SPOTTED – PLANE – luggage made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles on Kickstarter…

We think it is pretty safe to say that Kickstarter has dramatically changed the way products are marketed and manufactured. If there is any place to see the cutting edge in product launches, it is here. And we were delighted to see the new product line from Plane Industries go live – PLANE – a series of accessories made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles.

PLANE phone sleeve

Mostly destined for landfill, aeroplane seating textiles that have been removed are by their very nature, hardwearing, with many years of use often left in each section. So, Plane Industries have decided to recover this waste material and reinvent it into luxury travel goods, from phone covers to weekend bags.

PLANE products

The pieces are well designed and look well made, using quality fixings and secondary materials, with a quilted cross hatch pattern reminiscent of other high-end pieces of luggage. Available in blue plain / striped colourways, the products mean business. Luxury reinvented, they say, but luxury in a different way…

PLANE quote

Hear hear. But what we particularly like about the range is the attention to detail, along with the emphasis on stories and history. Each item gets stamped with the fingerprint of the material – the heights reached, the miles travelled. Things that take the piece from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and things that help to identify the product as something far more special than a mass produced item.

PLANE label

When using ‘waste’ materials, it is critical that these stories are communicated from the maker to the eventual product owner. We like things that have history, yet we are conditioned to think that ‘waste’ is worthless. And whilst using reclaimed materials is critical as our resources continue to deplete, costs are often higher, meaning that we need to connect waste with a higher standard of product. This is no mean feat, but those that do it well, do it very well indeed. The PLANE range of products certainly does this well.

PLANE messenger bag

To top it all? Plane Industries will also stamp your initials on the tag. Personalisation, ownership, emotional attachment – meaning love, care and a long product life…


Head over to the PLANE main site, and check our their Kickstarter page (till August 11th 2016), where you can pledge for something special.

(images via the PLANE Kickstarter)

SPOTTED – city waste recycled into notebooks by Barcelona Paper…

As we mentioned last week, we took a little trip recently to the rather glorious city of Barcelona, where we spied some fantastic products made from the waste of the city. Last Thursday we looked at the recycled banner wallets and bags of Vaho, and today we are looking at Barcelona Paper, who (aptly) create gorgeous little utility styled notebooks from recycled paper.

Created by a group of ‘professionals from the paper world (manufacturers, printers, bookbinders and creatives)  who are worried about the environment’, Barcelona Paper works in collaboration with the city council in Barcelona to capture and reprocess the waste paper into new products. 

With around 3 million people living and working in Barcelona (plus the tourists – like us), that is a stack of paper waiting to be reutilised. And with each of the products in the Barcelona Paper range being guaranteed to be 100% recycled and created from the city waste you know that you are helping to create a dent by purchasing one of the notebooks.

We could not think of better gifts to bring back for people. 

Coming in a range of different sizes and formats, the range is also available with both plain kraft and bright over printed covers in block colour or typographic patterns. Plus, they are pretty reasonable too – ranging from about €4 upwards.

So – visiting Barcelona? Hunt out the Barcelona Paper range in the Tourist Information centres, paper shops and artisan design shops. A great purchase to support a great initiative.

(images by claire potter and Barcelona Paper)

SPOTTED – reclaimed vinyl banner products by Vaho…

Last weekend, when the UK was imploding from the shock of Brexit, we were very pleased to be elsewhere – watching the events unfold from the sunny climes of Barcelona. And whilst we were there, we found a stack of innovative companies who are channelling the cities waste into new products. First up is Vaho, who use reclaimed vinyl banners as their base material.

In a similar way to Swiss company Freitag, who convert truck tarps into new accessories, Barcelona based Vaho take the advertising banners that proliferate through the vast city and convert them into bags, wallets, belts and cases – with each one being unique. Their tag line of ‘Trashion Bags handmade in Barcelona’ says it all.

Of course, the key factors of the vinyl banners are durability (strength and waterproofness) with the ability to print good images on the material, but despite their ephemeral nature when used for advertising a date specific event, they are notoriously hard to recycle. With metal eyelets and other co-mingled materials, the banners are often consigned to landfill.

But the bright colours they have, combined with their durability make them perfect for use in every day accessories. You don’t want your stuff getting wet, after all.

So it was with delight that we spotted a Vaho outlet store tucked away in the gothic quarter of Barcelona.

