Fancy a bit of guided foraging in Brighton? join us on our next Urban Foraging walk in Brighton on Sunday 6th September – check out our Eventbrite page for more details here…
A little while ago, when it was announced that the Circus Street area was to be redeveloped, we were a little worried – where would The Wood Store, the fantastic resource of wood for reuse, go? For as long as we could remember, The Wood Store has called this little strip of central Brighton their home, and many a project has seen us heading to the store to find everything from cable reels to scaffold boards and old bits of pier decking. Where would the Wood Store go?
Fear not. As of last weekend, they are now fully moved and settled into their new home on the Preston Barracks site just up the road on the Lewes Road in Brighton. This is another site that has sat unloved in Brighton for many years and I personally remember looking out over onto the old army barracks from the top floor of Mithras House opposite, where I was studying Interior Architecture at the University of Sussex. As young vibrant things we often thought about the fantastic things the large open space and old buildings could become – and now the re-occupation of the space has started, with The Wood Store being one of the first on FIELD, the new development… (who we are also linked up with – watch this space!)
We trotted along on the opening day last weekend to say hello to everyone and have a bit of celebratory marmalade cake (which was marvellous) and check out their new home.
This new Wood Store is housed in one of the old territorial army buildings, and has a lovely large main room where all the wood is neatly stacked and organised – safe from the elements. For frequenters of the old site at Circus Street, this year round dryness will certainly be welcomed.
Old scaffold boards, bits of staircase, sheets of ply, old doors, bespoke furniture made from reclaimed wood – everything is still there, with the familiar faces also there – ready to lend a hand, offer advice and have a good old chat with.
So, do not despair – the Wood Store is alive and kicking – just a bit further north up the road in Brighton!
(images via The Wood Store)
We love discovering new things – especially when they are right here on our doorstep, which is certainly true of the beautiful ceramics from Helen Rebecca Ceramics. Based in Brighton, the works are delicate, yet reminiscent of other vessels, most notably the throwaway takeaway cups that have come to be so ubiquitous in our society.
With the same corrugated exterior as the familiar paper cups, the ceramic cups are glazed in soft whites, browns and grey blues – hinting at their materiality. Creating a ceramic cup in the same form as a throwaway paper cup is certainly an interesting take on our throwaway culture generally, plus, the permanence of the pieces is an interesting reminder to the idea of reuse.
Another set of the ceramics that we fell in love with were these gorgeous ‘Win a fish’ cups’ – cast from polystyrene cups with a fairground style goldfish sitting at the bottom.
The whiteness of these cups does not betray their polystyrene foundations – with the texture of the original cup visible on the new pieces. We love them – especially as the goldfish are also white.
Helen Rebecca Ceramics describes these pieces as ‘memorabilia from litter’, which is an interesting turn of phrase. As litter is something that is by it’s general nature, throw away, these pieces offer a bit of a reminder to the invisible permanence of litter itself. Throwing it ‘away’? Where exactly is ‘away’?
And with every piece of petrochemical based plastic that we have ever made STILL EXISTING somewhere on the earth, it is worth reminding ourselves – convenience for us is not convenience for another species.
But of course – the depth of the narrative of these beautiful ceramic pieces does not need to wheeled out every time you use them. You should use them, again and again, because they are gorgeous and you can.
Plus, they are rather affordable too – at between £10 – £12 per cup. That’s not that many takeaway coffees nowadays…
(images via Helen Rebecca Ceramics Etsy)
Hooray! Only a couple of days to go until our next Urban Foraging event in Brighton and Hove! Starting at the Dyke Road Cafe, we will wind out way through the parks and streets of Brighton and Hove over two hours, identifying the fantastic things that are abundant and edible in our urban hedges. What can you use? When can you use it? How do you use it? We will cover all of this, plus the legal requirements that need to be taken into consideration when foraging…
Join us for a bit of an educating walk, get reconnected with your urban environment and enjoy a bit of a foraged drink at the end.
