I think I was thrilled when I came across the first photo of ARTcycleBALI!
If you have followed me for a while, you have noticed I am a big fan of accessories that stand out, either for their design or for their unusual materials, and if they are black; then they are a wardrobe staple!
On top of that, when I found out a little bit about their love and their story I decided, I could not pass up the opportunity to interview their creators and share the story and their vision with all of you.
Keep reading to find out about this amazing brand that is upcycling inner tubes and tires in the beautiful Bali.
ARTcycleBALI is an Upcycling Project & Brand based in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia which turns used inner tubes & tires into stylish, conscious, and useful art products, jewelry, and bags.
Can you give us some background about yourselves, what led you to create the ARTcycleBALI accessories brand?
Mas Pat and myself, Blanka, are the two souls behind ARTcycleBALI, together with a beautiful family of artisans. We have artistic backgrounds and share a great love and respect for nature. These ingredients were the perfect combination to develop this project.
The idea came to us by a dream, and from that dream we started to touch and move our hands with inner tubes, like a dance. That movement inspired designs full of joy and love. Is awesome to imagine a shape, get inspired by nature, draw the design then experience the tire transformation. Tires can be really beautiful!
Why did you choose to use tires and inner tubes as your raw materials?
We cannot continue to fill the earth with waste because it is the land that feeds us! As such, we believe we do not need to use new raw materials. We feel that we must be more aware of the reality in which we live and with love and creativity give a second life to the objects with which we coexist.
Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands and hosts a population of 260 million. Imagine the daily transportation statistics for a population of that size. Tires from trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles together with the consumption of plastics and packaging increase daily. These materials end up burnt or in the ocean, in landfills and/or in rivers. Rubbish and its impact on the environment is a huge issue.
The petrol content in a tire takes thousands of years to breakdown in a landfill. In tropical countries like Indonesia there is yet another huge tire-related problem. Old tires are usually collected outdoors without roof cover. When it rains the water is trapped in the wheel well creating a mosquito paradise, thus facilitating the spread of dengue, cikungnya, malaria and other diseases within approximately 14 days. One mosquito can have between 200-300 eggs. The eggs transform into larva in 2 days and transform into a mosquito one day after that!! As such, upcycled tires contribute directly to the earth and to our health.
Our project aims to demonstrate that another world is possible and that we are all part of the change. Our meditation is that all will become even more conscious and awaken to the dire plight of the environment caused by several factors including but not limited to: the excessive production in fashion, the savagery of human exploitation and the injustice of animal cruelty that feed the consumer system. This heightened consciousness can be facilitated through the languages of art and design.
Now tell us a little bit about ARTcycleBALI team, how many artisans are involved in it?
We are a community team formed of artists, designers, artisans and shopkeepers with a sensibility to art, design, and environment, working like a family. We started with two people and grew slowly. We are now a proud and excited team of nine!
What is the design process like? What serves as inspiration for your unique designs?
We are dedicated to art and conscious design. Each piece is made by hand, without using any machinery. Each design has a story behind it. We do not mass-produce product, instead, we simply employ creative hands, minds, and hearts with care and passion. From collecting tires in landfills, workshops, garages, rivers, to their exhaustive cleaning, the selection of the parts of the rubber with which each model can be created, to the drawing and cutting, each piece is crafted by a team member who loves what they do. Our “zero waste” philosophy leads us to create products from the remnants of prior pieces. We do not return anything to landfills. Quality is one of our pillars, for that reason we use nickel and anti-rust buttons. The earring hooks are handmade in silver too. The lining used in the bags and wallets are old advertising banners collected from the island. We create quality products, we do not believe in fast fashion and mass consumption. As such, our collections are timeless and for all people – they never go out of style.
We are largely influenced by nature – an infinite fount of inspiration. Sometimes we create individually and other times we collectively draw from our imagination and create unique pieces together.
Three years ago Blanka was totally connected to the water and the sea during her pregnancy. The Koral jewelry collection was born from that beautiful experience. She was inspired by the amazing coral reef in Amed, East Bali Coast.
The underwater world is spectacular, the corals are flexible and elegant. ARTcycleBALI has achieved that quality with inner tubes – they have amazing movement and are soft and elegant.
“One night, a billion flowers fell to Mother Earth, fell on the inner tube again and again, an incessant rain from the universe creating our oldest and most beautiful floral designs”: these are the tender words from Mas Pat, the creator of the Flower Kolection. It sounds like a poetry and informs the seeker about Mas Pat’s inspiration and happiness. Ten years since its creation, the Flower Kolection is still the favorite one!! We have sent handmade flower bracelets, crafted with much love and passion, to almost all parts of the globe.
These are samples of two from our collection, each design has an intriguing and unique story behind it.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as an ethical brand?
Life is a challenge! We love what we do and we do it with love.
What do you hope to see in the future of ethical brands like ARTcycleBALI?
Fashion and art have a huge impact and influence on society so they are and should be the engine for change. Since time immemorial art has been the motivation for society to be aware of its state. Sometimes we forget our excesses with nature, taking little care of the environment, and we let ourselves be carried away by the inertia of consumption. We hope that the majority of future brands will strongly embrace ethical, fair and sustainable projects.
Do you guys have any other thoughts that you would like to share with our audience?
We would like to say a big Thank You! to every person who supports us and to those who support upcycling! Thanks for being part of the Change!
Mas Pat (Jogjakarta, 1978) is a recycle artist and designer who started this upcycling project in 2006. A son of artists, his mother is a Javanese dancer and his father was a painter, sculptor and dancer. They were both teachers. He graduated from the Institute of Arts in Jogjakarta and since then his life has been dedicated to the arts. In 2006, he began working with recycled materials, giving a second life to waste (used oil drums, laundry detergents, advertising banners, wheels, lighters, toothbrushes, etc.).
Blanka (Valencia, 1982) is an artist and designer. She joined Mas Pat in 2013 after falling in love with Indonesia. They now have a family. She was born near the Mediterranean Sea and is a lover of art and earth! She sees treasure in every piece of garbage and enjoys giving new life to things that society thinks worthless.