Used plastic goes the stylish way
By Sunita Raghu | Published: 23rd September 2012 12:00 AM |
In a way, they are modern alchemists. And while they might not have recourse to the philosopher’s stone, they have the creativity, skill and vision to fashion singularly beautiful little objects from waste. From pretty little earrings, stylish danglers and exquisite necklaces to fingerings and pouches, they have actually made us look at the potential environmental hazard—plastic—in a completely new and favourable light. Meet the talented trio of Angeline, Rituparna and Lakshmi, a banker, graphics designer and architect respectively, whose endeavour to save the planet, resulted in the very unique enterprise called the Silver Nut Tree (SNT).
So how did it all happen and the trigger would be “out of the mouths of babes”. The SNT team, all moms to six-year-olds had to constantly battle questions about how one went about saving the environment to recycling/upcycling activities. Says Angeline: “It was difficult to explain to the kids and our words had to match our deeds. For instance, if we wanted to say dispose plastic bottles, we had to be prepared to answer some very tricky questions.” And then one day, after racking their brains together, they looked at the numerous PET bottles and while not exactly shouting ‘Eureka’ they pondered about what they could do with them. A pretty flower took shape. Then ear rings and chokers and so on. Thus was born the Silver Nut Tree.
Once the team casually posted one of their creations on Facebook and on that very day, they got 72 ‘likes’ for the product. And before one could say Silver Nut Tree, orders started to pour in from different quarters. The team was set.
Angeline still remembers the first product the team had created, red conical-shaped ear rings and fuchsia danglers, which went literally flying off the shelves. Their Phoenix line of jewellery is their most successful product. “Actually,” says Angeline, “It is our customers who prod and inspire us to come up with fantastic ideas and stellar designs.” Apart from handcrafted jewellery and home decor, SNT also creates pretty dresses and accessories for little girls.
So, how goes the process of transforming a PET bottle into a work of such delicate beauty? To mimic a popular advertisement tagline, something on the lines of “cut it, mould it and stick it?” Clarifies Angeline, “There is a lot of cutting, moulding and sticking involved, but as it involves plastic, which has a mind of its own and which does not easily stick to anything, it can be a quite a challenge. And then again, we have to be careful that the paint we use is not harmful to the skin and many other such factors”. SNT’s USP is their exclusivity with each creation being unique and handcrafted.
But one thing is for sure, the team does not have to run from pillar to post to source the raw material; it is delivered at their doorstep. Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. Somebody who knew about their work once turned up with three sacks filled with PET bottles. And it keeps pouring in with friends and family chipping in.
SNT creations are also available online via www.shoppo.in. The first time they met their customers face-to-face was at the Ascendas Eco Bazar followed by exhibitions at BTM layout and the Pebble pub and their most recent one—Kitsch Mandi—at the Palace Grounds, Bangalore.
SNT is still a mom and pop (or should we say mom and mom) operation. “After all, it’s been just a little over three months that we started,” reasons Angeline. Next on their agenda are creating wind chimes, toe rings and whatnot. Says the ex-banker: “We feel so humbled when customers like and buy our stuff” and then laughingly signs off, “After all, who would want to throw away such a pretty thing?” Infallible logic from the eco-warrior moms!