UPDATE: You can get a pair of these upcycled bike tube earrings on plantable card stock (while supplies last) when you donate $125US to Global Spokes, which repairs bikes for refugees-of-war. See here.
So I left my friend Kartapreet’s house (he had given me old brake pad hardware, which I use in my bike tube earrings, and I wanted to give him a couple of finished pairs), when I fell upon a field of blooming buttercups under the power lines.
Bright yellow like Survival Couture (lol wear yellow and drivers won’t kill you!), and just the right size and thickness, I thought the buttercups would be perfect on my zero-waste plantable-paper packaging (made from the ripped headlines of tragic news, plus pages of Bicycling magazine, and turned into something good that grows wildflowers in a world in crisis). So I picked some, pressed them in a gorgeous flower press my older daughter had gifted me, and adhered them.
I’ve been working on this project since January (and longer, if you consider there’s a section about homemade paper in my book, Food For My Daughters, which was published in 2011, but I was reminded of it by the plantable pencils I was sent to road-test — see the TikTok about that product as part of the series at the end of this post). (Thanks to REI for the old bike tubes — I’ve given them earrings as well.) (I also made bike chain bracelets a few years ago, so I guess I’ve been noodling around for awhile.)
This is my final product design (there are about six different styles of earrings). I have at least five directions in mind for what happens next (including some very big ideas), and will, of course, trust the journey.
All I know is I pick zero buttercups when I drive, and it was nice when I went back again yesterday on my bike to get more (they won’t be blooming for long, and the cities mow them down so I have to be quick about it right now — I guess if I keep making these, I’ll need to switch flowers with the seasons).
Speaking of the journey, below are some of my TikToks (follow me there at SpeedOfBike) that show the journey of the BikeBloom upcycled vegan-leather bike waste earrings on handcrafted plantable paper, in case you want to try it, too. (That’s one idea — we do this all over the world and use proceeds to help more women and girls access and ride bikes.)
If we build with buttercups and bike waste and the bad news of the day, maybe we can build a better world as well.
Also, a lived-and-learned truth: Creative people iterate. If you kill our first idea, you kill the fifth and the fiftieth as well. Stop saying to creative people, especially when talking about infrastructure, “You’re never satisifed.” Our very nature means we are constantly saying to ourselves and others, “What would be better would be if . . . ” And then we find ways to make it happen, even when people say it’s impossible. Especially then.
This trait is rewarded at the entrepreneurial companies where I’ve worked, and penalized in sharrow-minded cities. We don’t have time for the gutter of failed imagination or compromises that kill, folks. If you are experiencing push-back for your creativity, move on. You, and your continually-evolving ideas, are needed elsewhere right now in this world. Let’s start with BikeBloom earrings, and grow from there 🙂