Recycling, upcycling, organic foods, green technologies - many people and companies are looking for ways to improve their health and the environment, and Sherry Bender, of Montoursville, is one of those people.
Bender, CEO of Affiniton, a threat-detection product company, has started a new side-project called LP Shapers. After researching ideas on how to recycle different items, she came across the idea of transforming scratched, damaged or unused records into new and useable items.
She said she had a lot of vinyl albums taking up space in her garage and began to research ideas on how to upcycle them. Upcycling is the process of taking unused items or waste materials and turning them into useful products, rather than throwing them in the trash.
Sherry Bender, CEO of Affinition, a threat-detection product company, has started a new side project called LP Shapers, for which she transforms scratched, damaged or unused vinyl albums into new and useable items.
"I started experimenting with making bowls and serving trays," Bender said. "I got the idea of putting them on a pedestal and painting them. I also make jewelry by cutting them into strips and twisting them."
She shapes the different items by heating them in the oven just enough so that the albums become soft and moldable, but not too much so that they melt and run - about 6 to 8 minutes - but she said they cool very quickly, so molding the items to a desired shape must be done immediately or she has to start over.
"I started the project specifically to make it a business," Bender said. "My goal is to have a small studio, maybe at the Pajama Factory, and I could store supplies there and hire a few employees."
She also said another goal for the project is to reach out to the local art community and build relationships with artists who might be interested in painting designs onto the LPs to sell as artwork.
Bender said she wants to have a table at First Friday events and also other local craft fairs and exhibits where she can display and sell the items.
When designing jewelry, her main interest with the project, Bender found it difficult to accurately cut out the shapes from the vinyl and equally as difficult to shape them after heating.
"In order to make intricate shapes and offer a variety of designs, I went searching for a laser cutter just to find out they are extremely expensive," she said.
She began a fundraiser on Kickstarter.com to come up with the funds needed to buy a basic laser cutter and the supplies necessary to build an inventory for her business.
Kickstarter is an online platform for people who need to fund their creative projects.
Bender had 30 days from the start of her fundraiser on Dec. 4, to collect pledges that total $9,000 - the total amount needed to purchase the laser cutter and supplies. The only catch - with Kickstarter, you get all or nothing. If Bender does not raise the $9,000 in the 30-day time frame, she will need to begin a new fundraiser and try again.
Anyone who makes a pledge toward the project goal will receive a thank you gift from Bender.
The item that is given to those who participate will depend on the amount pledged. Some of the items include a pair of earrings, a wavy bowl, a wavy platter, a wall clock, or a combination of the items listed.
A description of the fundraiser, as well as photos and other information about LP Shapers, is available on the fundraising site.
For more information or to donate to LP Shapers, visit www.kickstarter.com and search for "LP?shapers."