Tag: recycled

Kawangware Street Children

Living and working in Kenya has its challenges.

The biggest one is to find suppliers. Let’s say it loudly, the chinese market is full of beautiful and cheap items I could buy for Eclastic. Amazing packaging, original findings, website like dhgate, aliexpress, offer a great variety of items to choose from.

BUT…

I don’t want, (and I hope the Chinese readers, if any, will forgive me for this statement) to give my support to the Chinese market. It does not need it.

During my endless research for somebody who could make gift bags at a reasonable price.

I’ve found Morris. He offered just what I needed: gift bags made of newspapers.

  • He did not ask for a deposit or upfront payment.
  • He delivered on time.
  • The bags were super cute and stunning

Morris and his colleague Agasto started Kawangware Vision Centre in 2001 to create and open up positive life opportunities for orphans, vulnerable children and at risk youth in the community. The project then as Kawangware Street Children & Youth Project (a community based organization), started making handmade and designed paper bags out of recycled papers which they sold to tourist and safari companies and the income earned was used to improve their lives as well as maintain their business.”

Wonderful people with a wonderful project. Check their website www.africabags.com

The other day I met Morris and asked if his group could make something different for me

The packaging for Eclastic Elephant Necklace!

They’ve agreed even if is not in their repertoire.

This is how it should look like but with a smaller logo. I am super excited to see what it will look like when finished!

Help us growing. Comment and share!

Thank you!!!

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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The Elephant conundrum

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I was thrilled when the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who takes care of Elephant orphans agreed to sell my little Eclastic Elephants at the curio shop.  I had no idea whether visitors to the orphanage on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi would like my little, coloured, handmade plastic Elephants. 

To my delight they did!

I promised to adopt Elephant orphans when I sell a fair amount of my Elephant necklaces. The sale went so well I adopted to orphans: Embu and Dupotto. Check their history out on the Sheldrick website.

I was not only so happy to adopt the two Elephants but also emotional about it. It’s a beautiful feeling to be able to help.

And i want to adopt more. When you buys the Elephant necklaces I can  help more orphans to a wonderful life.

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!

 

 

From Chile meet Dominique and Sergio – Reudiseno

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Dominique and Sergio

This week meet Dominique and Sergio from Chile. their website is stunning so are the items that they create from plastic bottles! Read, comment and share!

Where do you come from?

We are from Santiago, Chile, a large country in South America.

When did you start and why?

We start after graduate of industrial designers from university (Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, UTEM) and we realized that there’s so much material discarded, and we started to investigate about recycle and try techniques and ways to reuse, when we finally choose recycle plastic bottles we came up with our technic of weave.

Is this your main activity?

No, also we are teachers in recycling workshops for other institutions. We are currently teaching recycling of different materials and product development to internal prison near Santiago.

Which plastic do you use?

We use disposable bottles, which are PET plastic, usually soda.

Where do you get the plastic you need?

Our friends, family and neighbors gather bottles for us, we have recycled about thousand bottles

Who are your clients?

They are people who value the handmade and unique objects. On the other hand, also are people who likes recycling and people who ask for products or projects, all made with recycled materials.

Do you work alone or you have somebody that helps you?

We are only us, Sergio and Dominique, we had helpers but usually we are only two.

What do you love? What do you hate?

 Sergio : love: I like new things , laugh, beer , biscuits, spontaneity .

hate : Injustice, abuse, make harm

Dominque: I love to travel, to cook and bake, go to new places and spending time with my love ones, the fresh air and birthdays.

I hate the bad intentions, envy, caos and dirty things and places.

Where do you want to see your activity?

In public spaces, homes, toy stores, hotels.. actually we will like to see it in every places and countries, and have recognizing as decoration and functional pieces made with recycled materials.

Who and what inspires you?

It inspires us to do new things , experimenting with new materials and give a second life to objects. There is much material that can be used, and inspires us to transform it into something new, useful and functional objects, without neglecting the aesthetic factor.