A perfect way to spend a Sunday morning! Click here to go to our Eventbrite page with all the details…
(image by claire potter design)
Our daily work and studio research is based in many different areas of design, but ultimately, we try and ensure that our work is interesting and ethical. They are the two mainstays of everything we do. Many other adjectives get put in there for each project, but these are the two that stay and without compromise. But, regardless of how we are working, we are very aware that we are still consumers – we are designing things to be made, used, inhabited, enjoyed. We are creators of stuff.
Now, we are pretty proud of the fact that we design and make things and places in the best possible way we can, using responsible materials, recycled materials and ensuring that things can have another life through reuse and disassembly, but it is still stuff.
Which really makes us think.
In our personal lives, we very much live what we preach. Avid collectors of secondhand books, regular trawlers of antique shops and boot fairs and massive fans of charity shops, my own Twitter feed is rammed most weekends with the photos of secondhand stuff I have found and purchased. I love telling people how little a t-shirt cost from an Oxfam, or that my new (old) laptop bag came from Emmaus. I have pride in being a user of secondhand things.
But, as I realised the other day during another clearout of stuff – I am still a massive consumer. Sure, a consumer of hopefully ‘ethical’ things, but a consumer none the less. My house and the studio is full of things that perhaps I do not need, so does the fact that we got it secondhand make it ok to own too much stuff?
Where does the over consumer start and the ethical over consumer end?
This was also something that struck us whilst at the recent Brighton Peace and Environment Centre Carbon Conversation event in Brighton with Cat Fletcher of Freegle. In an ideal world, the good quality, well made goods that are traditionally higher in initial cost would be used, then filter down through services such as Freegle and the charity shops. And this is sometimes the case – I have found the most incredible stuff that would have cost a pretty penny new, in secondhand stores that still had many more years use ahead. If we were able to utilise this kind of quality goods at a price that suited more consumers, then perhaps we would not have to turn to the low cost, low quality high street stalwarts of fashion.
But, this is still consuming. Unless we are truly only buying what we need, then we are part of that all consuming cycle – whether we are buying new, or buying second hand.
So is this a problem? Perhaps. But if more people bought secondhand, then not only would charities benefit, but we would literally be keeping things in the loop. We would be ethical consumers.Equally, when you don’t need something any more – donate it so someone else can benefit. This is the basis of the circular economy, and the more we can keep travelling around the cycle before it is ‘reclaimed’ for fibres or materials, the better…
And so I am making myself a deal. I know that I am an over consumer, despite it being second hand, but I own stuff that I will not use anymore, which is surely worse. Someone could, and should be wearing those clothes and reading those books – and with a bit more space from the things I don’t need, I can refill the shelves with second hand treasures that I will…
(images by claire potter – all bought second hand…)
We have been pretty busy on the foraging front this year – mostly running foraging walks for other lovely people in the city, but we have had so many people ask us whether we are running any more, we are!
Up now are full details of our Urban Foraging walk in Brighton on 2nd August… Ever wondered what you walk past each day which you could add into to your daily diet? Ever wondered what this whole urban foraging thing is about, where it has come from and what you can actually do with that random looking leaf? Well, during our 2 hour intro walk, we will help guide you through the laws and pitfalls of foraging and help you identify up to 20 things that are abundant and actually rather delicious in the city. Finishing off with a little drink at the end, this introductory foraging walk through the parks and streets of Brighton will give you a taster of what you are missing…
The walk is £10 per person (with kids free) and you can book through our Eventbrite page…
We look forward to seeing you!
(image by claire potter)
Morning all! Welcome to the start of a new week – and we are delighted to announce that we have won another award here on The Ecospot, being listed as the ‘best in upcycling’ category by Surveybee in their 2015 Eco-Chic Blogger Awards.
We are over the moon – thank you everyone!
Today for weekend words we have one of our favourite motto’s here in the studio – because playing is far more fun than working…
(image and photography by claire potter design)
Can you believe it is the LAST of our open weekends this Saturday and Sunday for the Artists Open Houses in Brighton? We have curated a great selection of design, illustrations, graphics and homewares in our little pop up shop for the festival – come and say hello!
We also have the most marvellous organic tea, coffee and really special cake too…