ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THE FLOP | Workshop Wednesday - Ocean Sole

The task of converting old washed up flip flops into wonderful bright colours of art is a much more intricate process than you may think.

People admire the wonderful rainbow of colour and sheer innovation we produce in all our art pieces. Here at Ocean Sole, we have come up with a way to literally take one man's trash and turn it into another man's treasure, a skill that can easily get overlooked.

Through watching an episode of Workshop Wednesday, you will likely find new respect for the artisans that are a part of Ocean Sole.

Workshop Wednesday is a new YouTube series we are launching today! We will be posting our “Behind The Scenes” of what goes into making our flip flop animal sculptures. When you Google “Flip flop art”, “Animal sculptures” or “African artists”, naturally, you are looking for the product, in other words, the art. Our slogan is “Flip The Flop”, but when you really think about it, there is a double flip to flip the flop. The first flip occurs when we transform flip flop debris into usable material and the second flip is transforming it again, into the animal art you see. At this point, you may be starting to ask yourself “How does Ocean Sole do it?”

With perfect timing to cure your curiosity Ocean Sole has decided to upload a Workshop Wednesday video to YouTube, this will be a weekly occurrence. The video is only 3 minutes long, that’s only 180 seconds out of your day. With watching it, you may gain more than you bargained for!

The first episode is hosted by Jonathan who is a flip flop artist here at Ocean Sole.

Jonathan kindly explains the hard work that goes into making some of our animal art sculptures. In addition, he keeps it short, sweet and simple to understand. From this video you will gather that “flip the flop” involves a minimum six general steps.

The first one is the collection process, this involves us going to beaches and collecting washed up flip flops. This is more specifically known as an “Ocean Sole Beach Clean Up”.

The second step involves sorting the flip flops into what can and cannot be used. Some flip flops have been damaged or have foreign bodies that may be harmful to our customers or simply can’t be used due to too much damage. This is a precautionary process to ensure the safety and well being of our Ocean Sole customers.

Thirdly, we come to the cleaning process. Cleaning is one of the most important steps in the six-step process, so much so that we have a women community dedicated to it. As you know, we collect flip flops from all walks of life and most of them have been floating in the ocean for a long, long time. Therefore, a thorough soap, scrub, rinse and repeat is what all our flip flops go through. One might even call it the “initiation” process.


The last three steps are where the magic happens. This is where creativity is mixed with possibility and the fusion of colour, shape and patterns begin!

The fourth step starts with selection. Selection involves choosing which flip flops will be used and for what reason. In one of our next episodes, another artist will elaborate on how they make this decision and why it matters. Workshop Wednesday is exclusive YouTube content with the intention of giving you an insight into our process.

The fifth step is glueing and patching, for you to fully grasp this process, it’s best you watch the video for a clearer visual. As for now, we will briefly elaborate. Glueing and patching is when the artisans place the flip flop where it best fits according to shape and size. Our artists take this very seriously. They leave no room for imprecision, this is a very detailed process which can sometimes take hours until the artist finds the best fit.

Finally the last step. We come to the process known as sanding. Sanding can happen both before and after glueing and patching, it really does depend.

In this episode of Workshop Wednesday, Jonathan reveals a LIFE SIZE flip flop sculpture that is going to America, the Honda s2000!!! This piece underwent sanding both before and after. You see, before a flip flop can be patched and glued, it must fit in. This is why both sanding and glueing and patching work hand in hand; they require the utmost precision which thanks to our hardworking team of artists and our supportive Ocean Sole community, we are able to do.

Not only do we want to show you the process of our flip flop art but we also want to show you various projects we are working on.

In our video you will see snippets of our Sole Mate project endangered species life-size sculptures!. This project is to raise awareness of animals that are endangered through recreating them as animal sculptures made of flip flops. Jonathan also reveals already completed flip flop animal sculptures such as the Polar Bear and Gorilla.

Jonathan also shows one of our artists working on a large lion flip flop sculpture.

Our Ocean Sole community has a strong team of hardworking men and women. One lady in particular by the name Peninnah, manages to wash 85 kilograms of flip flops per day - 85 kilograms!

Everyone who works with Ocean Sole has something to offer; some artisans work on large life size flip flop sculptures, whereas others work on smaller sculptures like flip flop Christmas decoration balls which you will see in the video!

So there you have it Workshop Wednesday Episode 1 - see you next week!!!

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