Drink It Up then Drink It In!
by Cate Murway

We’ve all heard that “one man’s trash is another [wo]man’s treasure”.
Lorraine Marie Cocci is staying ahead of the curve on being green, sending a creative fashionable message in a bottle! 
Think “smart art” and artistic upcycling. This is serious, playful and radical thinking about art in today’s world.
Lorraine sees possibility in the things we throw away daily, and designs an aesthetic and decorative fabric from that which most people would perceive to be rubbish. She sees design opportunities where most only see waste, crafting eco-blights into eco-conscious treasures, a fantastic example of imaginative thinking.
Makes one start to look at garbage in a whole new way.

There are a plethora of reasons for recycling bottles that save energy, water and resources and reasons to rid ourselves of plastic – our health, the environment, and the cost in resources – and that’s just a start. In the U.S. less than 25% of plastic bottles are ever recycled, the rest end up in landfills.
A minuscule number of plastic bottles go to what is equivalent to bottle heaven: They are upcycled into art, jewelry, and home accessories.
Some of the most compelling and creative works have been born out of the simplest and most abundant of materials: garbage and abandoned refuse.

Lorraine was born the 5th of the six children of the late Bristol native, Navy veteran, Vincenzo Augustine "Vincent" and the late Alberta G. [Voight], who was born in Newark. 

Creativity has always been woven into the Cocci family’s fiber.
Her grandparents, Pierino “Peter” and Domenica [Nepa] Cocci, owned the Peter Cocci Custom Tailoring Shop in the Borough and her grandmother took on additional sewing work at the Grundy woolen mill, making the cuffs for the officer’s uniforms.
“Since I was a little girl I had always enjoyed making things by hand and creating beautiful items for other people to enjoy.” 

She was also “fascinated and influenced” by her artistic Aunt Ginny, Virginia Cocci DiMaggio, her father’s sister.
“Going to her house was like going into a museum. I would sneak upstairs in her art room and I loved the oil paint smell. It still brings back memories.”
Lorraine always drew and painted. She was gifted with an oil paint set when she was in the 6th grade. 
“I’m so proud to be a Cocci. I love my Aunt Virginia. She is my mentor.”
The youngest of her siblings, pharmacy technician Christina Annette ‘Tina’ Papa is also a seamstress, fashioning anything from sports jackets to wedding dresses.

Lorraine attended the Bristol Borough schools until the 9th grade and art was already her passion. The late William Bagley, her Art teacher and the late Math and Industrial Arts teacher, Naval Lt. Carmen Mignoni were especially inspiring educators.
While growing up, everyone in her family played an instrument and she opted for the violin, a choice influenced by her best friend.
Singing has always brought her much joy and she was a member of the choir.

When her father became ill, her family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida.
The transition was initially difficult. She missed her friends.
But the beaches were beautiful and Martin County High School was very career oriented, supportive, and challenging and this helped her hone her entrepreneurial spirit.
"You can change your whole life in a single minute."
She was taught the skills and character traits necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, diverse society. “To this day, I can thank my mom for moving us there.”

Lorraine relocated to the area to attend the Art Institute of Philadelphia and then ultimately, to study Graphic Design and graduate from the Hussian School of Art, located in the historic Bourse Building on Philadelphia's Independence Mall.
She learned that there is a lot of talent in this world and as with any opportunity, the competition is intense. She dreams of the possibilities, excited about her place in it, and she remains not the least bit intimidated, because she has learned from experience that none of the secrets of success will work unless you do.
Lorraine’s polished portfolio is comprised of not just recycled “trash talk”, but also painted, sculpted, and metal and fiberglass fabrications. Her artistic creations engage, inspire and engender reflection in all who see them.

She returned to Bristol almost a year ago, currently residing on Radcliffe Street.
“Bristol has such charm.”
The name of her business was "Surfer Girl Hanging 10", is derived from her experiences when she lived in the beautiful Jensen Beach area, a little coastal town in South Florida. Now called The Unique Mini Boutique!
She creates a mix of eye-catching and impactful, vintage with a contemporary flair, treasures; jewelry, headgear, and purses in her shared 4th Floor studio space on Building #3, a perfect custom industrial and professional space, located in the historic Grundy Commons complex on Canal Street.

The year 2012 for her is all about sustainability and her recycled, raw pieces that will range from classic to exotic with bold and unexpected color combinations.
Her trendy headbands for proms, special occasions and Valentines Day; rare, vintage river glass pendants, and translucent vinyl cuff bracelets are some of her newest items.

She is presently working on unusual, unique house accessories and décor, and hand crafted baubles to ready herself for an entry into the Philadelphia Arts and Craft Show. 

Lorraine has also turned her artistic expression into exciting, inviting, three-dimensional spaces. She brought outstanding artistic interpretation and renderings and custom-designed scenery to the Quinlan Scenic Studios and InDepth Studios, Inc., making interior spaces come alive. Her fabricated eloquent artistic prop structures are in many prestigious organizations and museums, including the Academy of Music, the hands-on Please Touch Museum, Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" Museum, Billy Graham Center Museum, and the C’Mon Science Center.

The trend for extreme recycling and reinventing of items and products was and is still going strong. 
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose. 
Lorraine loves giving life to old disused items.

Help her with her translucent flower projects and save your pop and water bottles of any shape and size. The bottle then is no longer just a discarded drinking vessel; the material can be recovered and refashioned into engaging, creative jewelry and household products. 
This crafty, skilled artisan has a passion for her new innovative ideas to stimulate visual thinkers. 
Plastic is fantastic for making beautiful stuff.
Drink it up then drink it in!

Unique Mini Boutique

The Unique Mini Boutique
Owner and Designer · Bristol, Pennsylvania