Vaho wallet 1

The first dilemma was to choose the shape we fancied – with a number of different configurations, zips, pockets and sizes available, the large array of accessories was mind boggling. And once you had chosen your model, you then had to choose your colour combination…

Some were quite plain, some had text, some referenced Barcelona landmarks and events, some were completely abstract. It took ages.

vaho wallet 2

But really, this is part of the charm. It was great to find a product that we could take home as a memento of our visit that was not only useful, but was made by hand in the city directly from the waste material generated advertising things to tourists like us. A sort of self fulfilling product purchase, but hey. We know this wallet will last for a very, very long time.

(images by claire potter and Vaho)

***new series*** Monday Makers – Frances Bradley…

We are very excited to be starting a BRAND new series on the blog today: Monday Makers. Every week we will feature a maker whose work we admire and ask them to shed a little light on their process, their products and what drives them.

Starting us on the series is the fantastic Frances Bradley, who we met at Clerkenwell Design Week this year…


showtable icon

Hi Frances – please tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m based in a small village just outside Northampton and have been making various things since 2011, though have only been designing as Frances Bradley for 2 years.

Initially, I started out working on a landfill site (I have an Environmental Degree) and started upcycling and making items out of some reclaimed wood as I hate unnecessary waste. It expanded from tables out of the cable reels from the nearby M1 widening to using more natural looking boards and now I design new objects rather than refurbish old ones.

I’ve carried the ideas of minimal waste and sustainable sourcing forward as an ethos for my designs and now spend a lot of time sourcing unusual natural live edge boards taken from local trees as a by-product of Northamptonshire’s tree surgeons, I like that each piece also comes with a story. I then start with the wood in front of me and design outwards from there to form material led design.

My curve bench is a good example of this; a single board of wood went into the workshop before the design was finalised on site. It was cut, mitred and the ends curved so the whole board looks bent with nearly zero wasteage (only a few shavings!).

What do you make?

Furiture and homewares using natural wood and a blend of traditional woodworking and contemporary materials.

What is your favourite piece/thing you create, and why?

Our resin tables; it’s taken two years, starting with infilling natural holes in boards and a few failures along the way to get to the final river design. Using modern materials in a contemporary piece initially looks a long way from sustainable design but actually it arose out of a desire to reduce waste.

The live edges of a board are usually cut off as they’re non uniform and hard to use, but it’s wasteful. So these edges are placed together and the gap filled with resin to create a solid useable table top. They’re also made from boards from a local sawmill, a two man band who buy local trees which have been cut down where the tree would otherwise be chipped and saw and dry them for useable timber-it’s a really quirky cottage industry and as a result, the individual tree that a table has come from can be pinpointed.

Resin river icon

 

What inspires you?

I’m a very visual person so I use both Pinterest ,  Instagram as mood boards for items and designers who inspire me. Sometimes though, it can simply be an interesting material such as Jesmonite (a chameleonic Gypsum based material usually used as a stone replacement) which I’m currently experimenting with to a find a new way of using the material in furniture.

What is your favourite place?

I was initially going to pick Cyprus where I spent my childhood, but actually where I live now just south of Northamptonshire though considered boring and non-descript by a lot of people is actually a really interesting place. It doesn’t have impressive mountains or beaches, but there are a quite a lot of lovely little known spots really close by; an ancient bluebell wood, beautiful reservoir and a few lesser known country houses, some ruins to explore and a lot of pretty rolling countryside.

It’s also well connected and quite easy to get to most places from here (e.g. London is only 50 mins) but there are also a lot of small businesses in the area so it’s possible to find someone to make nearly anything within a small radius.

Ok – you are the ruler of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in?

Madatory reduction/reuse of plastics worldwide which requires developed countries to support developing countries and lead the way with new technologies.bench icon

What is your studio motto?

Material led design

Where can we see you next?

London Design Fair –at Tent London in September.



Thank you Frances – check out the studio website and Not on the High Street to see more and keep you eyes peeled for the next instalment in our new Monday Makers series. Next Monday. Of course.

(images courtesy of Frances Bradley)

Join us on World Oceans Day…

Today – June 8th – is World Oceans Day – a day where we can all come together and pledge to do something fantastic for our oceans, beaches, marine life and coastal regions. It is something that is very close to our hearts and has driven our studio product and material research for a good couple of years. We showed the first round of our creations at Clerkenwell Design Week this year – from a chandelier created with the World Cetacean Alliance to concept products and jewellery made from beach cleans with Surfers Against Sewage and Parley.

