Thursday, 23 October 2008


Dominic helps me with the production of the whitewall jewels. He finds the rubber cutters and then collects the strips from them after they've been cut. We then develop prototypes together and he then makes the 'jewels'.

Here he sits with the latest batch of keyrings that we are marketing on Etsy.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Selling rubber

These keyrings are made from the off-cuts of the sandal straps. I vist Mr. Dlamini every now and then and then buy these bits of tyre.

The jump rings are stainless steel and are pretty difficult to make but Dominic helps me. His proper names are Sithokoze Thulebone Cele...

Anyway... the keyrings are on sale in my Etsy shop, along with some other items of jewellery.

As soon as I have stock there will also be some rubber bangles.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


In other words 'sandals'... This is a picture of a Zulu sandal which was made from car tyres. The sole is made from the tread and the straps are made from the sides where the whitewall stripe is. The previous post shows how the pattern is carved.

I spent a day with Mr. Dlamini when he was making this particular sandal. These pictures show part of the process. I buy all his off-cuts and use these for making keyrings and bangles. These should feature in my Etsy shop soon.

The next pic shows a little kitten that was inspecting them. Then there is one of the sandal edges and straps being nailed on and the last one shows Mr. Dlamini cutting off the points of the nails that stick out the bottom.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The layers we work with...

The whitewall tyres are used because the white stripe actually continues underneath the black and when one cuts through the black the white is exposed.

This drawing, which was done by Bonginkosi Tshabalala as part of his research for his B.Tech at Durban University of Technology, illustrates the process beautifully.

The arrow points at the black part of the tyre that is used. The blocks on the top right hand side are examples of some of the patterns that are cut.

In the next post I will show some more examples of such patterns.

Saturday, 04 October 2008

What is really underneath...

I've had a lot of interaction with Zulu sandalmakers and am fascinated with the rubber straps that they use for making their sandals. These straps are carved from old, discarded whitewall tyres. These tyres are used mainly by the local taxis, of which there are plenty.

I would like to show the background to these rubber strips and all the ins and outs of how they are produced. Naturally, being a jeweller/designer I am continually searching for ways in which to use this intriguing material so there will be a steady stream of products that are based on or made from these elaborately carved straps.

But first.... a taxi. Note the white stripes on the tyres. The next post will show the structure of the tyre..