Page 1








Dear reader, It’s been a year since our “Eco Print Special” and here we are with another special winter issue dedicated to yarn, which we hope will be with you before the holidays officially start so you can kick back (we hope!) and relax with our magazine and a warm drink (or a cold drink if the weather where you are is nice and warm!) We have made some big changes since the last issue of the magazine. First, we have now established a small team of dedicated writers who are putting a lot of passion in researching and writing the articles for this magazine. Thanks to their support, we have been able to pack more features in this issue and offer more variety than ever before. In this special issue, we have a section entirely dedicated to different varieties of yarn (for alpaca and sheep lovers, recycling enthusiasts as well as vegans), its colours (with a fabulous feature on solar dyeing) and the art of spinning. We also have a section dedicated to different types of upcycling and have developed our “zero waste” section further to include innovative technologies such compostable inks from algae, biodegradable packaging and creative ways to tackle waste from the advertising and food industries. We have also a wonderfully picturesque travelogue written by one of our writers as well as other regular features such as the multifunctional garden and home decor. We have also introduced a new regular feature, the ‘projects for the planet’ where we scout crowdfunding platforms in search of innovative, eco-friendly and creative startups. It has been hard work but also an immense pleasure to prepare this issue and I really hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We’d like to extend our gratitude to all our dedicated readers and our collaborators for their support. Remember, there’s still time to contact us if you’d like to get involved with our “Eco Print Workbook”, which will be out in the late spring / summer and also to participate in the winter competition (see the last page of this issue for more details).

Credits Editor Alessandra Palange Art Editor Francesca Palange NSN Italy Editor Rosa Rossi Marketing Alessandra Palange Francesca Palange Translations Fuschia Hutton Subscriptions & Advertising info@noserialnumber.org Cover Photos Front and back cover page: recycled yarn by Sarah Cross, photography by Sarah Cross Copyright All images are copyright protected and are the property of their respective makers/owners as detailed in each article and photo. No Serial Number Magazine is published four times a year. No responsability will be accepted for any errors or omissions, views expressed or comments by editors, writers or interviewees. No Serial Number Magazine makes all efforts to advertise products that are in accordance with its ethos. However, goods advertised are not necessarily endorsed by No Serial Number Magazine. Information is correct at the time of publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. All prices are accurate at time of going to press but these may change at any time.

Wishing you a peaceful and green holiday season, Alessandra Palange and the NSN team

No Serial Number team ALESSANDRA, EDITOR I am a qualitative researcher in the social sciences and education with a keen interest in citizenship. Being the editor of No Serial Number Magazine is a hobby for me, something that I do out of passion and with the belief that there are many things we can do to make the world a better place, one of them is producing and consuming more responsibly as a society. I originally had the idea of this magazine when I started networking with ecofriendly artists, artisans, and creative businesses online for a family start-up business. At this point, I realised how diverse and creative the environmental movement really is.and thought it would be great to have a place where we could tell all these stories and explore the role of creativity in the search for environmental solutions. If you’d like to propose a story for No Serial Number Magazine you can email me here: editorial@noserialnumber.org FRANCESCA, ART EDITOR After many years working as a retail manager in the fashion industry, I decided to leave the retail world when I became disenchanted with its focus on profits over the quality of products and the customer experience. I decided to take the leap and start my own business, first by collaborating with eco print artist Michela Pasini and then with my family on the development of No Serial Number Magazine. With time, I became more and more passionate about the graphic design process, so much so that I am now in charge of the design of magazine. I also keep track of emails, sales, and subscriptions, and run the social media pages. If you have any questions about your subscription, a wholesale inquiry or would like to talk about cross-promotion, I am the one to ask! You can contact me here info@noserialnumber.org

ROSA, NSN ITALY EDITOR I am a retired Latin and Greek teacher and an avid knitter and crocheter. I have published school textbooks and work as a freelance writer for Pearson Italia. I am also a consultant for various cultural projects in Italy. At the moment, I am managing the development of a new library within the theatre of Caffeina Cultura and Caffeina Cultura’s own bookstore. For No Serial Number Magazine, I am mainly in charge of finding eco-sustainable realities in Italy, where I am based, and writing about them. I also manage the Italian Blog of No Serial Number Magazine, so if you’re interested in No Serial Number Italia, please visit the blog it.noserialnumber.org or email me: noserialnumberitaly@gmail.com

