Plastic Gold Jewellery

This project is based on a technique specifically designed to transform discarded plastic bottles into pieces of jewellery, with the very limited resources available in the Saharawi refugee camps in the Sahara desert. It only uses hot sand, simple hand tools and some paint. This craft aims to empower the Saharawi economically and culturally.
This part presents the second encounter with the Saharawi women and the development of the technique.


Second workshop

The second trip (March-April 2010) was a collaboration between three Saharawi women with some craft abilities and Florie Salnot. The aim was to design a fine collection of pieces that could be sold for exportation. The aim was to match both criteria:
-An easy production using nothing else than resources directly available in the camps: plastic bottles, sand and some paint.
-An aesthetic inspired by the Saharawi traditional style.

Once back home, Florie Salnot kept on working to design the final collection of pieces of jewelry. This was mainly inspired by the Saharawi patterns traditionally drawn on leather. These pieces were used in different exhibition to promote the project and assess the interest of retailers. The idea now is to set up a production with the Saharawi community to enable them to generate an income stream.

More about the Saharawi craft tradition

Traditionally, craft used to be the speciality of the malemin, the artisans. The malemin are essential to the nomads with whom they travel. They used to do, mainly, skin-curing and the manufacture and decoration of leather goods such as bags, cushions, saddles etc. The main stylistic features are, first the fringes which border most of the objects, then, the colours green, red and yellow, applied to a decoration of lozenges and other geometric forms.

Wood is also used for normal household objects such as teapots decorated in red and black. Horn of oryx and gazelle is worked into personal ornaments. In the sixties, the increase of the nomad's wealth had started to bring a surge in metal-working (iron, copper and particularly silver). The main metal products have been knives, jewelry, talisman, sugar hammers, boxes, trays, cigarette holders and pipes,etc. Silver was used for the wrist and ankle bracelets. Other pieces of jewelry were mainly made out of beads.

Sponsor of the project: Sandblast-arts.org, a London-based arts and human rights charity.