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Detroit Artist Crafts Sunglasses From Abandoned Homes

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DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a piece of wearable Detroit history.

Local artist Achille Bianchi has started “Homes Eyewear” to sell sunglasses he’s making from wood reclaimed from Detroit’s many abandoned houses.

Bianchi, who  likes using recycled materials in his work, told WWJ’s Sandra McNeil to idea came from a friend who asked for a pair of glasses made from an art project home that caught fire.

Achille Bianchi (ctedit: Sandra McNeil/WWJ)

Achille Bianchi (ctedit: Sandra McNeil/WWJ)

The idea came from a friend who asked for a pair of glasses made from a favorite art project home that caught fire.

“…I was like, well, it’s wood. I’m making wooden sunglasses, so it’s certainly possible,” Bianchi said.

“I kinda started to just roll with the idea of, you know, using reclaimed homes and here I am, and it’s been working out really well,” he said. “The wood’s been perfect — super sturdy wood — and it turns out beautiful when it’s cleaned up.”

The glasses are the wayfarer style and are named after Detroit streets. They have the address of the home they came from engraved inside along with the words, “Handcrafted In Detroit.”

Creating the glasses involves a little research, Bianchi said, along with the manufacturing.

“My jobs is just trying to find…this was a building technique they were using in the 1910s and 20s, this is where they were getting their wood from, this is the architect of the house, the history of the neighborhood,” he said.

Bianchi sells the glasses from his studio in Eastern Market. He’s just getting started, but sales are going well.

“The two orders that just came in, someone was from Nevada, one person was from Philly,” he said. “It’s been really great support, really great reactions.”

The glasses will float, Bianchi said, but he doesn’t recommend you wear them swimming.

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