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Meet the artist who turns trash into luxury goods

Meet the artist who turns trash into luxury goods
Source: Facebook/ChristianGracielMbumbet

Christian Graciel scavenges his raw materials wherever he can find them, from which he designs exquisite accessories and precious bags which are truly unique pieces made of shell, mother of pearl, teak burl, roots, and ebony.

Christian Graciel upcycles trash he finds into beautiful designer bags and accessories

Christian Graciel launched his unique brand in 2003. Fascinated by nature, the designer began to sculpt bags and jewels out of tropical wood and shell. Expressing the pureness and beauty of Nature in a contemporary way, the artist creates perfectly unique accessories: rings, brooches, necklaces, jewel buttons, belts and precious bags made of shell, mother of pearl, but also of teak burl, palm tree, ebony and rose wood.

This artist is scavenging dumpsters to turn trash into luxury Shell, mother of pearl, natural forms and materials, all fascinate Christian Graciel. Source: Facebook/MakeaChangeWorld

Expressing the pureness and beauty of Nature in a contemporary way

After ten years experience in the fashion industry, Christian Graciel — born in 1970 in Douala, Cameroon — decided to launch his own brand in 2003. Always fascinated by nature, the designer began to sculpt bags and jewels out of tropical wood and shell, that he handles with great respect. 

Thanks to his cooperation with Bugis fishermen in Bali and the best craftsmen, his inspiration comes to life. 

Source: EgoDesign.ca

Mother of Pearl found on the beach makes a unique bag you won’t see anyone else with.
Each design — just like the shell or tree it’s made from — is unique Mother of Pearl found on the beach makes a unique bag you won’t see anyone else with. Source: ChristianGraciel.com

In Indonesia the artist discovered an environnement which reminded him of his childhood and country

In his own words, Christian describes the journey:

‘I was born in Douala Cameroon in 1970. At the age of 4 I joined a Danse Academy and became a member of the National Dance Group of Cameroon for 12 years. I arrived in France at the age of 17 where I decided to study Fashion Design. After my Art and Fashion studies in Paris, I worked with various fashion workshops for ten years, acquiring experienced in all fashion techniques. 

In 2003 I started my own business. While in Indonesia, I had discovered an environnement which reminded me of my childhood and of my country. I was particularly inspired by the shells the sea had transformed and polished over the years. Every single one has a specific shape, is unique. I liked the idea of giving new life to this material in my “Ocean” Collection of unique rings and jewels sculpted from shells. I not only wanted to express the beauty of Nature and the influence of my origins, but also a very contemporary style.

I started working with a family of Bugis fishermen who still produce part of my collection today. September 2003: I presented the collection for the first time at the “Maison & Objets” exhibition in Paris and received the “Decouvertes” award from a jury of buyers and experts.“CG Christian Graciel” is now a complete collection of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, jewel buttons, belts and precious bags which are truly unique piecess made of shell, mother of pearl, but also of teak burl and ebony.’

Source: ChristianGraciel.com

Christian Graciel Bag — Mother-of-Pearl and leather Source: EgoDesign.ca

Twenty things you should know about Christian Graciel…

In 2012, Christian Graciel was interviewed by Ego Design:

EgoDesign: Who are you and how would you describe yourself?

Christian Graciel: An observer of life, world, people, nature and fashion.

E.D: Tell us more about your works?

CG.: Purity and classicism in raw wood and mother of pearl materials.

E.D: Is there a philosophy behind Christian Graciel? Your work?

CG: The respect of materials, also giving the best of oneself.

E.D: What do you consider your influences, what inspires you?  

CG: The nature, people of fashion industry, in the past and the present.

E.D: How would you explain Design? 

CG: Simplicity, comfort and details finishing.

E.D: Your favourite materials in design and why?

CG: Furniture and industrial design for their strength and history carried.

E.D:What means for you the word “ecology”?

CG: Conservation and future generation.

E.D: And chic, what do you feel it is?

CG: Is to know itself as it is: the great example for me is Mrs Iris Apfel whose style dress based on the mix of genres and accessories  has become legendary.    

E.D: Which artist / architect / designer do you admire most?

CG: Elsa Schaparelli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and my friends of E2.

(continued below)

‘Twenty things you should know about Christian Graciel…’ was first published by Ego Design in 2012

Source: EgoDesign.ca

Always fascinated by nature, the designer from Cameroon started to sculpt bags and jewels out of tropical wood and shells — materials he handles with great respect.
Respect for his materials Always fascinated by nature, the designer from Cameroon started to sculpt bags and jewels out of tropical wood and shells — materials he handles with great respect. Source: Facebook/ChristianGracielMbumbet

‘Twenty things you should know about Christian Graciel…’ continued

Ego Design: What are currently your favourite brands or objects, and why? 

Christian Graciel: Items of Jerome Abel Seguin, celebrating the unique beauty of nature. The apparent evidence of a rigorous of the finish and detail is just amazing.

E.D: Can you describe an evolution in your work from your first projects to the present day?

CG: Not much difference but a trend towards luxury and detail.

E.D: Your dream project?

CG: To provide a better living conditions and a beautiful house for my family in Cameroon. Designing items for large grands couturiers and present my work exhibited in a museum.

E.D: What is your favourite example of the use of sustainable fabrics/products in fashion design?

CG: I use materials that I recycle; for example the advertising tarpaulins becomes bags, shellfish breeding transformed into jewelry and chic accessories.

E.D: What design project would you never design and why?

CG: A gun.

E.D: What you hope your current work will bring to people, humanity?

CG: Dream and fantasy.

E.D: What invention would best improve your life? 

CG: Pills against selfishness.

E.D: Which city resembles you the most and why?

CG: Paris, Bangkok and Bali for their multiculturatism, their difference.

E.D: What couldn’t you live without?

CG: Love, friends and sharing.

E.D: Finally, which 21th-century architects/designers/artists would you invite to a dream dinner?

CG: Jean Michel Gathy, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier. I will cook for them my favorite meal: African fish.

‘Twenty things you should know about Christian Graciel…’ was first published by Ego Design in 2012.

Source: EgoDesign.ca

With simple, found materials, the artist is able to create unique and exquisite pieces of jewellery.
Gems from the sea With simple, found materials, the artist is able to create unique and exquisite pieces of jewellery. Source: EgoDesign.ca
Utilising nature’s own design to create a unique ring.
Working with nature: Shell ring Utilising nature’s own design to create a unique ring. Source: EgoDesign.ca

Check out the Christian Graciel website for more details and shopping

For more details, contact, social media, products and stores, check out ChristianGraciel.com

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Craft Ideas for Adults Using Waste Material

In most households there is at least one corner or cupboard where you are hoarding some old items or waste materials, in the hopes that they will come in handy in the future. A long leisured day is best to open such cupboards to make some DIY crafts using these waste materials. If you need some help with ideas then click on this link to know about some of the best craft ideas for adults using waste material.