The ocean plastic for my pieces is collected from Kamilo beach, on the Kau coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kamilo beach is a remote, four wheel drive access only beach, it takes about two hours to get there from my studio. Part of the drive is through a treacherous lava field.
Due to heavy storm surge, strong currents and constant wind, Kamilo is a collection place for oceanic debris. Ancient Hawaiians would search Kamilo's shores for logs for canoes and sometimes for those lost at sea. In addition to wood and natural debris, Kamilo now receives approximately 15-20 tons of plastic debris from ocean currents annually.
When I go to Kamilo, I try to collect as much plastic as my truck will hold. Most doesn't make it into the studio- some is sent for research, recycled, given to artists, turned into electricity, and unfortunately some is thrown away.
After debris is sorted and deemed workable, it is washed, sanitized and dried.
The plastic is then photographed and catalogued, so that you can see what your jewelry used to be when it washed ashore. It is examined for interesting texture and composition, and cut accordingly. Once a rough shape is outlined, grinding and sculpting take place to bring out the individual story of the piece. The plastic is then sanded and polished by hand.
To ensure lasting quality and comfort, I custom fabricate precious metal backings and settings for each piece.
When all elements are finished, I either rivet the plastic to its backing or set it like a precious stone. I then clean and polish the finished pieces, photograph them and ship them out to you!