Well. January has been and (almost) gone, but has certainly been eventful. The world as we know it has been turned upside down, with global turmoil and global uncertainty. And it can be really easy to lose heart. To become disillusioned and to become resigned to the fact that this is the way things are going to be from now on.
But this is not the way it has to be.
Every few weeks or so, we re-do the studio window, with new ideas, new creations or new displays. In January, we came back from the break feeling that we had to do something. We had to be part of something that stood up and said No. We are all better than this.
So, perhaps because we went to watch Star Wars: Rebel One, the rebellion was very much in our minds when we came to redoing the studio window.
Resistance means Hope. Says it all really. Do not sit and despair. Stand up, join up and be hopeful.
Ever wondered what edible things you walk past each day in Brighton and Hove? Not sure how to spot them or what to do with them? Well, for another of post free gift options in our Eco Gift Guide, we are shamelessly plugging one of our own events, but it will be a cracker! Join us for an introduction to foraging and a few top tips of where to find useful things, culminating in a HUGELY popular foraged cocktail making session using flavours gathered from the city of Brighton itself…
This special event led by Claire Potter (claire potter design) is part of the immersive experience at Patterns Bar, Brighton. Step through a transformed mystical entrance, and discover an enchanted forest filled with nostalgic treats and immersive visual feasts inspired by Britain’s woodlands and the wild outdoors in Winter.
The ground floor bar will be transformed into a winter wonderland reminiscent of scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia, brought to life by a multi-level digitally projected and interlinked forest, complete with softly falling snowflakes, inquisitive wild animals and scents of the forest air. Inside, you’ll find festive treats such a boozy hot chocolate menu and Hot Buttered Rum to enjoy as you watch a flock of birds fly around the room or a snow fox dart in front of you. Imagine watching the sunset from a discarded Chesterfield in Narnia with a warming cocktail in hand, dancing amongst the swirling snow in the glow of a Victorian lamppost and you will be half way to Woodlandia.
Claire will be leading a talk and discussion around urban foraging, but the best bit is that there will be a foraged cocktail workshop in the second half of the workshop – hands on making and sampling too!
Plus, as it is in February, the post Christmas and New Year detox will be over. The lovely cocktails we will be making use the very best of the new sprouts and shoots of the season, and as local as you can probably ever get…
It has been said that we should be gifting experiences instead of stuff to be truly sustainable. Of course, it really does depend on what type of experience you gift, but sharing something special with a loved one will give the gift of precious memories, shared experiences and perhaps even a new skill. It could be something outdoors, something indoors, something to make you think or something to make you smile. So, for day 18 on our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen an experience close to us – tickets to volume 26 of Pecha Kucha Brighton…
Literally meaning ‘chit chat’ in Japanese, the Pecha Kucha format was dreamt up in 2003 by Tokyo based architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham who had had enough of watching long, tedious presentations by other architects. With just 20 slides and each slide being present for just 20 seconds, the 6 minute 40 seconds format was short, sweet and swallowable, and Pecha Kucha was born. There are now PK licence holders all over the world, replicating the format in cities across the globe.
The Brighton license is now held by Alex Leith (Viva magazine) and Zara Wood (aka Woody the illustrator and graphic designer), who present the Pecha Kucha nights every two or three months, each with a different theme. They are nights of great inspiration.
Claire has presented twice at Pecha Kucha nights in Brighton, under the themes of ‘studio’, ‘good grub’ (talking about urban foraging) and will also be presenting at the next volume of PK – under the theme of ‘RE’ on January 25th 2017. Expect people talking about REvolution, REcycling, REuse, REbellion, REsponsibilities and many other things starting with RE. It’ll be REally good. (sorry)
So why not think about popping along? Tickets are available from here and early bird options are just a fiver a piece, so will not break the bank and would be a great stocking filler. Give the gift of an experience, with a difference.