Featured contributors ... Pam Newton Working towards a Textile degree, graduating in 2018, specialising in Weave and Mixed Media at Coleg Sir Gar, West Wales. I am fascinated by nature and the human interaction with it. With a background in horticulture, my work involves creating natural fibres and colours, borrowed from the landscape made to be returned. I love creating a sustainable lifestyle and enjoy teaching, writing and travel; being inspired by other artists and places. Website: www.naturalthreads.co.uk Instagram: @by_natural_thread

Kate Stuart I’m a practising artist, writer and craftswoman based in the North East of England. I specialise in upcycling, zero waste living, quilting, and painting with acrylics on canvas. I live with my partner, our two children whom we home educate, and a variety of pets. As a family, we aspire to return to the crofting roots of my ancestors, and to live a zero waste, self-sufficient life. Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ ThePhoenixGreenStore Facebook and Instagram: @thephoenixgreenstore

Lisa Cole I’m an ethical website and graphic designer who specialises in working with creatives and an author of books about gentle decluttering. My background is in Fashion and Textiles, specialising in costume history. I’ve been brought up to make do and mend and I am fascinated with the bond we have to our belongings. I live in Bristol with my teenager and too many cats. Website: www.nakedwebsite.co.uk Twitter: @NakedWebsite FB: NkdWebsiteDesign Website: www.less-stuff.co.uk Twitter: @lessstuffnow FB: lovelessstuff

Jessie Hembery I’m a Journalism graduate with an interest in sustainable lifestyles and green technologies. I enjoy writing about many social issues that I have a strong opinion about, including our wonderful planet and its preservation! I’ve always been an avid adventurer, which was born through following my father for his career across 3 different countries, 14 houses, 9 schools and 1 university. My aim is to constantly explore and share the stories that come with those captivating experiences.

Michelle Challice Textile Designer specialising in the fructose indigo vat and biodegradable homewares. Recently relocated back home to Britain and works from a tiny natural dye studio on the Dorset coast. Loves her rescue dog Felek, African and Folk textiles and the British weather. Hates having her photo taken! Facebook: @michellechallicedesign Instagram: @michellechallice


If you are passionate about crafts, art, design, social projects, zero waste and all the other subjects that we cover on our magazine then get in touch and you could become one of our contributors. All you need to do is to send us an email to info@noserialnumber.org. We also have opportunities to write for our blog so get in touch!

Contents TRADITIONAL ARTS, TRADES AND CRAFTS 6. Alpacas and Clouds: From Alpaca Breeding to the Finest Yarn 10. One Colour, Many Hues - Anna’s Story 16. Solar Dyeing with Deborah Gray 18. Weaving the Landscape: A Profile of Tapestry Weaver Ros Hornbuckle


Deborah Gray

YARN AND SPINNING 23. For the Love of Yarn ... Spinning Yarn with Deborah Gray 26. A Story of Colour: Making Yarn from the Waste of Textile Mills 27. Step by Step by Sarah Cross 30. Spinning Vegetable Fibres in the Scottish Countryside


Tapestry Weaving

UPCYCLING 33. Making Ridiculously Sparkly Art to Challenge Consumer Habits 35. Pyjamas with a Conscience 36. Hunting and Gathering Fabric for Contemporary Fashion Designs 37. Sewing Today, From the Past to the Future 38. The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective 39. Dress by The Ocean Corner SUSTAINABLE FASHION 40. Today is Silk, Tomorrow is Milk 44. In Search of Comfort, Easy-care and Elegance 46. Building a Community through Sustainable Yarn, One Knit at the Time 48. A Creative Solution to the Environmental Cost of Advertising HOME CHRONICLES 50. Of Hearth and Home: The Textile Art of Louise O’Hara

Travelogue Yarn from Waste Materials

TRAVEL CHRONICLES 52. Travelogue: Making Sustainable Connections


MULTIFUNCTIONAL GARDEN 56. Land Art: ‘Fully Empty, Emptily Full’ KITCHEN CHRONICLES 58. Vegetarian Chickpea Burger ZERO WASTE 60. From Petroleum to Algae: New Directions in the Ink Industry 62. Buying Bulk for the Community: Join the Refill Revolution 64. The Many Sides of the Zero Waste Battle 65. Leftover Pie 66 Projects for the Planet EVENT REVIEW WORKSHOP STATION THE ECO CRAFTER AND ENTREPRENEUR AWARD ECO-FRIENDLY IDEAS 76. For the body 76. For the home 76. For the Children 77. Craft Kits


Sparkly Lynne



Each issue is created with love: love for our world heritage and love for the environment. We are really passionate about meeting creative people that put all their effort in combining these two elements - that’s why this magazine exists! In this day and age we desperately need to change the way we live, consume and produce. We hope that with this magazine we are contributing towards this goal. If you love what you see subscribe today and help us grow and reach more people! www.noserialnumber.org

NEWSLETTER Sign up to the newsletter to receive free updates on our artist and shop directories, ethical shopping tips, zero-waste alternatives and news about campaigns that we are joining throughout the year.

