For most of us, the inner tubes of bicycle tires are junk but for Oregon-based artists Barbi Touron and Aaron Shear, they are as precious as gold and silver. The duo work for a company called Urban Lace which specializes in creating the eco-friendly wearable art out of a material that is often relegated to less glamorous afterlives. All the inner tubes used in Urban Lace jewelry is collected from local Oregon bike shops which makes the environmentally friendly high fashion jewelry a distinct sense of being an all-American product as well. Waterproof, flexible and durable, the discard tubes are flattering as well as chic and make a glamorous alternative to leather-based accessories.
Urban Lace came into being as a solo venture by Barbi Touron in 2006 who started out making eco-friendly jewelry for her friends and family. Her label was advertized by word of mouth and more and more people started ordering her unique creations. In September of 2011, Aaron joined the company and the duo is all set to debut a brand new collection in 2013. The sculptor and fiber artist carefully washes each piece of salvaged rubber and coats it with a proprietary plant-based organic formula to give it a lasting sheen.
The coating gives each piece of jewelry a smooth appearance and makes it texture soft as well. The designer duo aim to one day have a drop off point where locals can bring in their own bicycle inner tubes to be transformed into beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry. Custom made and unique, each piece of jewelry from Urban Lace is handcrafted and one of a kind and retails online through their site for $30-50.