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Passion for trashion: Mainer turns beach trash into art you can wear

Artist Gracelyn Kilpatrick has spent a lot of time combing beaches up the east coast and beyond for micro-plastic. Now, she's turning that trash into jewelry.

PORTLAND, Maine — Gracelyn Kilpatrick has always had a love for two things: art and the ocean.

"I always say I have saltwater running through my veins," Kilpatrick joked.

Maine will always be her home, but she recently moved to Cape May, New Jersey where she's opened her own studio called 'G is for Gracelyn'.

The Gorham native has made a career out of creating unique pieces of art. Some inspired by the ocean, others by her grandmother.

"She was amazing," Kilpatrick said. "I can't begin to describe how much of an impact she's had on my work."

However, her most recent project was inspired by garbage; hundreds of mini pieces of micro-plastic found up the East Coast and beyond.

"There are some beaches that I will find a lot," Kilpatrick said. "Like on the islands, there's a lot of garbage -- I think because of the tides it's more centralized."

In fact, it was her time on Great Diamond Island, one of her favorite places, that inspired the project last Fall. She's now turning trash into art you can wear and she's calling them Litter Loops.

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

"We're going to put our mixture into bracelet molds, layer in the resin and the microplastic," Kilpatrick said. "And 24 hours later, we have a bracelet."

They come in all different colors, each with a note telling where the plastic for the bracelet was found. 

10 percent of each purchase will be donated to the Clean Ocean Project. A non-governmental organization founded in 2000 to protect the oceans, waves and beaches. 

She's hoping something as simple as a piece of jewelry can lead to a bigger and much needed conversation about taking better care of our oceans and planet.

"Instead of just throwing it in the garbage, and who knows where that ends up," Kilpatrick said. "With this, I know exactly where the plastic is going and I know it isn't going back on the beach or in a landfill or something like that."

If you would like to purchase one, the bracelets can be found here. Kilpatrick says those interested can send her a personal message on her Instagram account. If you don't have an Instagram account, you can send a request for a bracelet to g.isforgracelyn@gmail.com. The bracelets cost $30.