The Rebirth of Handmade Fashion Series 1

You must have seen a duck hatch from an egg, but have you ever seen jewelry or home decor material coming out of an egg?

Shell Homage
Shell Homage

For a while, let us think of you as Romeo. One late afternoon, your Juliet is sitting next to you. You are eating nuts and engrossed in a kingdom of love. The only witness to that moment of love is the neglected nutshells, lying on the ground. But do you know that some creative people in the world are always kin to bring that unforgettable moment to your doorstep? They carefully collect the nutshells or the eggshells you throw away in the rubbish of your house or restaurant and use them to create a priceless collection of biodegradable materials without toxic chemicals.

Read Romeo And Juliet…

As the global economy has come to a standstill due to the passive effect of coronavirus, It is a critical time to talk about businesses providing economic and social impact. Kurteli wants to find out those businesses hidden around the world and the talents associated with them. We hope that they will be inspired a little through our writing and give us the gift of every new creative art. The day is not far away when we will see these bright stars crossing the borders of their own country and contributing to the social and economic spheres of the outside world. With that in mind, we want to present a series of blogs about bustling socially sensitive artisans.

See latest Covid-19 (Coronavirus) updates…

In the following months, we will be presenting artisans making a global social impact around the world through their impressive handiwork. 

This week we would like to present Rania Elkalla, Founder & Material Designer of Shell Homage, producing quality and changing the paradigm and reinventing art from the waste materials of nuts and eggs.


As global egg consumption is rising with changing diets, several tons of eggshells are taking their place in the piles of garbage every day. Inspired by her father, Rania thought about inventing a way to make environmentally friendly biomaterials from the discarded waste of eggs and different nutshells so that It can decay and decompose when it’s no longer needed.

She followed 2 simple steps.

The first step is to procure raw materials for preparing biodegradable plastics. For this, she has to collect all eggshells and nutshells from her friends, various restaurants, canteens, nut shops, bakeries, and other possible sources.

Collected raw materials are first thoroughly washed. It is then cleaned and dried for a few days in the sun or with the help of a special oven to kill the bacteria in it. The dried shells are then powdered by a grinder. This powder is then mixed with biodegradable organic polymer and inserted into a special machine that results in a sticky material that dries up soon. The created composite material is put through production techniques like extrusion, pressing, and injection molding. 

Coloring is done by simply adding food pigments with the plastic. There are three factors below why each batch is different and unique.

Homogeneous mixture of each substance, How much coloring is added, Quantity of shells is added to the polymer.

Learn about homogeneous mixture…

Rania produces different patterns of tiles through controlled temperatures which is 100% organic and fertilizes the earth when it is destroyed or discarded. Moreover, the newly created material does not rot or break down easily which makes it a unique sustainable piece of art.

Click to shop other biodegradable material…

A quick question comes to mind that what can we do with biodegradable material?  

The created biodegradable material can be applied in several applications as in interior, light design, fashion art, furniture design, home accessories, consumable goods, Jewelry design, and 3D printing. And can be a great inspiration that new materials come also from the design field and show alternatives for oil-based plastics.

Shell Homage is unique on its field because:

* Use of a completely disregarded material (e.g. egg and nut shells).

* Produced material can be used in several industries and can be scaled up.

* Aesthetically appealing surfaces which look like marble or natural stones.

* Lightweight material.

* Creates an experience that is meaningful and delightful to users of each product.

* Fabricate biodegradable composite without toxic chemicals.

* Expand in different industries e.g. product design, interior design, consumable goods and jewelry design.

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Shell Homage has achieved many awards and recognitions in the international arena for its exceptional modern and eco-friendly product design. Lead designer Rania Elkalla was awarded a Bronze prize in design for society/eco-sustainable design. The aim of European Product Design Award 2019 was to create functional and sustainable products that have a life span and they should be completely biodegradable. Rania’s work was selected by the Recycling Design award & exhibited at Marta Herford museum 2019/2020.

Shell Homage was also exhibited by green product design awards at Internationale Handwerksmesse in March 2019. It was exhibited in Orgatec in Köln in October 2018. Know Orgatec?…

As a recognition of her talented work, Rania was invited to the Elmia subcontractor fair in Sweden in November 2017.

She won the international A’ Design Award in Italy and selected by green product design awards.

Being broadcasted on the German TV station Cable eins – adventure live, Shell Homage has gained a wide popularity among the people.. Watch it now…

Moreover, It was chosen to be exhibited in the 10th biennale Saint-Étienne in France in March 2019.

An interview on material research was taken place based on bioplastic created from eggshells and nutshells with Rania Elkalla featured by pluralmagazine. Rania’s research project turned into a startup using natural materials to innovate design and art. Her work was featured on Material District with a brief and easy explanation of how they use the waste materials to create bio-plastic without any usage of toxic chemicals.

Another online medium girltable focused on Rania, founder of Shell Homage for introducing designs with eco-friendly solutions. Architonic published an article on pebble hangers designed and manufactured by Rania’s innovative ideas made of organic bio-plastic.

How Shell Homage made their creative designs from egg shells and nut shells is beautifully crafted by haute-innovation. Designite focused on Rania Elkalla’s disclosure on the latest shell homage pebble hangers. The Designer Daily featured an article on award winning industrial designs where they kept Shell Homage as one of the top 10 outstanding works.

The Korea Craft And Design Foundation published a magazine mentioning Shell Homage for their marvelous contribution to the creative handiwork industry.

Is there any link to the Fashion Industry with Rania’s idea?

Definitely! Today’s fashion means to make yourself a little different from others. Suppose, you bought a handmade bag from Kurteli. But why buy a handmade bag? Why not buy another machine-made fashion bag? What is special about handmade rattan bags? These are the hundreds of questions you may have never thought of when buying the bag! Your thoughts were just to do something different. Interestingly, if the word eco-friendly is added to it, then there is no question while buying! 

Now you thought everything of me to the bag would be an exception. From the wall of your house to the jewelry you wear must have a new but unique look. You found the Shell Homage of Rania Elkalla on Instagram. You have been amazed to see such beautiful jewelry or pebble hangers can be made with unused egg and nut shells! As a true fashion-conscious lady, a touch of the uniqueness of your mind reflects on wearing Jewelry of Rania with kurteli’s latest handmade basket bag.

A little touch on Rania Elkalla. She is a graphic designer born and raised in Cairo in Egyptian 1990. In 2012, she graduated with high honor degree from the German University in Cairo “GUC” with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sciences and Art, Product Design as a major. As an ambitious lady, Rania is trying hard to bring latest sustainable designs for all of us.

Have you ever visited Cairo, Egypt? Here is a list of top 17 places you can visit…

Want to plan a trip? Click here…

Watch how Rania Elkalla works at Shell Homage.

If you like Rania Elkalla’s idea of sustainable handmade natural art, follow her on Instagram

Keep your eyes on kurteli’s The Rebirth of Handmade Fashion series. You can also find us on instagram and pinterest

Arif works at kurteli, selling handmade rattan bags by artisans all over the world. Contact Arif… 

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