The saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure has never rung truer for Tseko Monyamane, whose vision led him to turn discarded alcohol bottles into fine pieces of art.
The Free State-born librarian told Vutivi News that not only did he want to beautify homes, but it was also his way of helping deal with the scourge of litter that plagues many parts of the country.
Monyamane designs beautiful décor bottles from the bottles that he salvages from dumping sites and on the streets in Vanderbijlpark, Emfuleni.
He uses a variety of fabrics and textures to produce his works of art which he has been creating since 2018.
“I love art and I used to draw back in those days. I used to produce art canvasses but gave up when I saw how saturated the market was,” he said.
“One day I was online, and I encountered this idea of decorating bottles and it caught my attention. I chose to deal specifically with these bottles so that I can impact my environment and also show young people out there that you can do anything with trash.
“So, before you throw away that bottle, think about what you can do to turn that trash into something meaningful. This can also help those that are unemployed,” Monyamane said.
He told Vutivi News that turning bottles into works of art was a passion project for him and was not for the money.
But he continues to receive many orders.
Before starting his process, Monyamane carefully selects bottles of expensive liquor because they are aesthetically pleasing.
“After I collect the bottles I soak, wash them and then sanitise them. Depending on the order I receive, I apply glue on the bottle and use different colours of wool to decorate the bottles according to the design I think is best for the client,” he explained.
“It takes me around three days to finish a set of three bottles because I have to allow the glue to set. Sometimes I use beads and other accessories like women’s ribbons on the bottles. I also use straws to decorate the bottles. I also include a process where I refine the bottle design using fire.”
Thanks to social media, Monyamane said that his work was known across South Africa.
“I get customers from every part of the country,” he said.
“I get orders from Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and even Botswana and it’s all because someone once shared my work on Twitter.
Monyamane said that his mission was to influence how people in townships decorate their houses.
“You will remember that when we were children, our parents used to decorate our homes with ceramic animals, so doing this will introduce a new style of décor,” he said.
“Ultimately we as people also need to be creative to save the environment. For example, I am using bottles to recycle and turn them into my craft. Someone can be inspired by my idea to use another type of waste, like plastic, to produce something marvellous, something that can really stand out.”