Friday 11 September 2009

FEATURE #1 "Florie Salnot"

Florie Salnot, or when discarded plastic bottles become fashion items

DESERTED on September 7th did not only showcase two important documentaries on the Western Sahara issue, the Saharamarathon 2009, but also "Plastic Bottle Project", a film clip made by Florie Salnot on the jewellery-making workshop she guided in the Sahrawi camps.

Florie Salnot and the plastic bottles she used in her workshops (c) by Olivia Mann

Florie Salnot, an MA student and fashion artist, introduced her jewellery-making workshop in the Sahrawi refugee camps and presented the jewellery results thereof with a wonderful documentary (see below), the "real things" and a personal testimonial that warmed everyone's hearts.

Florie did a postgraduate degree at the Royal College of Arts when she dediced to do a design project in the Sahrawi refugee camps by producing jewellery with little resources but greatly empowering consequences.

Sponsored by the Sandblast-founded Saharawi Artist Fund (SAF), Florie travelled to the refugee camps in Dakhla for three weeks in April 2009 to teach a group of Saharawi women to produce unique pieces of jewellery out of plastic bottles and hot sand. By using and recycling the discarded plastic bottles and forming them with hot sand into delicate pendants and earrings, Florie aims to give the Sahrawi women the possibility to express themselves artistically, to empower them economically, and to strengthen their cultural identity.
In the long run, these pieces will be exported from the camps and sold to generate a source of income for the Sahrawi.

As a key feature of the DESERTED event, Florie told the audience a wonderful little anecdote from her experience in the camps with the Sahrawi women:

"During my workshop in Dakhla, the most rewarding was to see the Saharawi women becoming gradually proud of their work. One day, in the workshop, we realised that one of the best piece of jewellery had been stolen. It was a really nice piece with red and yellow flowers which really impressed everyone. As for me, I was furious. The Saharawi women reacted differently, they just laugh at it. When I asked why, they explained that they were happy to see how their work was so much appreciated that it could be stolen."

Watch the short documentary Florie Salnot produced to introduce her jewellery-making workshop in the Sahrawi refugee camps in SW Algeria.

"Plastic bottle project" by Florie Salnot (Source: YouTube)

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