Tag: recycled jewelry

The evolution of a product

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Around 2 years ago, one of the Maasai working at the camp, Steven,  gave me a gift. A small elephant necklace made out of cow bone. It was an unexpected gift that I really appreciated.

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Once home, I tried to cut the same shape on a DVD but it was harder than expected. The trunk was getting broken all the time, the plastic was not melting together, the colours were fading.

I did hundreds of experiments before I got it right.

I started to sell the Elephant necklace at Mara Bush Camp – Private Wing and people loved them!

We got featured on the Air Kenya magazine “Ndege News” and some people came to the camp just to buy the small red elephant necklace.

I was very proud, but not totally satisfied.

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My mum told me once that Elephants with the trunks up bring good luck and that is what everyone needs, isn’t it? So I started to change the original design.

Cutting was even more challenging than before.  But the result was much nicer.

I even dare to say; rather fabulous!

Small Elly

At the same time I discovered metal stamping. What a cool thing. I couldn’t help but fell in love with it.

But plastic cannot be hammered…so I’ve tried to write something on a piece of aluminium taken from an old broken teapot. I wrote a message to myself “NEVER GIVE UP”.

I wear it all the time.

This is how I started “The Elephant with a Message” that got sold out in very short time at the camp.

I wrote inspirational quotes like “Dreams come true“, “Enjoy each day“, “I can and I will“, “you are special“, “you are loved“, “Keep going“.

I am still not 100% satisfied.

I feel that the little Elephant Necklace is work in progress, It will go through more changes, aiming for perfection.

Stay tuned!

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Recycling fashion

Eclastic is going from strength to strength. I am still in the process to find a good and steady market for my jewellery, made from recycled products. When I reach that goal I will be able to employ women on a permanent base.

I need publicity, people need to know what I have on offer. 

I met Chloe, a woman who produces wonderful hats. We were sharing a stand at the High Tea fashion show at Zen Garden in Nairobi. A super place where the wealthy and  fashionable meet. At least that’s how I experienced it.   

I loved Chloe’s hats and like a little girl tried them all and thought I looked funky. Chloe is the milliner behind Drop of a Hat, her company. She is young and talented and I admire what she creates. We had a good time and discussed creating a collection together.  Over tea and chocolate cookies we discussed hats with my decorations. 

Check out the Eco Hats collection….

I love it!

For more hats check Chloe’s website Drop of a hat

Share if you care!

 

Teaching is an art

After many months, I have finally time to write about the workshop at Olmalaika home this past September.

As usual, the night before a workshop I never sleep. I always think too much. What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t follow? What if I am not able to express myself…etc etc etc (see article on the previous workshop with Maasai Ladies).

I had prepared samples to show, tools, colors, pliers, candles, dvds and of course plastic bottles.

Sekenani is a bit far from Little Mara Bush Camp, so, to avoid to get lost as usual I’ve decided to go with John Lenkume, our Naturalist Maasai and absolutely fun and Kipande, our mechanic.

The camp and the guests were now in Nelson’s hands, my trusted assistant and friend.

I drive.

The drive to Olmalaika home from Olkiombo takes around 2 hrs. On my way there I saw elephants, Giraffes, thousand of wildebeest, gazelles and Hyenas.

I could stay hours watching animals and I love Maasai Mara.

My colleagues were impressed, I can actually drive a 4×4 landcruiser in a rough road and I am a WOMAN! wow, what a surprise for them.

I arrived around 10 am as promised. The girls were all busy doing their daily duties. I went on the back of the house to plant 2 trees on behalf of our guests. A small cow inside the compound was looking at me. I NEED to touch that cow. No luck unfortunately, he ran away.

With the Matron, we unpacked all I had, included a bag full of goodies from Connie, one of our guest. T-shirts, socks, bags, pencils got equally distributed among the girls.

For some reason I find really difficult to understand when they liked something or not. This feeling followed me the whole day.

