Post 2: Upcycling Project Aesthetic- Earthcore/Granola Girl

For my Upcyle project, I have chosen to pursue an “earthcore”/”granola girl” aesthetic. The decision to do so was a direct result of the primary material I have chosen to use for this project. As an avid enjoyer of Earth and the outdoors, I try to gravitate towards products from companies that keep in mind sustainability and its impact on our planet. Thus, when I arrived at  CU Boulder as a freshman and took my first sip out of a Guayaki Yerba Mate can, boy was I hooked. As I grew older, my passion for this organic, healthy, and sustainable energy drink grew stronger, and soon enough I became an “ambacebdor”— an ambassador for Guayaki’s Yerba Mates. I share and provide the magic of Yerba Mate to a wide variety of different microcommunities I am a part of, whether it be my art community, my snowboarding team, my surfing community, or my rave scene. Because I am an art major, (and a hoarder) I tend to save— for lack of a better word— a bunch of junk, or items that people would normally throw away. 

Consequently, it’s safe to say that I have enough empty yerba mate cans in my room to cover up an entire wall. So, I have an influx of yerba mate cans—not complaining though. The next design problem I was facing in my life was the lack of ambient lighting in my bedroom. It’s safe to say that I only ever turn on my overhead lights for emergencies. What I am lacking and want more of is smaller light sources that emit subtle, warm-toned light. However, I don’t just want any small sources of light. As mentioned before, I am an artist, so self-expression is as much of a priority to me as eating, sleeping, and breathing. So, putting these two dilemmas together, I needed some small sources of warm light in a vessel that would communicate my self-expression. I also had an influx of empty yerba mate cans in my room that were doing nothing except taking up space. Therefore, what I have chosen to do for my upcycling project is create candles out of my empty yerba mate cans. In doing so, I am killing two birds with one stone. I will create small, warmly lit sources of light for my bedroom, in a vessel that communicates my love and passion for yerba mate. 

In terms of materials, as mentioned above, I already have the vessel for each candle— the hundreds of empty yerba mate cans in my room. To ensure that my earthcore/granola girl aesthetic is being carried out in absolutely every aspect of my project, I need to make sure that the materials I use are also organic and sustainable. So, I have chosen to use essential oils to add natural fragrance to scent my candles. I already own several bottles of essential oils thanks to my mother’s passion for supporting her friends’ pyramid schemes— shoutout doTERRA. Next, I must cut the lid/the top of the yerba mate can off to pour wax in and make it a candle. Luckily, I already have a can/lid opener upstairs in my kitchen. Additionally, I already own some old pots that I can use to hold the wax that I will heat on the stove. The last material I need to execute my yerba mate candles is wax. I have some returns I need to make at Michaels— just some extra canvases I have lying around— I will exchange the canvases for organic wax that I can use for my yerba mate candles. Although I technically have to buy something extra for this project, I am exchanging items I already had lying around my room for it. So, I don’t see it as purchasing a new item, but rather trading for a new item. 

One of the major reasons I am so passionate about Guayaki’s Yerba Mate’s is because of the exceptional vision of the company. “Market Driven Regeneration™ is Guayakí Yerba Mate’s business model that aspires to create a net positive impact in the world throughout our operations and supply web. This starts with the conservation and regeneration of the land where our yerba mate grows by focusing on the positive environmental, cultural, and societal impacts of our business at its origin” ( .Thus, the aesthetic surrounding the brand and my future candles is  Earthcore— which is an aesthetic “that revolves around the idea of creating a harmonious ecosystem while also advancing in knowledge and technology. It works to admire the beauty of nature and life while also improving human civilization on Earth in ways that can benefit all parties.”( The Yerba Mate can design in and of itself exudes earthcore energy from its use of earth tones for colors, the Guayaki logo design of a leafy green wreath around Earth, along with traditional native American shapes and symbols, inspired by the tribes in the Amazon Rainforest that collaborate with Guayaki in sourcing Yerba Mate Sustainably.

Images courtesy of Guayaki’s instagram @guayaki. The fourth image was taken by me SVM.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Hi Sammie, your commitment to sustainability is very admirable. Recycling these cans sounds like a great idea—it’s crazy using ambient lighting in a room instead of overhead lights can totally change the feel and make a room more cozy-feeling. What essential oils do you think you’ll use? Are you going to make them all the same, or mix it up?


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