To some people, discarded flyers, crown corks, cans, used mayonnaise jars are items that are fit for the trash. But just the mention of the items uncaps Shanice Gonsalves's creative juices.
"I like to recycle and I like to work with found stuff," Gonsalves said.
Initially, Gonsalves was on the path to becoming a social worker, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, but she found it difficult to ignore her artistic side.
"I started making hair accessories for myself and honestly I really didn't know how I got into making necklaces and earrings."
The 21-year-old student got into paper beads later and, using flyers that she collected from friends, she rolled and shaped the recycled paper into beads.
"A lot of people don't believe me when I say this is paper, she said fiddling with her long necklace made up of mainly paper beads. I usually choose the paper I want, sometimes it could be flyers or I may cut a magazine, and then I put the beads together. There are artists who add paint to their paper beads but I prefer to leave them in their natural colours and then just add regular beads to allow them to stand out."
The reaction to Gonsalves's paper beads is always the same wherever she goes: "People always want to know what will happen when the beads get wet and how long it would last.
"Anything I make I try it out first. After making my first pair of paper bead earrings I went and took a shower to see what would happen. That's why I can tell my customers that water won't affect it. Of course if they drown it in water to experiment that is a different story."
One paper bead accessory takes Gonsalves a half of an hour to make. The longest part of the process involves the glazing of the paper which is hard, the Arouca resident said, "because you literally have to watch paper dry. I love working with the glossy flyers because they dry harder."
Gonsalves says she is taking a break from academic studies to focus on her craft and learn everything she could about it.
"My friends call me a hippie because of my love for recycling" she said with a laugh and seemed a bit flattered by the hippie reference. I make my own shampoo and I make my own lotion. I would like to make my own deodorant and I have been researching the ways to do that. Do you see what those deodorants on the market contain? If I could become self sufficient I would."
Gonsalves, who is constantly creating, admits — albeit with a bit of hesitation — that she often shares her bed with paper and other materials used for her craft.
"I sleep on one side; the materials are on the next side. My room is filled with my treasures," she said with a laugh. "My dad is clearing out a room downstairs for me to have a space to work."
The bags of wine corks in one corner of her room will go into making mats and accessories. She is also trying to source old credit and bank cards to make key chains and earrings. Gonsalves has been fortunate to meet willing bar staff who supplies her with the used 'crown corks' that are used in her unique earrings.
"They sell really well. A lot of people love them."
Recently Gonsalves displayed and sold her items at the Monthly Arts Market. She was also a part of The Mango Festival held earlier this year and said it is forums like these that give artists hope and celebrate their artistry.
"People don't appreciate what artists do and how much work we put into our craft. Sometimes they may even challenge the price you give them for your work."
Gonsalves's parents used to tell her she won't make any money from her craft. Now, she said, her father is the one who buys materials for her to work with and her mother is equally supportive.
"I think that some parents try to live out their dreams in their children rather than allow them to do things that make them happy. I encourage young people to never give up on their dreams and their craft never mind how many people might discourage you."