Called Bowling Arm, the wrist bracelets are made from a set of six leather rings, recovered waste from the production of cricket balls.

Design partners, Charles Anderson and Simone LeAmon, who established their studio n+1 equals in 1999, have taken their novel product to international markets and are delighted with the response. 

Anderson says the charm of Bowling Arm is cross cultural: “From the streets of Melbourne to New York and Milan, Bowling Arm’s appeal is proving to cross gender, social and cultural milieus.”

More than 5,000 bracelets have been distributed and sold in Australia over the past eighteen months. LeAmon, Anderson (or one of the talented work-experience students) compiles each Bowling Arm unit in the company studio.

“They ‘stretch to fit’ any wrist size and wear with age like a nice pair of leather shoes,” LeAmon explains. Once stretched the rings will not return to their former size, therefore the relationship with the wearer is curious and very personal.

Anderson says the project arose from a way of thinking as much as an idea for a product.

“The practice of discovering uses for things initially considered as waste can be mapped throughout time, cultures and even across species. Bowling Arm ‘recontextualises’ material which is essentially considered valueless.

“Industry refers to this material stuff as ‘pre-consumer waste’, which although vital in forming the cricket ball, it is considered superfluous.

"For decades it has been the fate of this stuff to be discarded and be dumped as landfill. Intervening in this ‘normal’ process, n+1 equals recovers this waste, sorts it for quality, cleans it, organises it, assembles it, and arranges it upon a presentation sleeve – presto, the waste becomes Bowling Arm.”

The six leather rings are fondly referred to as ‘overs’. Other terminology borrowed from the game of cricket is used to describe the range of products available.

The rings are presented on a black polypropylene cylinder in colours: cherry-red (scrap from the ‘test match’ cricket ball), white (from the day/night ball) or yellow (from the indoor game).

According to LeAmon, the success of the concept continues to surprise the team at n+1 equals and Bowling Arm has been favourably received among international designers, curators and celebrities.

“Bowling Arm has a unique capacity to negotiate the concept of ‘Australiana’.

"We often receive emails from around the globe from people who have either received them as gifts or saw an Aussie wearing them at a bar or on the street and felt compelled to ask where they got their ‘bangles’ from.”

LeAmon says the leather can vary greatly giving each bangle a specific quality, look and feel.

“It is important that we select the best leather rings. The less work required for cleaning and trimming allows more time for compilation and polishing.

"The rings are cleaned with soapy water and polished on our best cricket whites to encourage the ‘cherry red’ lustre reminiscent of the test match cricket ball.”

While both LeAmon and Anderson have established practices in the visual arts, their training and work have taken different paths throughout their careers.

LeAmon says the studio partnership grew from a shared belief and desire to practice in a broader context than that of the cultural sector, typically museums and galleries.

“Both Charles and I have taught in the design disciplines for many years and worked alongside some extraordinary thinkers, designers and makers. I suppose it has encouraged a culture of continuous learning and instilled a strong work ethic in us.”  

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