Florie Salnot makes beautiful necklaces and jewellery out of plastic gold. That's recycled plastic bottles, to those in the know.
She has developed a way to make good looking jewellery out of old plastic bottles. Who would ever be able to tell?
Salnot works with Saharawi refugees, living in camps in the Sahara desert in Algeria. Obviously they have very little. They use the simplest of implements: plastic bottles, sand and some paint. She works with them to design pieces that could be exported and sold in the west. The aesthetic is inspired by the Saharawi traditional style but she has moved it beyond the ethnic jewellery category.
Salnot has developed their ideas and traditions to design this collection. Her work has now been shortlisted for the prestigious Jameel Prize. It is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.
There are several themes that she developed that are key to the tribes' aesthetic. The people are nomads and make and decorate leather goods. The main stylistic features are fringes bordering the bags and the colours green, red and yellow which are applied as decoration.
Plastic Gold was developed in conjunction with the London-based charity Sandblast which promotes Saharawi refugee voices through the arts. The protracted conflict in Africa’s last colony has turned the majority of the Saharawi population into refugees and threatens the survival of their cultural identity.
As they explain:
We believe in the right of individuals and communities to enjoy culture, celebrate the arts and promote their own traditions. Bolstering the cultural heritage of the Saharawi and raising awareness of their overlooked plight are important to our mission.