TarucaHow many hours a day do you spend creating your products?

On average 8 hours a day, at least four days a week.

How do you find clients?

Going to events and exhibitions related to what we do, and when we appeared in magazines or television. We also have a showroom where we display our products, and we sell online in decoration shops and art galleries.

 And how do they find you?

They can see us at various fairs and events related to the design and recycling, through our social networking page. We have also emerged in some design and decoration magazines, and on television, so after that we always contact someone new. In addition, our workspace / showroom is in a very tourist district of Santiago (Barrio Bellavista), so they can found us here too.

Where can we buy your products?

 You can write us to contacto@reudiseno.cl

How has this activity changed your life?

Dominique: It made me more aware about environmental subjects, and how we can help to the care of our planet through recycling. I teached recycling to kids in some schools and kindergarden, and now even we are teaching recycle technics in a prison where i have to learn so much about trying with another persons of different years and realities of me. Also, i learn teach and i really enjoy it. Besides, sell something made with your hands is very cool.
Sergio : I checked it was possible to start something without having all the necessary resources, that with time everything is possible, that money is not important , it can be if you will, that the support of nearby it is important to follow when you think you can not and finally , with everything that is thrown can make new objects and do not need to continue generating more waste.

Any advise for people who would like to start something similar?

Dominique : It’s a long way and sometimes difficult , but it is very nice when you realize what you have achieved from what others discarded, see the utility to other objects and give it a second life is fun, plus: all days are different!

Sergio : If you want something, just do it, without putting barriers before starting. Nothing is 100 % right the first time , do not expect that, over time it gets better . Finally , take advantage of their weaknesses or difficulties in solving them appear good ideas and new things.

A message for our readers?

We hope you like our recycling of PET bottle proposal and inspire you to start trying different and new ways of recycling. There are many good materials that are discarded worldwide, we expect you leverage it too and between all help clean up the planet.

Where can we find you online?

In our web page : www.reudiseno.cl

In our Facebook page : www.facebook.com/REUdiseno

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Pudu Dominique_Sergio Alma

Eclastic for the first time in public!

Eclastic first time in public

Eclastic first time in public

One day over lunch time, Gabriele, director of Sunworld Safari and the biggest Eclastic fan, mentioned that it could be a good idea to do an exhibition to introduce Eclastic to the public. She also mentioned ZEN GARDEN.

Fighting against my usual procrastination I wrote an email to ask information about it. The answer was a bit disappointing….For a private exhibition they charge Khs 20.000/- per day…it is around 200 usd. Too much considered that the most expensive item is Ksh 3000/-… 🙁

They proposed to me another option. The High Tea fashion show. A fashion show with mini boutiques. The mini boutique was more affordable and I said “why not!”

I met Shivani, the owner of Zen Garden to show her our products and see if they could fit the event.

So my odyssey started.

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Eclastic stand

I needed ideas for new designs, and stands to show the jewelry. My friend Tums, an unusual and unique artist, helped me to create the stands. Internet as usual gave me great inspiration.

I took a week off work to dedicate myself to Eclastic, however destiny had other plans for me.

Days ran fast and I did not achieve much, the car got broken, the dog was sick and I had to meet several people and supplier. 1 week was not enough.

The night before the event I didn’t sleep. I had to tag, price, and organize everything.

Muffin, my lovely cat was not helpful at all. She was stealing the necklace during the photo shooting and tagging. I have found Elephants necklace in the most absurd corner of the house.

The day finally arrived, and on my way there the battery of my car decided to die.

I arrived a bit late but I made it. Siggi my friend, was nice enough to help me in this adventure.

I have spent 2 amazing days there.

I’ve met new friends and sold few items. People liked Eclastic this is what matters to me.

High tea fashion show photo album

 

 

Music or movie?

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This is the first necklace I’ve done with used dvd’s. The process is not the simplest but the result is excellent!

Transparent like glass, light like plastic!

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