When I was at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival in March, I saw these really cool earrings at Pathways (Chilmark Tavern) that were made out of recycled tires. I knew that I had to get a pair, and find out who was behind this great up-cycle style!
Thanks to festival Programming and Managing Director, Brian Ditchfield, I learned that Leah Crosby, Making It Artist Coordinator, at The Yard, was the mastermind behind them.
I think Leah was a bit surprised that I wanted to meet with her for a story, but I am always really interested in people who can literally turn trash into treasure. And, Leah does just that.
She has been on the Island for about a year now. What stated as an internship at the renowned Yard has become a three season job, Fall, Winter, and Spring. What’s happening for the Summer is yet to be determined. I should also mention that she works at the Oak Bluffs Library at the reference desk. One woman, many jobs.
Leah has grown up dancing. Dancing is what she is most passionate about, and getting the position of Artist Coordinator at the Yard was a great accomplishment for her. With this position, she is able to teach creative movement to little kids and the elderly. Two totally different age groups, both of which really enjoy working with her. She also does a free adult, Community Dance, class on Thursdays thru May 5th at the West Tisbury Library.
When Leah is not at the Yard, you might find her riding her bike around the Island. As an avid rider, she is frequently replacing the inner tubes on her bike. What to do with these deflated, used pieces of black rubber? Well, instead of throwing them in the trash, Leah gets crafty with her scissors, and makes fun, interesting earrings.
Before coming to Martha’s Vineyard, Leah worked with the Bread and Puppet Theater. This company from Vermont has been a frequent guest to the Island. The puppets and materials the theater company use are made from recycled and repurposed materials.
Seeing how relatively easy it was to create something from “trash,” Lea challenged herself to create something refined from an industrial medium that would end up in a landfill typically. Cycle Threads was born.
From the used inner tubes, she creates truly interesting earrings, some of which are inspired by feathers she finds on rides, and others are more geometric. It’s the geometric ones she really enjoys making, but it’s the feather ones that customers favor. I must admit that I did buy a pair of feather ones, and people want to buy them from me when I wear them.
Cycle Threads are not super refined, but that’s the charm. Knowing that the earrings — that are such great conversation — pieces are made from something so mundane, makes their imperfections seemingly perfect.
Imagine if more people challenged themselves to do more with things that add to our landfills? It’s inspiring.
You can find Cycle Threads on Etsy, or contact Leah via email, Leah.firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m hoping she’ll be featured in a store on Island this Season. If it happens, I’ll let you know.