Some Inspiration: Florie Salnot's Plastic Gold

I first came across Florie Salnot and some of the work she had undertaken with Saharawi refugees in Western Sahara during last summer’s degree show of the Royal College of Art. I collected some promotional postcards containing the address of promotional website and planned to write a short post. But then I got distracted. After all I had a PhD to finish. And eventually I forgot. Until this morning when cleaning up my desk I stumbled across one of the postcards. It had been demoted to a table mat for the army of tea cups that gets me through the day. I had a second look at it and, once again, I found myself thinking what a wonderful idea this was. And, guys, isn’t there some inspiration in here to creatively deal with the waste problem in Nigeria?! I know, all your fashionable ladies may be a bit sceptical a the idea of ‘recycling jewellery’ (and, yes, this is my old complex about not being able to keep up with fashionable Nigerian women speaking here – honestly, how do you keep crisp and clean in that heat when I’m getting soaked in my own sweat?). And, while I think its brilliant, the cute little purse made from pure water bags (sorry, no photo) I have recently seen may not be to everybody’s taste. But, I defy you to find anything not to like about this gorgeous jewellery made of ‘plastic gold’ (Salnot’s more than appropriate term)!

Me thinks they’re gorgeous. And, it’s so easily done, so low tech. So, for those of you looking for inspiration, here’s short introduction to the project from Salnot’s website.

What is the Plastic Bottle Project?

I have designed a technique and some specific tools to enable the Saharawi refugees to produce some pieces of jewelry with the very limited resources which are available in their camps, i.e.: plastic bottles and sand.

The Saharawis are former nomadic people who used to live in Western Sahara. In 1975, Morocco annexed their territory. Since then, over half of them have been living in exile in a barren and remote stretch of Algerian desert. The other part of the Saharawis lives in Marocco.

The Saharawis used to have a craft tradition. However, as at today, the lack of the resources (e.g.: leather) their traditional craft was using and the few sales opportunities for the type of products they had have made their craft decline.

Plastic bottle project-The technique

The technique I have designed, enables the Saharawis to use the bottles in a very simple way, in order to make pieces of jewellery. The technique uses the energy and equipments available in the camp: hot sand and simple hand tools (a knife, a drawing nail board).

The plastic bottle is first painted and then cut into thin stripes with a cutting tool. After that, any type of drawing can be made by positioning some nails into the holes of a nail board: the plastic stripe is placed all around the nails and the whole is submerged into hot sand. The plastic stripe reacts to the heat by shrinking all along the nail drawing and keeping its shape. The piece of jewelry then requires a few last steps and fittings to become finalized. It is a very simple technique which, however, has the power to make the non-precious become precious.

Find more information here.


  1. this must have been where the Pure Water purse came from: Trashy Bags -


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