Coffee sleeves, but make it fashion!

Langara student starts artistic recycling project


By Christina Dommer

In an effort to reduce waste, a Langara student is reinvigorating cardboard coffee sleeves with an artistic flair.

Registered massage therapy student, Jonathan Lovely, created a Kickstarter campaign on Nov. 1, to raise funds for Shapeshift: Upcycled Drink Sleeves with an Artsy Twist. Lovely’s goal to raise $400 will go towards purchasing supplies to help protect sleeves from wear and tear.

Artistic inspiration

“Fortunately, the materials themselves for this project are low cost, as it’s primarily about finding and reusing material. Then adding a design to it and sealing it,” Lovely said.

The artistic lifespan of a Shapeshift sleeve starts when it’s extracted from a disposable coffee cup. From there, the sleeve is turned inside-out, decorated, and finally treated with a protective sealant.
But Lovely stresses he didn’t start up the project just for money.

“Most of the sleeves I have made, I have already given away to attract attention,” he said.
The Kickstarter is mainly a solo undertaking of Lovely’s, and he’s looking for artists to help him decorate.

For love, not money

There are different tiers of support to help with Shapeshift, ranging from $1 to $35, each tier offering different perks.

Already a full-time student, Lovely said the Kickstarter is an adventure in terms of scheduling and financing. “I haven’t received any outside funding, I’m just paying for it with a bit I saved up,” Lovely said.

Benjamin van Nostrand, a collaborator with Lovely on Shapeshift, doesn’t think that the sleeves will have mass appeal, but it’s the meaning that the artists create that make them valuable.

“It’s essentially garbage, it has some extra ink on it,” van Nostrand said, of the sleeves. “It’s not a object with any material value… and that’s fine,  that means they’re [the artist] bringing their own sense of value to it, and that’s the most transformative part.”

In continued efforts to reduce waste, as is the foundation of the Kickstarter project, Lovely has introduced a no-packaging shipping option, but is currently still in the testing phase to ensure no shipping issues.

The Kickstarter, as of Nov. 28, has raised $22 by two backers.

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