Soda can creates wonders

Soda can creates wonders

Unique hobbies

Soda can creates wonders

With just a flick of the hand, you can litter public spaces with plastics, papers, edibles, metals and more. You can crumple a soda can and trash it on the streets in a matter of seconds and go unnoticed. But instead of being a public nuisance, you could also turn that trash into something usable, beautiful and decorative. That’s exactly what Marissa D Miranda does.

She concentrates on metals — used cans and boxes — and gives them a new lease of life. If you are lucky, you might find her scouring events and bars, or raiding homes of those close to her, for empty cans. And once she lays her hands on them, she’ll turn them into decorative items, jewellery and accessories. Miranda is know for morphing used (and sometime crushed) cans into elegant neck pieces, earrings, clutches and lamps.

According to her, the most important facet is not that they are upcycled but their aesthetic value. She says she’d want people to look at her pieces for their designs rather than the material they are made from. This is why she pays close attention to each piece and how it’s made.

A passionate crafter, she says, “I am not only interested in metal, but also textiles. This is why I tend to combine the two often. And I place each piece of cut metal with care, on the fabric.”

Marissa dissects each can into three parts — the top, bottom and the body. While the top is used to make bracelets, the bottom or the dome is used for paintings and as pendants.

The body, the most useable part, is used for clutches, bags, neck pieces and more. As cutting metal can be a bit problematic, she takes the help of home makers
from lower income families in the Lingarajapuram slum area.

“Most of these women have husbands who don’t want them to leave the house. And they also have children to look after. So I go over to their place and teach them how to cut cans. I also give them stencils so that they are in shapes I want,” she says. This way, all the women in picture reap benefits.

As her works aren’t completely made from metal, she enlists these women to do the final stitching. “I make designs on fabrics from all over the world. As you can’t just stick metal pieces on, I have these women stitch them on as well. My benchmark for safety is whether my daughter can touch them without getting hurt.” While you’d think that she pre-plans the material according to the designs, she does it the other way around. “I decide on the fabric first, then lay out the designs.”

When she gets the cut metal pieces, she lays them out in designs she wants, glues them on and gives them for stitching. Marissa makes sure that they are intricate, so most people who see her work forget that they are glorified metal cans. She works mostly with cottons — from Africa, Japan and more — and silks as they are natural fabrics. And she likes tribal designs a lot.

Talking about how she started on this unique journey, she elaborates, “It started about six years ago, when I was in Bahrain. I noticed that we generated a lot of metal and plastic waste on a daily basis because everything came in cartons or boxes. When compared to India, it was a lot more. I kept these metals cans and cartons aside for almost a year before I figured out what to do with them.” The same goes for the fabrics, “I have always been interested in textiles. In India, we take for granted how much we have because we have that much.” About four years back, when she came back to India, she decided to take this more seriously and she began working on various items.

A graphic designer by profession, she also uses her works to illustrate her thoughts. “Sometimes, I illustrate my writings on my works.”

Since she has a background in arts, this only makes her more passionate about each piece. Now, she’s moving on to making framed art works, which can sometimes use up upto 50 cans for one piece. “It isn’t hard to get cans in Bengaluru. Sometimes I go to bars, the ‘ruddiwala’ or events to get cans. But most times, friends and family keep aside washed cans for me.”


(Marissa can be contacted on marissadmiranda@gmail.com)

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