And we have only just got started. As they say – watch this space…

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

PS – want to get your hands on some of the stuff we’ve been creating recently from marine plastic? Look out for a little giveaway comp we will be running on Twitter and Instagram today too!

World Oceans Day marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8So – will you join us and create a pledge for World Oceans Day? Take a look below for how to get involved…

(video by claire potter design – graphics by World Oceans Day)

Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 and May wrap up…

There is little saying which states ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Well, that is May for us. And we made it. With Artists Open Houses each weekend, regular studio work and teaching, May is always rammed, but we decided to pile on the pressure and add on our very first appearance at Clerkenwell Design Week too. Why not.

And it was fantastic. 

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 6

We were based in the old police holding cells of the House of Detention for Platform – a curated show of ‘up and coming design talent’ which showed a mix of mostly furniture and home related products from a fantastic mix of designers. We were there to show and discuss our ‘Ghost Gear Chandelier’, which we created earlier this year for the World Cetacean Alliance and other products which were borne from the plastic related litter we recovered during our Big Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 2

Utilising the Parley A.I.R. principle, (Avoid Intercept Redesign), we created a series of sculptural vessels, woven seat bases and jewellery pieces from waste plastic, netting and rope, which were shown in our little cell alongside the Ghost Gear Chandelier. We had the plastics collected by us and our volunteers on our two hour SAS Big Spring Beach Clean and scattered them in a ‘tide line’ on the sand floor of the cell. We had some beautiful graphics that showed the bubble netting feeding method of the humpback whales and the issues with marine plastic.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 1

We were ready for people to visit and talk to us about the issues with plastic waste, and how, as designers, we sit on the forefront of the battle lines not only with the materials we specify, but utilising stuff at the ‘end of life’. What took us rather by surprise was the incredible response we had to the pieces – from tears of sadness to enquiries of how large we could make a similar piece – ‘would you be able to make it large enough for a hotel lobby…?’ Er, yes. Our base material is, unfortunately, far too easy to source.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 3
remember that 25kg rope we recovered in Hove? 7.5 hours untangling later and some of it becomes a woven seat base…

We could make these chandeliers anywhere in the world – possibly the most depressing product plan we have had to date.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 7

But this was the point. We were there to open peoples eyes to the issues. Make them think. Make them notice stuff. Pick up a few bits when they were on the beach. Refuse that plastic straw. And from the responses we got – from joy, hugs, business cards and emails, to tears and shamed silence – we certainly reached people.

This is why we design.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

And as the three days whizzed by, we found that people were asking what we were going to do next with the project. What were we going to show at Clerkenwell Design Week next year? When could they buy the stuff on show? How could they stay in touch – and how could they help?

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8

Well, we think we have found our calling. Expect to see a deeper level of research and a deeper amount of transformation of marine litter into new products at Clerkenwell Design Week next year, hopefully working more with our great partners this year – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance – plus others we have already chatted to…

We truly believe that designers have a great power and great responsibility and need to use it for good. Just like Spiderman, or maybe in our case Aquaman.

Thank you to everyone who visited us. Thank you to our awesome partners – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance. Thank you to Monty Hubble who allowed us to use his drone imagery of humpbacks bubble netting in our info section. And thank you to Clerkenwell Design Week for inviting us to exhibit what is quite a left field thing (and asking us back next year). See you at Clerkenwell next year, and keep an eye on the blog to see how things are developing in the meantime…

(images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – Tauko Design – using reclaimed textiles in new, utilitarian fashion…

Fashion is often heralded as one of the biggest bad boys when it comes to wastefulness and a huge turnover of raw materials – telling us daily that the new thing is the best thing. Fashion moves quickly. The waste clothes soon follow. But not all fashion is created this way, and we were really interested to discover Finnish brand Tauko Design, who use reclaimed textiles in their collections.

Tauko design 3

Based on waste textiles from the service sector, Tauko Design takes lots of sheets (often waste from hospitals), dyes them in vibrant colours and completely transforms them into new items.

Tauko design 4

“In our creations, we show the minimalism of the Nordic design tradition as well as the coolness of the Finnish landscape. There is always a hint of Baltic humor in our garments; small colorful details that give them a unique edge. We love big pockets and guarantee that the clothes won’t limit anyone from biking, running, dancing or just having a rest. 
Each of our designs were made with passion and commitment, always keeping in mind to make them work for diverse occasions and various body types.
We want to keep it classy, yet make the day a brighter one!”

