Rubber tires are pure nastiness, especially when they’re no longer useful for cars. They languish in landfills, provide habitat for mosquitoes and rats, and often cause horrendous fires – like this one in Kuwait that was visible from space. Hit the jump to find out how Hala Smadi is putting them to good (re)use in Jordan.
A graphic designer, Hala Smadi also has a way with recycled tires. Similar to Bokja’s tires wrapped in exotic and colorful fabrics as a form of protest in Lebanon, Smadi’s recycled “Wheels” also puts disused tires to new purpose.
After rolling the tires to the nearby gas station where they are cleaned, the Petra University graduate brings the tires back to her own home and then weaves some kind of special magic.
Either she paints them in elaborate designs to be used as plant pots, or covers them in durable fabrics (often sent from Dubai by her Aunt who lives there) for use as a decorative piece, or even upcycles them as hipster stools.
Speaking to Humanity Can Wait (HCW), a great website that chronicles grass roots art, culture, design and activities in Jordan, Smadi describes how interest from people both in Jordan and abroad spurred her to pursue this line of decorate Wheels (which many might see as a particularly disgusting thing to have in one’s house.)
In addition to being a unique way to express her talents, Wheels allows Smadi to attack a particularly vexing situation that the entire MENA region faces – mountains of scrap tires that are vectors of disease and potentially dangerous because of the way they retain heat and cause fires.
Asked by HCW how she finds her chosen medium, Shami says:
Anywhere and everywhere! I go around shops asking for wheels all the time. It’s incredibly time-consuming and hectic. I do buy some of them sometimes, but other times a lot of people give them to me. There are a lot of potential uses for old wheels and tires, but most of them are just thrown away. It’s a really good opportunity for me to recycle them.
Definitely head over to HCW to read the full interview. We were particularly intrigued to read and think about how social media makes it so much easier to find potential customers.