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Bahraini home-based business, Curio, is giving art and environmental enthusiasts ‘fun’ for their money with upcycled containers and lanterns made out of discarded coffee containers and beverage bottles.
Curio, owned and operated by entrepreneur Sowsan Hasan, features handmade crafts and accessories for sale, the latest of which are money banks upcycled from coffee containers and bottle lanterns as well as from empty beverage bottles.
Sowsan has become a regular on the island’s small-business craft fair circuit and last weekend, was at the Bold Art Talent Convention held at Reef Mall.
Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.
Sowsan said: “It began with a pickle jar and the need for a place to put my paint brushes. From there I saw the potential in giving new life to so many beautiful glass pieces that were being thrown away daily. Chatting with customers, I see their eyes light up as they start to see the potential in these beautiful pieces. Thanks to their feedback, I can tweak the glass to suit different needs. For example, with a small change to the lids, my up-cycled wish jars became one of a kind money banks.”
As opposed to recycling, which falls under the category of down cycling, that involves breaking an item down into its component elements or materials. Upcycling is a simple real-world method of preventing waste through everyday recycling of old products into newer ones.
The term upcycling was officially coined in 2002 when William McDonough and Michael Braungart wrote a book called Cradle to Cradle: The Way we Make Things . It talks about the benefits of upcycling and its place in creating different products. The end result of upcycling is reduced raw material consumption.
In creating her ‘Curios’, Sowsan takes empty bottles, and after cleaning them, paints designs onto each of them.
Sowsan added: “I’ve always been a crafter. I like to play with different mediums, materials and techniques. Curio is how I share those creations with others. Each piece can take three to five days. I’m always coming up with new designs. As a result, my work appeals to a wide variety of people.
“My process is organic. I experiment with techniques, colours and textures and allow the piece to inspire me. It doesn’t always work out but I’ve learned not to be afraid of trying new things and keeping an open mind”
In addition to upcycled products, Curio also sells a variety of handmade items including bracelets, bookmarks and cross-stitch key-chains depicting popular comic and animated characters.
To check out Sowsan’s upcycled bottles and jars, follow Curio on Instagram – @curio.bh