Designing something with a ‘waste’ material makes perfect sense – especially if that material is already into it’s second life. Keeping materials at their highest possible quality is key to the success of the circular economy – and also recognising what the material strengths are. So, bags and accessories made from truck tarpaulins? Perfect sense. It’s day 6 of our Eco Gift Guide and today we are choosing the lovely stuff of M-24 bags…
With a great range of backpacks, messenger bags, wallets and accessories, M-24 create one off pieces from recovered UK truck tarpaulins that harness the very qualities a truck tarp has – strong, bright, waterproof.
This means that each product is an individual thing – a term that M-24 have dubbed ‘anti-lemmingism’. We all want to be seen as individuals, but unless we have the ability to make our own stuff, this is a better option than the mass produced, cheaply made, high mark-up alternatives on the market.
Plus, by not supplying retailers, but making their products available only through their website, pop-ups and their brand spanking new flagship store in Brighton, they are able to keep their prices very reasonable indeed as the retailer mark-up is eliminated. This also means that the cost of the high level finish and manufacturing techniques undertaken in the UK is feasible and products are available from just £5 for a keychain.
A great business model – and great products. Perfect for someone who needs their luggage to be robust and trustworthy, waterproof and individual. And what could be better than telling someone their Christmas pressie has been made in the UK and it is the ONLY one in the world?
Yes – that is right! You can now find our Brighton Architectural notebooks in the beautiful home store, Homage, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton.
Packed up in mixed threes, you can get a set of A6 notebooks made from 100% recycled paper, printed in Sussex with images of iconic pieces of Brighton Architecture – the Pavilion, the Palace Pier and our beloved West Pier.
And check out the beautiful pieces they have in the store – from hand thrown utilitarian ceramic mugs to wide toothed combs, scented candles and hanging glass planters. We are delighted to be in such a lovely store. Go and say hi to Mark and Liza at Homage and check them out in their online store – www.homageonline.co.uk
There always has to be hope. This photo was taken on our recent beach clean for Surfers Against Sewage – a lovely shot looking out to sea over freshly cleaned beaches and the new offshore wind farm that is being developed in the channel off Brighton. We need to work together to make this world better. We need to have hope to make that happen…
The Autumn Beach Clean Series from Surfers Against Sewage, running across the UK throughout the whole of this week will see over 250 beach cleans completed by thousands of volunteers – taking marine litter off our coasts and into our recycling systems.
In Brighton and Hove this year we have 5 beach cleans in the diary, and we led the second of the two cleans yesterday from 12-3pm, which was attended by a group of people on their lunch breaks, people passing by and people who just want to see a cleaner beach.
Even though the temperature has cooled and we are very much out of the main tourist season here in Brighton, there were the usual suspects in our beach clean. Cans, straws, food packaging and of course, single use plastic bottles. Each recyclable element was stripped out of the 12 bags of collected rubbish and sorted to allow them to get back into our recycled material stream.
But, as with all beach cleans, there were also a few interesting pieces to be seen. A large chunk of cement and rope (that was actually collected from the beach by my dad!) had a bit of an appearance of a heart, or an angel fish, plus we also collected some pieces of aquarium plastic foliage (oh the irony) and even a bright yellow walrus.
At the end of the clean we all tucked into specially iced Surfers Against Sewage chocolate chip cookies and spoke to the many passers by about the issues. One of our volunteers exclaimed that it was not rocket science – you just walked and picked stuff up… the passers by agreed and many took a small bag to do their own mini beach clean as they walked.
We look forward to reporting the statistics from all the Autumn Beach Clean Series this year – how many tons of rubbish will be removed – and how many single use plastic bottles were recovered. If we had a deposit scheme for plastic we are sure that there would be infinitely less… *
(images by claire potter)
*want to join the campaign calling for a deposit return scheme on single use plastic bottled? Check out the SAS Message In a Bottle campaign here…
It’s finally here! From 24th – 30th October, at beaches all across the UK, the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series will be mobilising thousands of volunteers at over 250 venues to clean up the scourge that is marine litter – and particularly plastic, which remains in the environment indefinitely…
Here in Brighton and Hove, we have a fantastic 5 cleans taking place, starting on Saturday 22nd October and running till Sunday 30th October, with a huge bumper beach clean and party courtesy of the English Disco Lovers at Hove Lawns.
