Materials Feature: Recycled Glass Beads

beads behind the scenes glass handmade materials process recycled sustainability


I keep saying “Recycled Glass” beads. What does that mean??

These glass beads are handmade in Ghana, Africa. African cultures have historically utilized recyclables and other second use items to create ornamental and decorative elements. These beads are part of an incredibly long history of recycled bead crafting.
These particular beads are made from bottles and other single use glass and recycling. The bottles are crushed into tiny pieces of glass and glass powder, poured into clay molds, and heated over a fire in a ceramic kiln.
They are removed once they’ve melted into their shape, and punctured in the center to create a hole for the bead. (Some molds include a stick in the center to create a hole, it depends on the style. The ones in the collection are punctured after they come out of the kiln.)
The beads are then hand polished with sand (oh! The inspiration for this collection! 🤗) and water. You can see some sand remnants, particularly in the holes. They’re cooled, and strung for sale. Some beads are painted after this process, but these have been left the beautiful bottle green.
These beads have a super organic feel in the hand and tremendous character in their variations. I love that they are made from recycled glass in a way that utilizes the glass to make something new but that you can still see hints of what it used to be.
Aren’t they special?
See the recycled glass in action in the TMDCo. Recycled Glass Studs

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