Visit to 8FutureFabricsExpo/Sustainableangle 24-25th January 2019
Victoria House Holborn London
A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
THE FUTURE OF THE TEXTILES INDUSTRY WILL BE DETERMINED BY HOW COLLECTIVELY WE ADDRESS AND PROTECT OUR PLANET'S PRECIOUS RESOURCES.
This is a heading from Textinel who we contacted as part of our ongoing research into the sustainability and ecological production of textiles. We received a reply from Debbie McKeegan CEO of Textinel who has a vast knowledge and is an expert on traditional textiles and the world of digital print and design. Debbie wrote back and suggested Ruth and I visit the 8 Future Fabrics Expo show 24-25th January 2019.Although predominantly geared to the Fashion industry we decided to attend and explore the latest technology and availability of textiles being produced using safe, renewable and responsible practices.
The cold, grey, drizzly day in Holborn was soon left behind when we entered the imposing Victoria House and made our way to the basement which was a hive of activity with hundreds of people and stands displaying a wealth of textiles alongside displays of the latest innovative technology exploring alternative materials to produce fabric. We wandered around, had coffee – always welcome. Our focus was to seek companies which met our criteria. We waded through countless swatches of material, selected and took photographs of any that could possibly be used for our products. A break for lunch at a nearby café was absolutely delicious, a main with choice of salads, right up our street. Suitably energised we returned for a further visit to hone in and record information that could be useful within our business.
As upcyclers of historical furniture we continue to research suitable textiles for our projects. It presents a different criterion to the fashion industry as focus needs also to be on durability and suitability in addition to style, design and colour.
There was a lot to see and we made several connections and engaged in conversations with representatives of big companies – Lenzing, Cocccon amongst them. We were both quite blown away by the products made completely from waste materials but found that there was still considerable focus on the organic and natural sources (trees, fruit and fungi for example) which is great but with the crisis and enormity in relation to waste material there still seems a lot more work to do.
We were particularly interested in this area and there was very limited range of fabrics which we could use on our products. However, Tencel – Lyocell fibres are derived from sustainable wood sources by Lenzing. It may be a way forward as it is currently used for carpets and upholstery. The big question will be to see if what is currently available and prints well digitally.
Thanks go to Debbie McKeegan for her recommendation. It was an intense, but very lively and informative show with a good variety of seminars which were extremely popular and well attended.
Social media continues to be our nemesis but we will not be beaten and continue to rise to its challenges. We console ourselves with viewing it as somewhat of an organic process and there is certainly no lack of commitment. The beginning of our working day most often comprises of admin, research and getting to grips with the ever-changing demands of social media. This can be frustrating and it is often the case of one step forward and two steps back. Onwards and upwards, bring on the coffee!
Having put ourselves through the paces with social media we certainly need to be a bit indulgent and have some fun and get creative. We have both been working on preliminary sketches for our third collection and it is always exciting to see what evolves when we begin combining our imagery. Maps, travel and geographical symbols are at present the main themes for this collection and we have considered creating two strands of design - one from a Western perspective and the other using higher key colours that reflect the colours of the Orient and Eastern cultures. We feel that this will reflect our ever increasing accessibility to far off places and experiences as well as celebrating the wonderful diversity of different cultures.
It is early days and it is always a big adventure having scanned our original images to begin work on a new design. We work closely together, constantly communicating with what we feel works and what doesn't, each making suggestions of how to bring the design together.
Already, we are excited with our preliminary design concepts. What do you think? We always welcome feedback, so if you wish to comment, please send us an email.
It was a wonderful surprise and accolade for the Woodworks Project to be nominated and subsequently awarded the “Creativity for Good Award.” Thanks go to all those involved, both paid staff and the many volunteers who work tirelessly over a 20 year period to develop this successful social enterprise. The recognition received from the local community has been most welcome and uplifting.
A Winners’ Dinner was organised at the County Hotel Bath, where we were greeted at the entrance by a life size painted rather quirky horse – a taste of what was to be a quirky and interesting evening. Keeping company with the horse was one of the decorated owls from the Bath public project
On a bright, sunny and warm evening within a beach setting and sand in our shoes, we enjoyed drinks and a BBQ making for a relaxed and friendly environment.
Two days of keeping fit, up and down three flights of stairs and ducking in and out of large Georgian windows at a magnificent Regency seaside house in Tenby, Wales, setting up and being part of photo shoot in relation to images for our website. Sue Brindley, the professional photographer showed endless patience by putting up with our endless suggestions and opinions, artists can be difficult to work with! Relaxing and looking natural in front of the camera was the biggest challenge, there were a lot of disasters, i.e. legs in the wrong position, Cheshire cat grins, over enthusiastic gestures, to name but a few. Towards the end of the day, with energy levels running low we became more blasé and just went for it and eventually had a few shots that we both liked - It was an exhausting, rather hot two days with over two hundred photos from which to make a selection, but we got there in the end. Our sympathies lie with fashion models who do this full time! Big thanks go to Sue for all her input and enthusiasm and for being so accepting of all our artistic affectations.