SHOW US YOUR WORK Share your projects, photos or ideas with us, use the tag #noserialnumbermagazine Tweet and image of your work @N0serialnumberM Find us on Facebook @Noserialnumbermagazine Tag us on Instagram @Noserialnumbermagazine We’ll share it with our followers!

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP Search for “Eco-Friendly Crafters and Entrepreneurs” and get in touch with other like-minded people, we have over 4000 members in our group!

ARTICLE SUBMISSION & BOOK REVIEWS We are proud to have a global readership so we are always curious to learn of sustainable creative initiatives around the world. Get in touch and tell us your story: info@noserialnumber.org

PAST ISSUES Available to purchase on our website www.noserialnumber.org

SUBSCRIBE We want to keep the magazine affordable because we believe the content we publish can make a difference. You can subscribe online for only £28 / $36 (plus delivery) and you will receive four seasonal issues right to your doorestep!

TALK ABOUT US We decided to publish independently and grow sustainably and organically, so our success depends entirely on our readers. Please help us spread the word by mentioning us on Twitter, sharing our Facebook posts and blogging about us. In this way, you are supporting a small independent business dedicated to the promotion of other small creative and sustainable businesses.

RENEWALS You can decide to make a one-off payment for a subscription, in which case we’ll send you a reminder when your subscription is about to expire, or have your subscription automatically renewed every 3, 6 or 12 months. Find all our options on the website.

SELL OUR MAGAZINE We want to share our profits with like-minded artisans and creative businesses rather than big chain stores. We want our magazines to reach people who will appreciate and collect them. Please get in touch if you’d like display No Serial Number Magazine in your shop or in your workshop.

Spring Issue 2018 • Exploring India’s traditional crafts • Primitive metal, clay and wood work • Hand-stitch and needle lace-making • Innovative textiles • Crafting from the woodlands • Creative plastic recycling • Zero waste survey results & Much More ... 

OUT ON 23.03.2018

Subscribe online: www.noserialnumber.org

PINTEREST Follow our Pinterest boards for vintage fashion, traditional toys, natural colours, textile design, ecofriendly ideas & recommended books www.pinterest.com/ noserialnumber



Alpacas and Clouds: From Alpaca Breeding to the Finest Yarn Words by Rosa Rossi Translation by Fuschia Hutton Photography by Elia Palange Alpaca e Nuvole means literally ‘alpacas and clouds’. This evocative combination was chosen as a name by the protagonists of this story. What initially seemed like a madcap adventure soon turned into a business with legs, combining breeding, handspun yarn, and self-sufficient fruit and vegetable cultivation. Our two heroes left the city (Turin) and clambered up the mountains of Piedmont (on the edge of Gran Paradiso National Park) where they set up an alpaca breeding centre and handspun yarn production workshop. Their motto? “Some things cannot be hurried, some things cannot be made by machines… passion, attention, and love take time.” away over the course of a century, with the exception of a few - mostly elderly - people who held on despite all the changes going on around them. Barbara and Gigi are a sign that this trend is beginning to reverse, and this tendency could be set to increase. It is as though the lure of the city - in this case an industrial city like Turin - has reached saturation point and some are beginning to make their way back. As the restoration work advanced, the idea began to form of making this little corner of the mountain their main home, somewhere they could begin a business that suited their land, traditionally used for pasture and livestock rearing. Taking these factors into account, they chose alpaca rearing.


igi and Barbara’s story began around ten years ago when looking for a place to escape the city, somewhere they would be able to enjoy the peace and quiet. Following the solitary mountain roads which scramble up towards ruins abandoned for decades, they stumbled upon the mountains of Castelnuovo Nigra. The stone buildings - cabins, stables, and shepherds’ huts - are absolutely charming. Often, decisions like these are made in a split second. Quite simply, the feeling is right. And this is what happened to our protagonists. They bought the wreck, realised that they could also afford the land (today considered to be of insignificant value), and began restoration work. As work got gradually underway, a new life began to take shape. They realised that what they were creating could become the foundation for a bigger project, one which would truly make use of the land’s potential. The land was mostly wooded, with small plots of pastureland, and other areas which could be recovered, all 1000 metres above sea level. Because land in this area had been used for livestock rearing for centuries, its inhabitants had moved


From that moment on, the work increased and became more specialised. Gigi increased his scope from simply restoring the buildings and concentrated on the land too tidying up the woodland, recovering land for pasture, and fencing off different areas. In fact, to the incredulity of the original mountain dwellers, he has become something of a mountain man. Barbara learned all the secrets of alpaca rearing on the job. When they began, their flock consisted of four females (three of which were pregnant) and a stud, which they bought from breeders. Keeping animals is a neverending responsibility. That goes for all animals, even pets. Owning a small breeding centre demands dedication, daily sharing of lots of information and continuous attention. The foals grow, multiply, and need to be tended to throughout their various stages of life (from mating, to pregnancy and delivery).