As Claire is one of three new volunteer Regional Reps for SAS in Brighton and Hove, we will be running the beach clean on Monday 24th October from 12-3pm, starting at the beach behind the King Alfred in Hove.
So – come along! Pop in for 10 minutes or three hours – whatever you can manage, and help on a beach clean to spread the word about marine litter. And if you’re not in the Brighton and Hove area do not despair – check the main Surfers Against Sewage Events page to find a clean near you…
Well, the summer has rocketed by, and we can’t believe that our last guided foraging walk of the year will be this Sunday. Starting at a location just outside the centre of Brighton, you can join us for a 2 hour or so foraging walk, where we will point out the 20 or so different things that you can eat (or really should not be touching!). Things that you will recognise and lots that you will not, this walk will equip you with the basics of urban foraging, including the rules you need to adhere by.
Finished off with a little drink at the end, the walk starts and ends in two Brighton parks, with some street foraging in the middle… Kids are welcome (and go free with an adult too).
There are only a few tickets left for this walk, so if you fancy it – here is the link to our Eventbrite page… We hope to see you there!
A very quick post for the weekend – we are delighted to announce that Claire is to be one of new Regional Reps appointed by Surfers Against Sewage and will be covering the Brighton and Hove area! With the studio specialism and obsession with marine litter, the link up with Surfers Against Sewage is great – and will allow us to do even more with beach cleans and research to protect our beloved oceans.
There is nothing like a deadline. And yesterday evening, the end of July was the deadline for entries into the Parley x Adidas contest to win one of the concept pairs of new trainers made from recovered ocean plastic. As you can all imagine, with our studio obsession and work in marine litter (using the Parley AIR principles), these trainers are rather something special. We would LOVE to see a pair, let alone have the chance of having a set in the studio… So, we created a little video about why we think this is important and what we are doing about it and uploaded it to our Instagram account – something we have actually been meaning to do for a while. This contest was the nudge we needed. Our little vid is also a call to action if you will. Just think what we could achieve if we all work together…
Last Saturday, we were out and about again – this time with the World Cetacean Alliance at the March of the Mermaids in Hove, helping them spread the word about ghost gear netting and specifically, what you can do with it. Armed with a raft of experimental pieces of jewellery we created for our exhibit at Clerkenwell Design Week 2016, we were there for the day running making workshops with recovered netting from the beaches of Brighton. With attendees from age 3 upwards, we were busy!
It was great to show everyone the issue up close and actually encourage them to feel the rope and see it as a material resource for new products, rather than something that should be consigned to landfill.
We knotted, weaved, plaited, threaded and combined the synthetic netting with simple jewellery findings and each attendee went away with a few new skills, loads of information and a new bracelet or two to help them tell the story to others. It was an encouraging sight.
We also had time to catch up with the great guys and gals that make up the Brighton Etsy team, who have also teamed up with the World Cetacean Alliance to create new pieces inspired by their Untangled project brief. Launched at March of the Mermaids, the pieces range from patches to jewellery again – with a percentages of all the product sales from now until Christmas being donated directly to the World Cetacean Alliance.
And one of them is Lulu – of which I am extremely proud have the very first prototype for. She always gets stacks of attention when I wear her and I’m delighted that I can now direct people to Designosaur’s shop to get their own!
One of the purchases we made was this awesome print as a tote bag by Hello Dodo… just made us smile!
Take a look at their blog here to see all the pieces created by their members for WCA.
So, overall, a great fundraising and awareness raising day at March of the Mermaids for the World Cetacean Alliance – and watch this space for some more very exciting news about our work with WCA soon…!
(images by claire potter and the Brighton Etsy Team)
Come and say hello! All of today we will be with the World Cetacean Alliance at their fundraising March of the Mermaids event on Hove Lawns talking about our research into marine litter and ghost fishing gear and showing you what you can do with it…
With the help of a lovely troop of interns from the World Cetacean Alliance, we will be transforming recovered fishing netting into a variety of jewellery pieces for sale throughout the day, as well as running workshops showing you how to make your own.
