What happens when an artist roams aimlessly around Votanikos’s auto repair shops? She picks up an old motorcycle tire and, on the spot, turns it into a soft, pretty belt, that’s what she does.
“In 2012 I took a car to the mechanic, and started messing around with one of the many spare tires that were lying about. As I waited, I asked the mechanic if I could use one and borrow some of their tools; they agreed, and I came up with my first upcycled creation! ” designer Marina Griponisioti says.
Shortly after, when one of the sound speakers she always carried with her on her travels broke down, she opened it up to fix it and ended up making some jewelry instead.
With a lot of encouragement from friends and positive feedback from clients, her startup upcycling company ConvertArt, was created in Xylokastro, Corinthia, in northern Peloponnese. As of this January, ConvertArt’s entire range can be found in Athens at the new store opened in the Psyrri district
Deeply inspired by the materials she uses and how they can “ change life”, she has created various collections with names like Urban, Freight, Luxury, Comfort and Cruises, that consist of handmade accessories and utilitarian objects, such as“polymorphic” (adapting to the body by shortening or lengthening the straps) bags and jewelry, wallets, agendas, tobacco cases and coasters.
Her creations, many of which look like they’re made from black leather or colored rubber with interesting textures and designs, have a stylish, modern edginess but can appeal to all ages and lifestyles.
Exclusively using recycled inner tubes, tires, electrical equipment, wood and aluminum, her products are not only completely unique but also 100% eco-friendly.
“I believe that by now, when everything is mass produced, handmade products are naturally far more prized,” Griponisioti adds.
The items she creates are cleaned in five different stages so that they are completely safe when they come in contact with the skin.
ConvertArt Psyrri Store: Pallados 24-26 Psyrri Square, inside stoa Pallados
Opened Tuesday – Saturday
Apart from selling online via the website, ConvertArt objects can also be found at around 35 sales points around Greece, and have been presented at fashion industry events like The Athens Trade Show, the Meet Market and The Fashion Room Service.