Frankie Myers is always in motion. She’s reused thousands of pounds of discarded inner tubes, and has also managed to double-purpose her business’s quirky name. “Alien Menace” is derived from an old Dr. Who episode where the Brigadier says to the Doctor, “Just once I’d like to meet an alien menace who wasn’t immune to bullets.’
“So basically, the Alien is me,” Myers explains. “And ‘Menace’ is because before I had a studio” — it’s on Haywood Road in West Asheville, where the noise of Interstate 240 mixes with a rock soundtrack and stacks of materials — “all of this was in my living room, and my poor roommates and my poor kids had to deal with [it].” She even morphs the concept into a verb: Myers has held as many as six jobs while “menacing,” and was finally able to go full time last May.
The moniker also works because, like the original alien menace, her wares are next to indestructible. Her wallets are sealed inside with strips of classic comics and various animated characters (The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Pokémon, etc.). She’s heard stories about them being left on top of cars and magically staying put for the ride, and about pocketbooks that successfully held spilled containers of soup through the course of a first date.
She’s even personalized her industrial sewing machine, naming it Bessie. Myers touches different stacks of rubber as she chats about the marriage of beauty and utility she loves so much. She uses the curves and imperfections of the tubes and takes joy in the different textures and patterns of a tractor tube. And she’s always experimenting with new and useful creations. Among them are belts, flowerpots, zippered sketchbook covers, and even an insulated beer-growler bag.
Her slogan, affixed at sightline in her studio, is “saving the world, one inner tube at a time.” This motto has guided her work from the beginning, when she noticed a stack of tubes at her local garage, bound for the landfill. She promptly asked if she could have them. “I’m really passionate about reusing before you recycle,” she says, distinguishing terms that sometimes get muddled. “To me, the best way to save this beautiful Earth that we’re living on is to reuse stuff as much as you can.”
Alien Menace, 474 Haywood Road, West Asheville. Frankie Myers sells her products in downtown Asheville on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Grove Arcade Outdoor Artists Market and on Saturday at Ooh La La Curiosity Market in Pritchard Park. For more information, call 828-252-4773 or see alienmenace.net.