecouterre’s Clifford Champion is featuring some amazing jewelry made from discarded plastic bottles.
All that glitters is not gold. From the sloping dunes of the Sahara comes a groundbreaking design process that turns waste from refugee camps into jewelry as beautiful as the intentions behind it. Royal College of Art student Florie Salnot collaborated with Sandblast, a London-based nonprofit that works with the Saharawis of Algeria, to find a creative yet economic solution to raise awareness about their cultural displacement. Old plastic bottles from the refugee camp are collected and repurposed into remarkable faux-gold jewelry that reflects their local traditions.
On the low-cost, low-energy production process, Champion writes:
First, artisans carefully paint plastic bottles the desired color and allow them to dry. The colored bottles are then cut into long, thin strips and woven around intricately arranged nails that have been hammered into a wooden board. Once the strips are secure, the board is submerged in hot sand, which shrinks the plastic around the nail board’s pattern. When they are finally removed, the plastic strips have transformed into delicate, labyrinthine designs that are ready for sale.
The results are truly remarkable. And, as Champion notes, this design effort challenges our perceptions of waste and has the potential to help the community toward economic self-sufficiency.