ONE SESSION, ONE CLEANUP
The local surfers on our island have a saying, "uma surfada, uma recolha" - meaning one surf session, one cleanup.
We begin the jewelry in this way - by cleaning up the local beaches. Sometimes these are long days, other times they are short cleanups before or after a surf session. On weekends, and during summer we involve the kids.
Once we get back to our studio, we begin sorting smaller plastics. Separating those pieces that catch our eye, that inspire us. The bulk of the garbage from the beach is then taken to the sorting facility on the island to be recycled (we are still figuring out a better solution for this part of the process).
We then design, laying out our collection and choosing fragments that inspire us. Will the next piece will be an “ocean rock” pendant mixed with gold or recycled silver, or perhaps the piece is more interesting as a casting, or better yet, should it become part of a setting framing it’s unique beauty?
We work with ethical metalsmiths in Rajasthan to mold the various components in recycled 925 sterling silver and 24 karat gold that are needed to complete our designs. We then create and assemble each piece in our studio here on the Ilha de Santa Maria. Working in this way follows our “slow” philosophy, rendering small batches, limited edition groups and one of a kind pieces.
In between, we create our soft cotton jewelry pouches (made from upcycled t-shirts) with the help of the local women of the nearby Cooperativa de Artesanato. After which, the logo is screen-printed by our friend, a graphic artist, with a shop in town.
After it’s all finished, we photograph each piece ourselves outside in the fresh air with natural sunlight, ocean horizon and cows grazing in the background.
The process in its entirety is labor intensive and we approach it with a degree of measured slowness - cleaning up the beaches, then sorting the plastics we intend to use, carefully cleaning them with soap, water, and an old brush. Looking at them, seeing their beauty which juxtaposes the inherent problem of their existence. It becomes meditative. You see a piece of plastic and your mind goes from beauty of color and shape, to dying ocean reefs and affected sea life, then waste as a whole and the impossibility of solving the problem, to then thinking twice about buying yogurt (because it’s in a plastic container) to then learning how to make yogurt, then going out for some more surf and thinking about everything again backwards - it comes full circle.