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Ingenious Students Make a Machine That Turns Art School Waste into Pretty Pencils
Art school can be an expensive place – aside from tuition and living expenses, the cost of materials can really take a toll on students’ wallets. Some bright students at the Royal College of Art decided to take the matter into their own hands. Realizing that each department at the school produces its own specific waste, the students recycled that extra material into something every student needs – pencils. The project, called From Here For Here, is an exercise in saving green through green design.
Designed by recent graduate Ariane Prin, the idea for the pencils was born when Prin saw the heap of mixed waste on the floor of the Royal College’s woodshop. Knowing nothing about making pencils, Prin educated herself by scouring the internet, watching how-to videos, and contacting pencil manufacturers. After many experiments, Prin found success by making her own industrial “co-extruder,” which squeezes the “lead” and outer casing in proportional amounts.
Each department’s waste is represented in a pencil; flour from the cafeteria, clay from the ceramics department, graphite from the glass department, wax from the jewelry department, ink from printmaking, and sawdust from the woodshop. Prin then starting combining materials to create unique colors for writing, and stuck to a sawdust and flour combo for the casings.
Thus far, she and friends have made 160 pencils, which were sold during the school’s art show. Eventually she would like to create enough pencils for each student (around 1,044). Prin hopes From Here For Here will be an ongoing project that will teach future students about the power of upcycling, while also earning the school a modest income.
Via Fast Co Design
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