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nu4u - saving the oceans from pollution

 Upcycling jewelry brand 


Jo, the founder of the sustainable jewelry brand Nu4u, is a multifaceted skilled artist, educator and designer.

Her artistic upcycling research started in the 80's and allowed her to master creative reuse of many materials: from patchwork to furniture restoration, from appliqué to woodcarving and much more.

In the last decade she started her mission of cleaning Australian beaches of plastic and waste and she started using discarded material for her jewelry brand. 

Nu4u Creative’s philosophy is based on modeling - “walking the talk” - rather than direct action, making things fun rather than a chore and presenting the issue of plastics worldwide in an unconventional way.  

Jo believes you can catch more ants with honey than vinegar, or in this case, with eco jewelry.   

Nu4u jewelry is therefore designed to be whimsical, fun, quirky and unique at one level and ethical, educational, and environmental at another.  

Check out her website for interesting upcycling tutorials and workshops.


Tell me something about you, how did you become a sustainable designer? 

With over 30 years as an educator and teacher, one of my strongest drives is to educate and empower. My role as an educator also included advocacy for students with disabilities or needs within the educational setting. 

This experience and background, coupled with the need to be creative, led me to develop Nu4u Creative.

As a result, Nu4u Creative is focused on educating and raising awareness of the environmental impact man made synthetic waste has.

By educating and raising awareness, my aim is to empower people, both at the creative and decision-making levels. 

How do you transform the waste that you collect from the beach? 

These are the steps: 

1. collect waste 

2. hand clean, scrub and untangle (this can require it all done multiple times)

3. sort according to condition of materials and usability

4. hand craft waste using various techniques to transform it into a piece of jewellery

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Which kind of techniques do you use?

I use a range of traditional techniques on non traditional materials.

These include:

1. Braiding  (Kumihino technique for fishing line, twining fabric and banana fiber etc])

2. Plaiting

3. Weaving

4. Sanding  (raw pieces of plastics and resin)

5. Carving  (a range of materials, including pumice stone and resin for example)

6. Drilling (resin and quondong endocarps)

7. Moulding with bio resin

8. Stitching (mainly used to attach pieces in my statement necklaces)

Probably lots more that I use without thinking.... 


Which kind of waste materials do you use for your creations?

The majority of the raw waste materials I use are all sourced from beach or waterway cleanups or from recycle centres:

1. Plastics collected off beaches: pieces of hard plastics, frayed bits of rope, fishing line and netting

2. Plastics collected out of waterways: soft plastic fishing lure, bits of tangled fishing line and netting, plastic fishing beads

3. Fishing net (a range of gill and ghost nets)

4. Crab and yabbi pot netting

5. Cast netting

6. Fishing tackle cleared out of waterways: metal sinker, lures, swivels and clips

7. Fishing line out of waterways, from recycled centers and donations

8. Nylon rope that i get off beaches, out of waterways etc

9. Fishing twine

10.Re-used fish scales from the fish we catch to eat

11. Wild bird feathers left in our garden

12. Recycled plastic beads

13. Blue Quondong endocarps grown in my garden

14. Banana and flax fibers grown locally

15. Small shells, bits of marine flora and fauna attached to netting or fishing line, e.g coral bits

How can quarantine be a good moment for becoming more conscious and sustainable?

Though this period of quarantine can be stressful and worrying for many, it also provides a unique opportunity to change our perspectives. To be still rather than rush, to reconnect with yourself and loved ones rather than be distracted, to be self-focused rather than work focused and to have the time to truly decide what matters the most to you in your life. 

The economic and social impact of quarantine has also meant that more of us have become aware of the movement within the fashion industry to move to a more sustainable model.

This period allows each of us to step up and join in. Limited access to shops means some of us are now looking more at repurposing or modifying our existing clothes and fashion rather than simply throwing them out and buying new pieces. For me, this period of quarantine is easy – I simply spend more time in my studio!

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