New Year New Resolutions

Jane Austen once wrote in a correspondence, about creativity and selling out…
“No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.”
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It is serendipitous how we so often end up reading something about things we are thinking or struggling with at that time. In the days after demonetization, as people frugally get on with their lives, little has changed at WonkyWorks… Our core values have always been about preserving what we have, working with what we accumulate and reducing waste.

In an age where TV commercials run in loops and virtual marketplaces rule, alienating us from the process of making and the joys of creating, WonkyWorks believes that ‘Old is the New New.’ We have more Upcycled Glassware then ever before, revised pricing for everything and amazing discounts for multiple buys.

And all this for an upcycled waste glass bottle that is salvaged one bottle at a time and awesomely handcrafted at our very own Glass & Upcycling Studio in Vadodara always keeping in mind our principles of sustainability, being green and ethical making.

And the new year resolution has already began for me to live a lifestyle leading to zero – waste. That means making a conscious effort to reduce waste, and using the waste creatively for your needs…

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Ekta,
Founder, WonkyWorks

The story of my life.

ekta at the upcycled window wall at the WonkyStudioHere I sit, early on a Sunday morning, waiting for the man to finish reinforcing the heating elements of my new furnace. The coils sagged after the first firing and need to be supported before I can start melting glass in it. The fact that there are words like furnaces and coils and heating elements in my vocabulary gets me contemplating… Did I, 10 years ago, even fathom the possibility that I would be a glass artist and designer with rudimentary knowledge of heating furnaces and what nots. Thinking back, that was probably the time I was working in advertising as a lowly minion, which in retrospect is the biggest contributor to the path of anti consumerism which I am on now… Which was in turn followed by becoming environmentally conscious. Working in advertising was amazing for me. I think it put into perspective the principles and ethics I would want to follow in my life, by not having any.

The wholesomeness of creativity I feel is only truly rewarding when paired with good solid principles of doing good work while taking into consideration how a work is made and how its sold; how you treat the people who work for you, how you treat the environment… Because isn’t every step a part of the end? Isn’t it essential to think that the integrity of the work you do makes you the person you are, making the world what you want it to be. Is this not then the essence of freedom perchance? The right to decide what is right for you, without interference from the diktats of society and the pressures of the world?

ekta
founder, WonkyWorks

The new Wonky is here…

Its been 5 years since we started with a small furnace, melting glass in a shed. Our ideas kept the fire alive, sometimes just barely… There was water dripping on our heads and loads of times when the order book was little more than a paper weight. We endured the advice of investors and well-wishers, customers and skeptics, of people who find it easier to preach than to do. But then we Did. We created and we made. What we wanted, how we wanted. And it all happened in that small shed. Stuck between 2 huge factories, trying to dig deep and also stretch up for survival. But the creature that is WonkyWorks would be kept alive. Our new studio is a tribute to all that WonkyWorks stands for. Creativity. Sustainability. Celebration. Of life and art and design. We belong to the universe of possibilities and the world of creation. Come celebrate with us at our newly opened WonkyStudio and Shop. 2pm to 6pm, all days. WonkyWorks, H/11, BIDC, Gorwa, Vadodara 390016.

earth day pledge.

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Today, a day before Earth Day, a day celebrated globally to demonstrate support for environmental protection,  we pledge…

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– to do more thinking for the good of our planet and less for our personal benefit

– upcycle as many as 20000 glass bottles in the following year saving energy and spreading awareness on waste and its effects on our planet.

– to use as much as possible recyclable material in our packaging and distribution of products

– to do all this with a flair of good design and wonkiness which makes people hang on to their wonky product forever

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We are also extremely kicked to be published in the “Pathways to Green Cities Volume II” ebook by the Earth Day Network india.

Pathways to Green Cities Volume II

Pathways to Green Cities Volume II

(click image for link)

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waste bottles at the studio!

Hello I am Ekta. I head WonkyWorks, a small independent GlassArt Studio, having an eclectic collection of Awesomely Handmade Glass Art including upcycled glass products, blown glass, kiln-formed glass, etched and engraved glass.

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Hmmm let’s see how this started. So I had a furnace. I knew how to melt glass in it. All I needed was glass. And then I melted my first bottle! And then I melted more and more and hundreds more.

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So what really happens when you chuck a used glass bottle, be it ketchup or olive oil or beer, absolutely nothing! It will not rot, or decompose, or erode or rust… It will most probably lie there in the landfills, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, not breaking down into its main ingredient which is silica i.e. sand, which is one of the hardest and most stable minerals on the Earth, for a really long time maybe a few million years, maybe forever.

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This is what got me a bit worked up and to be honest very excited. I looked into glass recycling and upcycling. I researched glass waste and disposal methods. I collected all the possible waste glass from my home – broken, discarded, unused and started crazy experiments with melted glass things. The heat needed to melt my melted upcycled glass pieces is very high, between 650˚C to 800˚C but that’s still about 45% to 53% less than forming a glass bottle from scratch. Not to mention the reduction in consumption of new raw materials which can result in a reduction of energy usage, air pollution, water pollution, water usage and even greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from this we eliminate an entire tier or 2 of the recycling process which includes collection, sorting, processing & break down, converting and finally manufacturing.

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So I started melting more glass, mainly glass bottles but also broken window glass, bangles marbles, laboratory waste, perfume bottles and much much more. I also started experimenting with other techniques of Glass Art which would not include heat like etching and engraving. These techniques are even more sustainable than the melted products. There are no high temperature required and only a sense of good product design and usability.

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One of my earliest challenges were to create products which would have the finesse and design to appeal to main stream customers rather than people who were aware and conscious of Green Design and who specifically searched for sustainable products. The growing awareness of the Green Culture in India has helped to a certain degree, but what I have also noticed is our innate sense to make something out of waste and an appreciation for the same. It also helped that I make many versions of products and test their user-friendliness both myself and with a closed group before letting them go on the shelves. This sometimes takes months and even years… but it is reflected in the design and usage of the products at the customers end.

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Another challenge was the price issue. Most people find it absurd that a 3 rupee almost worthless bottle is being remelted and being sold for 600 rupees. As most of my pieces are made at a independent studio level, my prices could never compete with factory manufactured products. Especially in India, these factories especially the labour-intensive ones tend to be almost slavish. Workers are not paid the minimum wage and there is almost no health and safety precaution, in terms of equipment and information. Ethically working with and disposing of glass and glass related waste does take up a chunk of our studio time and budget! But that is never been an option but a necessity. Also as mentioned above, creating the right product takes time and that also increase expenses!
But I got hooked to glass and even more to upcycling and like someone mentioned in a tweet the other day, the lady got a furnace and never looked back. I have endeavoured to design products which are minimal and user-oriented. Which please the user and bring a little thought of wonkiness, of waste, of sustainability, of design and of the improbable into their thoughts.

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And lastly, Be Green Not Mean :)

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Ekta Doctor
Proprietor at WonkyWorks

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At WonkyWorks we love the glitchy, the skewed, the fuddled, the precarious. In the age of factory-manufactured perfectness, we celebrate the odd fish; the curious and funny, the peculiar and queer. Our war against the mundane and routine has led us to form WonkyWorks, created to fight organised sameness.
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