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Yeah, literal trash.  Well, not me, I'm not made of trash, but all the pieces on this page are.  They're all made from garbage picked up during Chicago beach clean-ups.  

I probably fret about landfills and plastics in the environment more than your average girl -- I feel especially anxious about the effects on animals! -- and I decided to try to do something highlighting this.  Since making wearable art is really my jam (no shade to artists who work in 2D), it seemed the perfect medium.

Our planet is drowning in plastic, and unfortunately it's really, really easy for me to stock up on "materials" whenever I do a clean-up.  (Did you know that 91% of consumer plastics are used just one time, never to be recycled?)

Some of my favorite materials are drinking straws; soda or water bottles and caps; plastic cutlery; coffee cup spill sticks; and broken sand toys.

My Process

I go to the beach with two reusable bags: one for trash, and one for recyclables. (Because I am easily grossed out, I wear yellow dishwashing gloves!). And then I just collect items until my two bags fill up.  Then the trash gets dumped, and I sort out the useful recyclables vs not. 

When I get home, everything soaks in 99% pure, medical-grade isopropyl alcohol for at least 24 hours, and then another 12-14 in boiling hot, soapy water.  (And then I cut off anything that would have touched someone's mouth, like both ends of the drinking straws, and the eating-end of plastic cutlery.) 

After that, I just chop up each piece according to what I'm going to use it for -- the good part about working with plastics is that they come in alllll different colors.  And then everything gets encased in resin!

How to Care for Your Pieces

The most important thing is that you do not store your pieces in direct sunlight.  (Feel free to wear them in sunlight, just don't store them in it!)  If you do, you may find your piece yellowing over time.  

Since your piece is going to be very glossy and shiny, like any shiny object, try not to scratch up the surface.  Resin is pretty durable, just be mindful, and try to remove your pieces before showering, doing chores, working in the garden, training lions, etc.

As with any metal jewelry, I would recommend avoiding contact with perfumes, lotions, nail polish & remover, etc.  Of course you can wear lotion while wearing your pieces, but it's better to put the lotion on before you put on your ring, for example.  The harshest chemicals for your pieces will be cleansers, cigarette and cigar smoke, and alcohol-based products like nail polish remover, or hand sanitizer.  It's best to take off your ring before using hand sanitizer, but i know that's not always possible.

If you need to clean your piece, the best option will be a soft microber cloth and a very very small amount of dish soap.  All sterling silver will tarnish over time, varying based on each person's specific skin chemistry, daily chemical exposure, etc.  You can use a polishing cloth to remove tarnish, but be careful to avoid the resin part of the piece.  Believe it or not, the more you wear your piece, the less it will tarnish, as your skin acts as sort of a natural polishing agent to the metal.  

Plesase contact with me any questions!