Tauko design 2

What is really interesting is that the intro quote from Tauko says absolutely nothing about reclamation, recycling or reuse. It’s just part of what they do.

Tauko design 1

Many people have a preconception that ‘sustainable fashion’ has a particular ‘look’. Hair shirt and sandals is the phrase that we often coin for this kind of preconception – that all sustainable products are somehow stuck in the 1970’s. But of course, sustainable fashion can be anything but. We are totally in love not only with the ethos of Tauko, but their stunning designs too.

Take a look at Tauko Design’s main website to see the full range of their stunning garments…

(all images via Tauko Design)

SPOTTED – Precious Plastic…

Plastic. We speak about it a lot here on the Ecospot, which, for an eco design blog may first appear a bit odd. But it is one of the most prevalent materials on our planet, reaches to every corner of the globe, and despite being mostly derived from oil, is considered cheap and throwaway. It is possibly one of our biggest material and design challenges we have. So, our studio research is based around plastic a great deal, especially marine plastic. Plastic is precious and should not be a throwaway material – so we were really excited to see Precious Plastic launched by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens last week…

precious plastic logo

The culmination of over two years work, Precious Plastic aims to rethink our personal connections with the recycling of plastic. We are all very used to sticking plastic in our recycling bins and allowing our local authorities ship it on to recycling and reprocessing specialists, but we don’t do anything with it ourselves. We are divorced from the recycling process.

Exploring exotic waste

But instead of seeing plastic as ‘waste’ we could be thinking about it as a material ripe for recovery and reprocessing into new things. And let’s be honest, plastic waste is something we see floating around our streets and in our oceans no matter where we live. We certainly do not have a shortage of raw materials.

So what is Precious Plastic? Basically, Hakkens has designed a set of four, open source machines that mimic the types of large processing machinery used in plastic production but that use pieces of stuff that you can, again, find anywhere on the planet. Bits of old oven, old metal scraps, generic pieces that can be adapted to what you have.

Starting with a shredder to process your plastic, the three remaining machines allow you to DIY injection mould, extrude and compress your raw plastic to create a range of new forms. All open source with downloadable plans.

But as well as being a DIY project, Hakkens suggests that you could even set up your own mini design and make workshop using the system using recovered plastic and even ask people to bring their plastic to you, which you could repay with money or products.

As well as the hands-on and open source element of this project, we love the fact that Precious Plastic is exactly that – communicating the fact that this ‘throwaway material’ is everything but. It is precious and has a value. Imagine a world where all our waste had a value. That would be the first step towards a circular economy for sure.

Head over to Precious Plastic to learn more about the project, look at the videos, share the story and get involved.

(all images / videos via Precious Plastic)

CPD project update – the Preston Circus Planter…

We have been working on this project for a little while now – a new external planter for the landscaped area outside the Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton, and this week, we finally saw it jump out of our screens.

Preston Circus Pocket Square NEW SCHEME small

Based on the huge amount of converging lines that meet up in this part of Brighton, the new planter has been commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council to replace an old, defunct standard structure. The geometric shape that has emerged from the road lines on the plan has now been built locally from 20mm steel which will be galvanised for durability. The external faces are due to be clad in reclaimed decking from the Palace Pier in Brighton and are being bolted to the frame to ensure that each piece can be replaced if required.

Iron Designs planter image 2

The planting will be a selection of hardy perennial and the whole piece is set to be installed in the next month or so. We will keep you updated on the progress…

SPOTTED – the marine plastic art print being launched by IKEA…

It appears to be IKEA week here on the blog, but there were two launches that particularly caught our eye. Yesterday we were looking at the new indoor gardening kit being launched by the global behemoth, today we are looking at their Art Event 2016 – and one particular print and artist in particular that uses marine plastic…

IKEA marine plastic print Mandy Barker 2

Mandy Barker is a photographer based in Leeds who, like us, has become obsessed with the masses of plastic based marine litter that is accumulating in our global oceans. Her photographic print for IKEA features marine plastic recovered from across the world, brought together into one, circular mass.

IKEA marine plastic print Mandy Barker

“It gives the impression of a universe, an almost hidden world under the sea, using the accumulation of plastic debris you find there.”

We find this a really poignant choice for IKEA. Whilst they do have a forward thinking sustainability policy their use of plastic in their products is incredibly well known. Sure, plastic means colour and durability, but the cheap cost of the products on the shelves do not scream of a product to be kept and cherished long term. Were there any IKEA derived marine plastics in the image we wonder.

