Materials that inspire us:
Scoobie wire is the main component of the jewelry we make at uSisi Designs. Because scoobie is a soft and pliable wire, we are able to wrap, weave and manipulate it in various ways to create uniquely contemporary African jewelry.
Scoobie wire or "plastic coated wire", which is commonly known as telephone wire, is an integral part of the Southern African craft scene. The miners who emigrated from the rural areas to the urban areas, could all do grass weaving and platting. They started transferring these skills to materials that they could find around the mines, which were electrical wires and later telephone wires. This is a skill that is owned by the South African People, in almost every community there are men and women who can work with Scoobie wire. At uSisi Designs, we get this scoobie wire from a local manufacturer of the wire, who provides it to us in about 100 different colors. The scoobie has been tested for, nickel, lead and cadmium, and is safe.
King Solomon said: “A wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…”
It is easy to leave an inheritance for your children; you just have to die, but to leave an inheritance for your children’s children you have to be a visionary. A visionary looks beyond his or her own generation; lays foundations and implements systems that will impact their great grand children’s children, making their ceiling the floor of those who follow.
At uSisi Designs we want to leave behind a cleaner world, and a passion to keep it that way for the future generations, by recycling, redesigning, educating and inspiring people to do the same. What are you leaving behind?
RECYCLED SARI FABRIC:
Indian Sari Fabric is richly colored and mostly silky materials, and it would be a shame for such beauty to go to waste after the Saris have been worn. We buy the sari fabric from Indian women who live in and around Pietermaritzburg, wash it and cut it up to make a number of products that have been popular with a number of our clients. The sari pieces are then made into scarfs, chandeliers, patchwork picture frames and wall hangings.
Using glass bottles that are so abundantly available from bins street corners and landfills, we began to make beautiful, innovative, functional and decorative pieces for interior decoration.
We cut bottles into drinking tumblers or into rings and melt or fuse them together in a kiln. The melted components are then strung together to create chandeliers, lights and beautiful window decorations. Working with this new medium has opened a unique door in the manufacturing and design process and we are eagerly testing the boundaries of what can be done with glass and heat.
Despite popular beliefs, recycling has proven to be very challenging. Collecting the glass bottles from various locations, all over Pietermaritzburg, having to clean them and only then being able to start the creative process is a very lengthy and expensive way to manufacture crafts. It might be seen as “cool “ to recycle, but collecting dirty smelly bottles from dirtier and smellier bins, is no fun. Everybody thinks that recycled or up-cycled products must be cheap, but on the contrary: recycling is surprisingly expensive.
However, recycling is an amazing way of protecting our environment and glass can be recycled again and again without compromising its quality. We are passionate about creating a healthy future for our children and we believe that this project will help preserve our beautiful world.
The buttons we use are overruns from factories. There is a purpose for all sizes of the buttons that we get, large or small. The buttons then become main components in some of our products, namely, the fringe button chandeliers, Christmas angel decorations and a number of wrapped shapes that can be used as household decorations. In some cases the buttons are dyed to suit the product in which they will be used.
REPURPOSED POTATO BAGS
We also collect misprinted potato bags from a local wholesaler and cut them up to make gift bags. These potato bags would have been discarded of, but we have found that they make for beautiful yet different gift bags, which a number of our customers cannot do without.