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Artisans create “new life” through upcycling

By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Twitter: @gordon_lp

There are many beautiful things which can be made using materials which might be overlooked or discarded. The Catholic News found a few items at the Upmarket held during the Christmas season at the Lions Cultural Centre, Port of Spain

Clive Prevatt creates a line of steel pan jewellery, made mostly of steel. While using social media for work related to his jewellery line, he came across a chandelier made of whisky bottles. This sparked an idea to make lamps.

Prevatt said the full process of creating one of his lamps might take about two days. “That includes doing all the woodwork because many of them are framed in teak; I do all the woodwork as well. Essentially, I mainly use bottles that otherwise might have been discarded; the frames are either teak or other woods or galvanise plumbing pipe which I buy in the hardware.”


Prevatt said he got inspiration for the design of the lamps from all sorts of places. One example is a bottle/sanitiser combo. At the Upmarket, vendors are required to have sanitiser available on their tables.

“I decided to make a lamp/hand sanitiser combo for my table without intending to sell it, but a customer saw it and liked it, wanted it, so since then I started making these hand sanitisers given the times we are in.”

Prevatt said he liked using vintage bulbs because the filaments have details.
His work can be viewed at:

Renaldo Alcala is a builder and also does demolitions. He got the idea to recycle pieces of wood to create stands for cellphones. He needed a specific tool to cut the wood and when he got it, fashioned his own style and finishes.

Alcala said he took mahogany and gave them “another life” with different stains, colours and “personalities”. The pieces were designed to fit most phones.  Alcala said they made practical sense; many children were studying online and communicating with friends, so there was a lot of “hands-free work” which made the phone stands convenient.

People had different uses for them.  Persons cooking can view and listen to the instructions for recipes. Alcala said he used the phone holders when chatting with friends on Zoom or to photograph his work. “People absolutely love it,” Alcala said. He took a day to complete a set of phone stands but expected to work much faster as he continued.

Follow him on Instagram & Facebook

Nicole ‘Billy’ Dalla-Costa has always been creative and “making stuff” using materials like crystals and driftwood.

A few years ago, she needed a gift for a friend and had things at home which were put together. It got rave reviews and she started making hanging decorations to sell.

She said with time she progressed to using less crystals and more ceramic. Dalla-Costa also used beads of glass which were made from recycled bottles by Nature Seekers, the community organisation working to protect the leather-back turtles on Matura Bay.

She explained the bottle could be sliced after a process of putting it in hot/cold/hot water until it cracked, “and hope it cracks well”.

The artisan said she eventually gave up this method and rented a tile saw. After the bottle is sliced, it is placed in a kiln and melted “just enough so it is not sharp”. She added, “you never know what you are going to get, sometimes they melt lovely and round, other times they collapse into different shapes”.

Dalla-Costa made hanging decorations consisting of ceramic leaves, driftwood, and recycled glass. She imprinted Monstera leaves on to the ceramic.

“I just love to make stuff. I’ve always been into bits and bobs as a kid. When I go to the beach, I’m always looking for shells and driftwood and bringing them home, and I still do it. When I go to the beach the first thing I do is check the beach for bits and pieces that I might need and want to use,” she said.

Follow on Facebook & Instagram @billydc_art