Many view technology as an albatross around the neck, but artist Ani Avanian sees its potential for beauty. The designer creates resin-cast pendants fashioned from discarded computer cords, hung from copper chains.
It started as a simple weekend experiment. (By day, Avanian is a UX designer at travel search engine Wanderu.) She was wearing one of her designs at brunch when a stranger approached her to admire it.
“I sold my own necklace on the spot,” Avanian says. Then, she began posting photos of her hobby on Instagram. A side business was born.
Why wires, though? There are too many of them in the world, she says.
“This stuff gets shipped to certain parts of the world that are overtaken by electronic waste, in India and China. Looking at these images, it’s like a sci-fi scene. Imagine a landfill made out of electronic waste. Those images will stun you,” she says.
As a graduate student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, she focused on unrecyclable electronic waste. For one project, she collected discarded TVs, plugged them in, and installed them for an exhibit at the Aidekman Arts Center at Tufts University, humming along in their eerie neon glow.
Now, she looks for wires everywhere — at her office, on the street.
“Everyone has a box of wires they don’t know what to do with. This is a way of taking something useless and making it into a beautiful, wearable piece,” she says.
Plus, Avanian enjoys the thrill of working with cords. She cuts them open, strips back the outer layer, and typically finds four colored wires within. She can make two or three $60 necklaces from one laptop cord.
“You never know what you’re getting,” she says. “Oftentimes, it’s black, white, and green. Sometimes, it’s yellow, red, and blue. There’s this really cool moment before you cut into it,” she says.
There’s also an element of mystery for the wearer.
“I love the pattern they make. They become unrecognizable. It takes a few seconds to guess what it’s made of,” she says.
You don’t even need an appointment at the Apple store to buy one. Visit avanian.design to shop.Kara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.