Never talk about religion or politics. The standard dinner party etiquette that many adhere to as quite frankly, they are the largest confrontation points we could have in general conversation. Not everyone wants to discuss the finer details of China’s one child policy over a prawn cocktail. And to some point, this is fine, but we live in political times and with the EU referendum coming to a climax, we thought we would state our views. We want to remain in the EU. And we are proudly flying the flags in the window of the studio.
There are many reasons for this, but as our studio concerns are related to circular economy design and marine litter, we can safely say that all things environmental are very much in our life and work ethic. We try to do stuff not better, but best wherever we can – from where our studio energy comes from to the materials we specify on our project. We feel we are a tiny bit of a much larger whole. A global whole.
Because sometimes we think that people forget that we are all spinning on the same planet – regardless what corner we are in, the language we speak or the gods we pray to – if any. Borders can be raised, but planet Earth has her own agenda which flows, heats and cools with no thought to these barriers. From our seas to our air – everything is connected in ways we are only just starting to understand.
And the more we know, the scarier the picture is being painted. We truly believe that we can only begin to tackle the global issues of environmental degradation, extinction, waste and climate change if we work together. In fact, a huge amount of positive environmental regulation and reform has come about from the formation of the EU, let alone the peaceful foundations.
If we leave the EU, we are separating ourselves out at a time we need to be working together on so many huge issues. There is no ‘I’m alright Jack’. Sorry. You won’t be.
Take a choir. You will have an end goal in sight – perhaps a prestigious concert, but at the first rehearsal each voice and part gets some bits right and some bits wrong even if you have the same song sheet. It sounds like a shambles and you can despair, but you try again. It sounds better. You turn to your neighbour who can sing a bit you’re having trouble with and they give you some tips. Next time round, you get that bit right too. So does the person in front of you. Little by little, things come together and before long, the glorious harmonies far outweigh the bum notes. But this only comes with working together. The person that wandered off to rehearse on their own is still bumbling though the tricky passages.
So. We are voting to Remain in the EU, because we want to be better singers in the choir of Planet Earth. Come sing with us.
We are really lucky to live and work in Brighton. We have the sea on one side, the South Downs on the other and the city filling is a mass of creativity and inspiration with some fantastic individuals and organisations doing some brilliant work. One such example, and long standing friend of the studio is Emmaus Brighton and Hove.
Based in the former convent in the Portslade Old Village area of the city, Emmaus Brighton and Hove is the largest Emmaus community in the UK, functioning as a secondhand superstore, cafe, garden shop and so much more – with each former homeless companion living and working on the site in some capacity. It is helping hand – a family – and a wonderful place to visit.
We are always at Emmaus – finding pieces for our projects and clients in the vast rambling areas of the stores, having a cuppa or chatting with the staff and companions. So, it was with delight that we were invited to the special preview of the new Emmaus Emporium…
Situated in a newly refurbished part of the old convent laundry building, the Emporium is the destination for all the donated pieces which are a bit special – vintage, retro and antique. And the space is just fantastic.
The two main display pieces have been created by Simon Bottrell of 7 Creative, who has arranged the donated pieces of furniture in an incredible tower and wall piece of stacked tables, chests and shelves. With multiple display opportunities, the pale grey painted main ‘frames’ are able to accommodate the continually fluctuating donations whilst still remaining interesting and exciting – essential for any space. And the detailing is lovely – legs that appear to punch through tops of tables set below, items that float and even melt into the back wall…
Other display pieces use old ladders, repurposed counters and even a selection of upside down standard lamps – hanging from the centre of the space to give real impact to the room.
It is so fantastic to see the energy behind each of the projects that Emmaus Brighton and Hove creates – constantly staying one step ahead of what you would dream a ‘charity shop’ could be. The Emporium is the latest addition to the collection of shops at Emmaus Brighton and Hove – and a real feather in their secondhand caps.