Of course, once a product has left the stores it is up to us what happens to it – we hold the responsibility as the users, but even still, we think this marine plastic print by Mandy Barker speaks volumes.

Is this IKEA facing the responsibility for the impact of it’s products through it’s prints? Who knows.

But if this marine plastic print raises more of an awareness of this huge global issue, then that can only be good. We may even get one ourselves for the studio.

(images and video by IKEA)

our Ghost Gear Chandelier for the World Cetacean Alliance pt4…

Since December 2015, we have been working on a very lovely project for the World Cetacean Alliance, as part of a group of artists and designers responding to their ‘Untangled’ brief – a project to highlight the hugely destructive issues with ghost gear. This abandoned, discarded or lost netting, rope and filament floats about our oceans across the globe, maiming and killing marine life of all sizes, and as it is usually plastic based, the material never truly degrades.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 13

So, we have been collecting Ghost Gear from the beaches of Brighton, to create what we dubbed our Ghost Gear Chandelier – a large bubble formed light that was inspired by the ‘bubble netting’ hunting technique of some humpback whales.

Netting was found, washed, dried, washed again, washed a third time, dried again and then shredded and put into clear plastic bubbles…

Ghost Gear Chandelier 9

And now the Ghost Gear Chandelier is done.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 3

Ghost Gear Chandelier 1

The Chandelier uses a salvaged bike wheel for the main ring, with a variety of Ghost Gear filled bubbles hanging in a cascade of blues, greens and oranges.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 10 Ghost Gear Chandelier 4

The central point of light is a huge clear ball eco-filament light from Factorylux, connected to a bright blue fabric cable flex and wall plug. Hanging from chains at a height of around 1600mm, the Ghost Gear Chandelier is quite a statement- and we are delighted with it.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 7Ghost Gear Chandelier 14Ghost Gear Chandelier 5

So what now for the light? Well, as part of the Untangled project by the World Cetacean Alliance, each piece of work created by the designers and artists taking part will be auctioned off to raise funds for the issues raised by ghost gear – which includes our Ghost Gear Chandelier. Watch this space for details on the auction and also, keep your eyes peeled for our little film, which will show the making of the Ghost Gear Chandelier…

(all images by claire potter)

Mafia Bags – from Sails to Bags…

As our materials get increasingly more robust, intelligent and indeed, man made, we have a bit of a double edged sword. In many respects, the newer ‘engineered’ materials often have a longer usable life, but unlike more natural materials, they are often hard or impossible to repair or recycle. Then we have an issue with a waste material. As we move towards a more circular based economy, it is essential that we find uses for these materials that would otherwise become landfill or incinerator fodder. Why waste something that can be reused? This is exactly the ethos of Mafia Bags.

Mafia Bags 3

Based in San Francisco, Mafia take the discarded and defunct windsurf, kiting and boating sails that have reached the end of their water based lives and transform them into functional and practical bags (very much like studio favourites Freitag do with truck tarps).

Mafia Bags 2

The resulting pieces are not only functional and make excellent use of a ‘waste’ material, they are completely individual. Nobody else will have the same configuration of materials as you in your bag. In a world of supposed sterile homogeneity of brands, we certainly celebrate this individuality too.

With a good selection of styles, colours and sizes, there is a bag for any occasion. Duffel bags to laptop covers, and very nice new additions to the Discover Backpack range. See one you love? Grab it before it is gone. It will be the only one. (race you all to the one below)

Mafia Bags 1

Got a sail yourself? You can donate it to Mafia and let them know what you would like it to be made into. And if you have a Mafia bag, they will repair it or replace it if it fails – for life – and for free. This is in the same vein as the Patagonia Repair Your Gear programme, where technicians will repair your beloved apparel so you can use it for longer.

mafia bags 4

This is what we need in brands. We need brands like Mafia and Patagonia who do not just want to sell to us, but believe so strongly in their products that they are willing to help us keep them, and love them longer.

Reusing waste material is an excellent start – keeping that second-life product in use is the future. 

