Welcome to EarthLab

Organic and sustainable design for modern homes

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Recycled Tetrapak Jewelry

Tetrapak is that ubiquitous material used in literally billions of drinks and other food cartons all over the world, it's made of layers of paper, plastic and aluminium foil.

Have you ever opened up one of those cartons to take a look inside? My friend Manuela, did just that one day when her milk finished, and the result is some jewelry of surprising beauty.

She used origami techniques to make the tetrapak into square bead shapes, which she made into earrings. I saw them, liked them, bought them, then asked her to make a necklace too.

I received my necklace today, it's lovely! The worked tetrapak resembles silvery leather. It's very lightweight, and perfect for summer. I love the idea that she uses a material normally discarded and creates something beautiful.

Manuela also makes jewelry using the same techniques on  recycled or handmade paper, if you'd like to know more do take a look at her Etsy shop, Manufactapaper

Nyaka Grandmothers

Many of us enjoy crafting as a hobby, or a source of a little extra income, a few make it a full time job. For many of us it is a cosy and fun little world which provides a little distraction.

A little while ago I came across an Etsy shop offering something a little different, baskets made by grandmothers in Uganda who use the vital income generated to care for their grandchildren, left orphans by the AIDS virus.

These children are extremely vulnerable to poverty, and the Nyaka project offers educationfor the children as well as income generation schemes for the grandmothers, their carers.

If you want to get involved you can buy one of their fabulous baskets in their Etsy shop, NyakaGrandmotherShop or how about hosting a basket party? They'll send you everything you need, here's what they say on their website:
"When you host a Basket Party, you become part of a growing circle of people who are helping impoverished Ugandan women rise out of poverty. By partnering with Ugandan women a world away, you are truly helping them achieve a better future. On behalf of the Ugandan Grandmothers and orphans living in extreme poverty, thank you for taking action!"

To find out more, visit the Nyaka Project website, or their Facebook page.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Etsy Front Page!

A few days ago, Earthlab made the front page on Etsy, yay!
It doesn't happen very often so it made me happy, here's the treasury:

Recycled eco felt

I wanted to write a little bit about a material I use a lot, and was actually one of the inspirations behind Earthlab, recycled eco felt. The one I use is called EcoFi, and is made by the Kunin company. 

It's made form the plastic drinks bottles we throw away millions of!
I'm often asked how it's made, so here is their description from the EcoFi website:

"Plastic PET containers are picked up at community recycling centers, then sorted by type and color.
They are stripped of their labels and caps, washed, and crushed, then chopped into flake.
The flake is melted and extruded to create fiber. The fiber is crimped, cut, drawn and stretched into desired length for strength, then baled.
The baled fiber can be processed into fabric for a variety of textile product end uses"
One of my pillows uses about the equivalent of 4 plastic bottles, so that's 4 bottles saved from the landfill and turned into something beautiful and long lasting.
You can learn more at their website, here: EcoFi