Sunday, April 26, 2009

Milk Tab Bracelet

As a child, milk came in clear glass bottles delivered early morning on our doorstep. Later, at the store, we purchased the boxy wax carton that served well. Now, in the name of sanitation and convenience, milk cartons have been “improved” with plastic safety milk pull-tabs. Now, thousands of these ubiquitous tabs are making their way to the landfill and will take thousand of years to go away.

To draw attention to this blight, I created a bracelet "fashion statement" that really says something. People always take note of my unique jewelry, which gives me the opportunity to talk about plastic and to encourage action about everything, even about milk cartons.

During a recent trip to Tanzania, I visited a Masai village where the curious fingers of an elder Masai woman touched my bright white bracelet trying to figure out what could be the source and the material of my unusual adornment. I asked our guide to explain that I had made the bracelet out of milk pull-tabs; that they were something that would otherwise be thrown away; that I am an artist who uses recycled plastic in my creations. I was babbling so fast that probably neither she nor my translator understood a word of what I was saying. And, since the Masai subsist on milk and blood, I am sure that she had no idea about milk cartons or pull-tabs. I was thrilled that she was interested and was happy that she accepted my bracelet as a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Your work is very powerful! I have been saving these pull tabs for 2 years now with no idea what to do with them...I just knew I didn't want to throw them away. I, too, yearn for the days of the glass milk bottles. I thought about making rings from these tabs, but your bracelet is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing the wonderful work that you do!