(images via Mafia)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt 3

Things are coming together for our Untangled Project – the Ghost Gear Chandelier which we are creating for the World Cetacean Alliance – which will be exhibited alongside the work of other artists and designers very soon. So – how have we been progressing? We have been sorting and washing our netting…World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 2World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 3 World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 4

And with our ghost gear netting colour sorted, and through four water changes to get rid of the grit and smell, we turned our attention to the hardwear element of our Ghost Gear Chandelier…

We are massive fans of Factorylux – and use their stuff in many of our projects (including our own Studio Loo) as the gorgeous coloured fabric cable, fixtures and fittings they produce are exceptional quality, and it was not long until we had decided on a bright blue lighting flex and antique brass lamp holders. The bulb – one of Factorylux’s stunning eco filament bulbs will be revealed soon as we start to build our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear lighting hardwear

Watch this space!

(images by claire potter)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt2

Earlier this week we introduced the Untangled Project we are currently working on for the World Cetacean Alliance – taking washed up fishing netting known as ‘ghost gear’ from the beaches of the UK and highlighting this as a global issue by creating something from the waste. As part of a troop of designers and artists, each piece that is currently being created will be first exhibited in London, before being auctioned off, raising funds for the World Cetacean Alliance.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 8

And today, we can officially reveal glimpses of what we are designing and making… the Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear concept detail

We started by looking at the hunting behaviour of the whale given to us in our brief – the Humpback – and we discovered that some groups have learnt to collaboratively hunt using a technique called ‘bubble netting’. This highly developed form of hunting requires each whale to play their part – first, one individual locates the shoal of fish and swims beneath them, circling them from below whilst blowing bubbles and surrounding them with a confusing ‘net’ of bubbling water. The fish get disorientated by these bubbles and bundle together, allowing the group of whales who have been communicating by song to rise from the deep together and scoop the fish into their mouths. We became fascinated by this as a behaviour.

claire potter  design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear conceptSo, taking the concept from the ghost gear baubles we created at Christmas, we are scaling up the design to create a large (and we are not sure exactly how large yet) chandelier, made from clear bubbles filled with cleaned, shredded and colour coded ghost gear netting… and whilst this concept is linked to the undeniably beautiful bubble netting behaviour of some humpbacks, the fact that ghost netting is regularly eaten by mistake cannot be ignored.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 7 We are hoping that this light will talk about both humpbacks and ghost netting on many levels.

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 6

Watch this space for more info on the Ghost Gear Chandelier, as we start to mock up the design in the next week, and don’t forget to head to the Creations for Cetaceans Facebook page that has been set up by the World Cetacean Alliance and will be showcasing the other projects as they develop…

(photos by claire potter)

welcome to 2016 – and the Local, Handmade and Secondhand consumer challenge…

Welcome to 2016. After a couple of weeks of recapping the best posts from 2015, and enjoying the wonderfulness of the festive season we have come back to the studio full of beans and observations and fired up for a new year. We will reveal some of these observations (which will likely turn into projects) in the coming weeks, but today we are sharing our first – the LHS challenge, or the Local, Handmade and Secondhand consumer challenge.

local handmade secondhand challenge jan 16

So what sparked this? Well, as committed hunters of all things wonderful and secondhand, our family came up with a set of rules for Christmas. We could only spend £10 (ish) per person – and we had to buy things for each other that were locally made, were handmade (by the giver of the gift) or were secondhand. Despite some grumbles from the non-charity shop shoppers in the clan, the LHS challenge was set. And it went down marvellously.

ethical consumer 6

From homebrewed drinks to handcrafted chocolates, secondhand woolly jumpers that would have cost a small fortune new, beautifully worn leather bags and even a complete 1950’s picnic basket, we did really well. And what was interesting is that each gift was a perfect fit with the person. Personality came out in the creation of the present and each one was thoughtfully selected instead of hurriedly bought.

ethical consumer 5

For those not used to consuming in this way, the charity shops of the nation were a revelation. New stuff does not always mean great stuff in the same way that secondhand stuff means second rate stuff. We swapped stories of how stuff was found, where, the conversations we had in the shops with the volunteers, their responses to our challenge – and the thrill we got from finding that *perfect* thing.

ethical consumer 7

Many of the family vowed to shop more in charity shops this year…

And so – we are setting up the LHS (Locally made, Handmade, Secondhand) consumer challenge to ourselves this year – buying as much as we can locally, or stuff that is handmade by real people (including us), or stuff that is secondhand and with a story to tell. A different type of consuming. Consuming but caring too.

So – want to join us on our challenge? Tweet us your picks to @clairepotter and hashtag it #LHSconsumer and let’s see what we can find! Let’s challenge the way we buy stuff in the next year – and be proud of our makes, repairs and secondhand stuff.

(all pictures of stuff we have bought previously in our unofficial LHS consuming!)