When we visited, we were able to watch them up close. We observed the three males in their area, the group of females and the foals (one just a few days old) in a larger space, more pastureland, and a female waiting to give birth (pregnancy lasts between 310 and 375 days). Today, the flock is made up of 16 alpacas, large and small, with coats in all possible shades. The land is abundant with trees, including chestnuts, hazels, different species of maple tree, and alder trees, stretching for as far as the eye can see. These are interspersed with lush green meadows and vegetable plots. The city is just a memory and the clouds are permanently nestled on the mountain peak in the distance. But our picture is not still complete. We haven’t yet touched on all of the work that goes into producing the yarn, from shearing to selection (the wool from the back is the first choice, wool from the legs are second choice, and what is left over is third choice), and of course the spinning. Although Barbara already knew how to spin, she took some courses and then specialised ‘on the job’. She was helped by an elderly woman from the village known as the bergera, well known for her highly-skilled spinning. Initially suspicious and incredulous, like all mountain people faced with city types keen to suss out their secrets, she was forced to think again. Barbara’s skill on the spinning wheel improved until she became completely independent. Today she is capable of handling all the wool produced by the flock, preparing the pure yarn for combining with other materials such as silk, and matching the colours to bring out all twenty-two natural shades of alpaca. The result can be seen in the magnificent balls of wool displayed neatly in her workshop alongside the tools of her trade. Moving from the city to the mountain is a radical lifestyle change, and along with it inevitably comes a strong feeling of isolation and a one of a kind synergy with the alpaca (which comes from catering to their every need and occasionally prioritising their well being over one’s own). It also brings with it a strong preference for self-sufficiency by producing only what is needed, limiting consumption as much as possible, consciously choosing a vegetarian diet, and using manure as fertiliser. In order to succeed, they approach this project with the utmost professionalism at all stages of the production process and they are not afraid to experiment. For example, they collect manure for fertiliser, which they use on what they grow on their allotment for themselves and to sell. Similarly, Barbara has been experimenting with vegetable dye on the lighter-coloured alpaca wool. Touching, or indeed caressing, the final product, it is clear how much work and passion go into achieving this result. The next challenge is to reach a sustainable production level to support all the work. The numbers add up, and there are fans of this type of wool. The market is starting to open up. Barbara also attends a few local fairs, where she displays her yarn and demonstrates the process at her spinning wheel, of which she has several handmade examples at home. In particular, she is looking forward to La Transumanza Festival (Transhumance) at the beginning of autumn in Pont-Canavese (www.latransumanza.it).



 FIND IT ONLINE Facebook: @alpacaenuvole





One Colour, Many Hues - Anna’s Story (with a little help from solar dyeing and prickly pears) Words by Anna De Col Translation by Fuschia Hutton Photography by Elia Palange When we received Anna De Col’s story, straight out of Sardinia, about using opuntia dillenii (prickly pears) for dyeing, we tried to look up the definition of magenta. The only definition we could find was based on its production as a synthetic chemical in a lab (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magenta​​). ​But Anna’s magenta, or rather, her many hues of magenta, are the product of natural chemistry between a prickly pear, a pinch of salt, a dose of passion, and lots of sunshine!

How it all started Thirty-three years ago, I left my hometown of Turin to visit my friend Roberto in Sardinia. It was my first time there. Once back home, I waited 20 days then got straight back on my motorbike and returned to Sardinia. This time I stayed, got married, bought a plot of land, built a house on it, and lived off the land. And this is how our little family-run farming business began - without drinking water, without electricity, and without a phone. We adopted the Fukuoka Method (created by Masanobu Fukuoka, 1913-2008 www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_ Straw_Revolution/One-Straw_Revolution.html) and used it to cultivate olive groves, vines, and organic vegetables. To this end, we took courses on biodynamic agriculture, surrounded ourselves with books on dyeing with plants, with bees, with aromatic herbs, and with visiting friends... the guitar, a roaring fire, and making bread. It was all very romantic, but soon the reality of farming life hit, and it hit hard. Yet together, Roberto (with the determination instilled in him by generations of Sardinian ancestors) and I (with my typical north-eastern Italian stubbornness) stuck it out. Today our business produces five varieties of honey, aromatic herbs, oils, and for some years now we have also started cultivating some dye plants and foraging for wild varieties. And in fact, it is dye plants that have become my passion. Almost inevitably, that passion gave rise to my passion for wool dyeing. Today I am able to take care of

all stages of the process myself, from buying the fleeces straight from the farmers, to washing and dyeing, to carding and spinning.