It is time to start. OIOIOIOIOI there are so many girls compared to the previous workshop. Panic mood mode on.

My voice was extremely shaky and low…but it didn’t matter to them. I could see the girls all sitting around the table with the curious eyes looking at all my tools and plastics on the table.

The plan was to create a napkin holder with plastic bottles flowers.

While I started to cut the plastic I felt they were not interested very much and my heart was really sad.

It was only when they saw the finished flower that the enthusiasm appeared in their faces. I did my best to explain how to cut and manipulate the plastic bottles, some of them were extremely talented, some a bit less, but everyone put a lot of effort.

Still, I could not understand if they were enjoying it or not.

While the big girls were involved in the napkin holder project, the young one went for the first time ever on a game drive with Kipande and John.

I saw somebody carrying in the car a young girl with no feet. Kim mentioned her to me. She fell in the fire when she was young and nobody helped her. Do I have to comment that?

Lunch time arrived faster than expected and I know it was going to be a problem. I do not eat onion and in this planet onion is everywhere!!! I got away with some white rice.

Their hospitality was great and all the girls are really sweet.

I finally realised how happy they were when they refused to go on a game drive to do more flowers. This was a big satisfaction. They also did some plastic flowers necklace that they were proudly wearing.

The young girls back from the game drive were extremely happy.

Is there anything else in this life more precious that a happy smile of a child who has been through hell?

It is time to go back but we still have time for the last game drive with the big girls. We saw lions, cheetah, gazelles and buffaloes. Outside the reserve they were singing. They looked totally different from before. I saw them not like little girls ready to learn something new, I saw them as women, with feelings, dreams and a future full of hope.

If you don’t know who these girls are, please take your time to read their website www.theolmalaikahome.org

After few photos together and lot of smiles I got in the car and drove back.

Let me tell you something about that….

I was tired and I had headache, but my colleagues had driven the girls around the whole day so I didn’t feel like make Kipande drive again (forget John..he doesn’t have a driver’s licence).

The only thought I had in mind was to go back at the camp, have a hot shower in my tent and go to sleep.

I’ve asked: which way should I go? John said: Let’s take the simba route, it’s faster and better.

I agreed, without suspecting what was expecting me…

The Simba route is an horrible very long way to go back. I don’t know which criteria John has used to classify this route as “the fastest and better” way but I will never trust his judgement again 🙂

I didn’t see a road for the whole way. Only mud. The vehicle was sliding here and there. I had to cross a river that was obstructed by a broken truck. I thought I was going to destroy the car, got eaten by a lion and fired by the company.

The headache at that point was not an issue anymore. I was swearing in many different languages and John, with the typical Maasai calm told me:- But you are doing well, you can drive very well, you should be happy.

Kipande was giving me the wrong direction to pass the river and I was destroying an acacia tree. Thank God I made it out of that chaos. I feel there is an issue in understanding the difference between right and left in this country…

If John will ever say let’s take a shortcut I will leave him behind with his shortcut.

It was a long and heavy drive and I arrived at the camp almost in the darkness.

At the end we all had a laugh to my driving experience and a good shower and a hot dinner fixed the headache.

I am not totally satisfied with the result of this workshop, to reach the perfection I am looking for, I will have to go back and do some more training. Only when the product will be up to standard the girls will be able to sell what they produce 🙂 I cannot wait to go there again!

Check more photos on facebook!

 

 

First Eclastic ring

Eclastic ring

Like most of the women I love rings and I love to be different everyday.

I got inspiration from some “beadable rubber ring” that I saw on the net and I thought…why can’t I make it with plastic bottles?

I’ve used a small fanta bottle, wire and some beads.

The biggest challenge for me was to get the size right. I am still in the bush with no tools and I have to be a bit more creative.

I think it is a smart and simple ring, comfortable to wear. I have given one as a gift to James the Maasai waiter. It will be a gift for his wife.

Maasai do amazing things with beads, they have that patience that I truly miss.

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