Ever pick up a piece of cheap jewelry and think, "What is this junk made of?"
The Precious Waste project at Mexico's Universidad Gestalt de Diseño asks that same question in a totally different context. Led by Mariana Acosta Contreras, the class provides a forum for students to design and create jewelry out of materials that might otherwise be in a landfill. To pass the class, the finished jewelry must be wearable and totally finished. Sounds hard!
Mariana leads her students to find inspo in abundant materials that they are tossing out each day, such as old VHS tapes, egg cartons, soda-can tabs and old magazines.
These students must be super talented, because the results are incredible.
"Untitled" by Andrea Nava is made from metal and offset printing sheets.
"Corassette" by Rosa Sarai Hernández is made from audio cassette tapes and other media.
"Untitled" by Anabel Sánchez is made from egg cartons and Tetra Paks.
"Toons & Gems" by Fernando Beníto is made from toys.
"Untitled" by Maricarmen Ladrón de Geuevara is made from old CDs.
"None of this can happen if the student is not committed to their material," Mariana told Fast Company. "I always tell them that if you spend enough time with it, it will talk back to you. And it is true. You have to understand what the material is trying to tell you about it, not the other way around."
Mariana had the idea to work with trash when she was a grad student at the Rhode Island School of Design tasked with making 100 rings...per week! She started looking to unusual materials, like the orange peels left over from her lunch, when she ran out of metal.
Eco-friendly and ultra creative - this is jewelry we can get behind! We hope these talented design students go on to do some fab things!