Featured seller: Velo

Argentinian-born maker Natalia Lombardo is the face behind Felt shop Velo. Settling in Aotearoa four years ago, after four previous years of traveling the world, she now makes Wellington her home and base for producing her beautiful, unusual and eco-friendly jewellery.

Velo floral necklace

galleryWhat do you make?
I make jewellery and bags out of upcycled bike inner tubes and reused fabrics.

How did you get into your craft?
I’ve been working with different upcycled material for years but around three years ago (while researching for the Sustainability Trust on how to reuse unrecyclable materials) I discovered inner tubes and started playing with them. Now I’m loving it!

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied Film and Clothing Design, so not in particular, but I think it gave my design skills that help with my craft.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Bike inner tubes of course, and at the moment I’m playing with combining them with felt as well! My main tools are cutters and individual hole punches, and at the moment I’m very excited to get some new and varied geometric-shaped punches, that will be arriving soon!

Natalia's studio

Natalia's studio

What inspires you? Music and daily life, images of beauty.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
It’s all about sustainability, and about creating beautiful things with reused materials; repurposing thing that tend to be considered trash, and saving them from the landfill by giving them a new life.

Describe your workspace:
At the moment it’s at home – and I’m loving how sunny it is in the mornings. I like having all the tools at hand so it tends to be a bit messy, and always full of little bits of rubber from the cuttings.

Five words that describe your mind:
A catalyst for endless possibilities of colourful chaos.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
The best is when they’ve bought from me at a market and later on they order from Felt as gifts for their friends and family.

What are you currently listening to?
Ben Howard, Lisandro Aristimuno, The Staves, Perota Chingo, M. Ward, Alt-J.

Recommend an album: Transfiguration of Vincent, by M. Ward.

Inner tube bracelet, small leaves
Inner tube bracelet, daisies
Inner tube earrings, bubbles

Your favourite childhood book? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

What are you reading now?
A book in Spanish (my native language). It’s a classic called Rayuela from one of my favourite writers, Julio Cortazar.

Your hero/heroine:
Anyone that stands against social and environmental injustice and tries to make a change for the best of all.

A favourite quote: Well recently I’ll say… “Think globally, act locally”.

Do you have any pets?
Well I share the house with friends and one of them has a dog friend that lives with us as well, so we get to play a lot. He comes and visits me at my work space all the time and he’s good at encouraging me to take breaks.

What was the last handmade item you bought? A screen printed shopping bag.

Works in progress

Natalia in her studio

If you’d like to meet Natalia you’ll find her at the Underground Market at the Frank Kitts park in Wellington, rain or shine from 10am till 4pm every Saturday until 17 May – and of course you can check out her gorgeous work in her Felt shop anytime.

Natalia has very kindly offered one lucky Felt blog reader the chance to win this pair of striking upcycled inner tube earrings. Just leave a comment below, telling us what inspires you about Natalia’s work and why, and you’ll be in the draw. The draw will be made on Friday 11 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Go in the draw to win a pair of Velo earrings by commenting below!

24 thoughts on “Featured seller: Velo

  1. I love the idea of upcycling tubes! I saw a necklace on the Felt site that reminded me of a silver one a friend has and I would love to own a Re”cycled” one from Natalia. Earrings are good too! I am about to go to her site to look at sizes etc How exciting!

  2. Natalia’s work is absolutely beautiful and inspiring , not only is she taking something that would otherwise become landfill and making an art with it but she is also paving the way for the rest of us to find the beauty in things you wouldn’t normally find beautiful! 🙂

  3. I came to your blog via my niece Danielle, and love the bright colors with the black of the tube. I make quilts and household furnishings, and recycle or repurpose as much as I can. Would love to see some hot air balloon shapes with contrasting bright color backgrounds. Thanks.

  4. I love that I would never have guessed that the gorgeous jewellery that Natalia makes are from inner tubes! It has inspired me to open my eyes to the different materials we dispose of and see what I can do with them. I love pretty things and I’m passionate about sustainability so this ticks all the boxes! I’m off to the shop and hope to find something for a gift for a friends bday 🙂

  5. Wow these are amazing, I would never guess they were made from inner tubes. I wish there were more people out there turning trash into something so beautiful. Well done.

  6. The fact she has managed to create a piece of jewelry that is gorgeous and delicate and its made out inner bike tubes! Such a great innovative idea! Have been a fan of these pieces for awhile! 🙂

  7. I am drawn to items which have been recycled from objects that others might see as rubbish. Jewelry is such fun and it just gets better when you see Natalia’s skill turning tubes into necklaces and earrings etc. Very clever and amazing results!

  8. I bought a pair of her earrings on felt a few months ago. I love how they’re chunky-looking but feather-light, and how people say “Really?” when I say what they’re made from and how Natalie makes cool crafts from what others consider cr*p.

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