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Wearable junk


Wearable junk

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Fifty-nine-year-old Sandra Stanley has a talent for turning items people consider trash into unique jewellery.

The entrepreneur has become known for her unorthodox, recycled earrings, bracelets, necklaces and bags utilising her skills in pattern cutting and garment making.

“I use whatever scraps are left back from garments that I make for people so if they say I can have it I will reuse it to make different things. I have some friends who will give me their old jeans and things like that so I will reinvent them and make things with them,” she told Easy magazine.

Stanley was the owner of a garment manufacturing business, 90 per cent Black.

When it folded, she was forced to look elsewhere for employment.

It was while she was working as a secretary that a co-worker, who had noticed her penchant for “wearing weird things”, told her about a course in making jewellery from paper offered by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.

“Usually if something catches my spirit straight away well I’m in. The course was with Angela Went and the night I returned home I was just buzzing, I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it and that started me of,” she recalled.

Sandra started off making and selling jewellery and clothing on a small scale outside a restaurant in Maxwell, Christ Church.

She later relocated to her Canewood Moore, St Thomas home where she began de Verte Pappier in 2011, which means the green paper.

She began incorporating recycled material in her designs when, after stripping down an African outfit to make the dress shorter, she got the idea of using the leftover fabric in her jewellery.

“As a designer I’ve been using fabrics so I thought I’d try it out with the fabric on top of the paper so that worked for me, said Sandra, who has spent many years in England.

The self-acknowledged forager combines her passion for dyeing into her pieces, making denim bags from old discarded jeans, and earrings, bracelets and chains from scraps of fabric and paper.

She has showcased her work at the Oistins Fish Festival, Holetown Festival, BMEX, and Bridgetown Market, the latter being part of Crop Over celebrations.

While her customer base has primarily been tourists, locals appear to be showing more of an interest.

“They (tourists) like to know that something is hand-made and indigenous to Barbados. Most of my things were bought by tourists but I found that this year the Bajan public is getting more into the tie-dye and the earrings,” said Sandra, a member of Women’s Entrepreneurs of Barbados.

As for the future, she said the possibilities are endless, particularly since she has decided to devote her time to learning something new every year. (WILLCOMM)