Why I use prickly pears The prickly pear (opuntia dillenii) is one of the many varieties of opuntia, and is a small version of the Indian fig, which was imported from South America and introduced to some areas of the Mediterranean. It produces small spiky fruit, which mature in midwinter and vary in colour from magenta and Bordeaux, to royal purple and pink. In my search for dye plants to experiment with, I began to collect some prickly pears and tried to use them for dyeing using a traditional method - cooking them to extract the coloured pigments. The first results were very disappointing until my spinning teacher, Deborah Gray (in this issue), introduced me to solar dyeing with jars at the end of an improvement course. The method involves putting herbs, fruit, flowers, or roots into glass jars, adding water, and pre-mordanted wool or silk, closing the jars and leaving them in the sun for between 10 and 30 days, depending on the desired shade. The whole process uses no gas or electricity. Of course, I wanted to try it straight away with the prickly pears. The results were astonishing. The colours varied depending on where I collected the fruit, the season



when I collected them, and the amount of time I left the wool to soak. Later on, I began to modify the pH balance of the dye bath, and the range of colours grew. In short, I have never achieved the same colour twice. Until now I have only dyed wool and silk but I plan to experiment with other fibres such as linen, cotton, and hemp. The colour takes to fibres quite consistently, and of course I use all the usual tricks for dyeing yarn and garments with vegetable dye - washing in lukewarm water, using pH neutral soap, and not drying in the sun. And I am also aware that the colours will gently fade with repeat washes.

and wool from Shetlands, Bluefaced Leicesters, Gotlands, and Wensleydales. I like to get a feel for the wool by spinning it, feeling each fleece pass through my fingers in a different way. I buy wool from Italy, Germany, and Great Britain, but I am also planning to look for suppliers in Ireland, Belgium, and France, and to visit wool fairs abroad and possibly even organise some myself in Italy. My favourite suppliers are

Preparing the prickly pears Prickly pears are harvested between November and June. The degree of maturity produces the range of colours (from royal purple to magenta) that take effect on the wool. The most difficult stage is harvesting and the subsequent removal of

Sardinian shepherds, WoolKnoll in Germany (www.wollknoll. eu), and Wingham wool in England (www.winghamwoolwork. co.uk). I began spinning with a spindle, which is still a passion of mine despite the fact that it is slow. To speed up the work, I moved on to a two-pedalled spinning wheel. During the spinning process, I put together all of the colours obtained from the prickly pear, separated out during carding, so that I can create a variegated yarn. I spun the yarn using size 5 needles, but I can also make yarns of different weights, either during the spinning process or during doubling, the last stage of the production process. In this stage, the spinning wheel is used once again to combine two, three, or sometimes more, threads. Then again, one of the characteristics of hand spinning is that it is practically impossible to create a yarn with perfectly consistent thickness. When something is made by hand, every tiny variation impacts on the final result, and this is precisely why it is unique and cannot be repeated.

the spikes which, even when taking as much care as possible, never fail to prick and bury themselves into the skin. In the photo above you can see the fruits scrubbed clean and ready to be chopped up and dried in the sun and the photo below

The tools of the trade

shows a solar jar being prepared with prickly pears, their juice and water. Of course, the intensity of the colour depends on the number of fruits added to the jar. Today our business has a small plot of land dedicated to growing prickly pears. As well as supplying me with the fruits I need for my work, I also dehydrate them and sell them to those who wish to try their hand at dyeing.

The yarns I use all kinds of wool, from Sardinian wool - which is better at soaking up and retaining colours than any other wool, but is very rough so only suitable for rugs and tapestries - to merino,

Tools for harvesting prickly pears: electricians’ rubber gloves to protect the skin from spikes, salad tongs to pick the fruit, a



small brush for scrubbing the fruit one by one under running water, a small basin, a knife and cutting board for cutting the fruit... and a magnifying glass and tweezers for removing the spikes which inevitably find a way to prick the skin.

of the weight of the dry fibres and use that as the amount of alum to use, so if I want to dye 100g of wool then I would use 15g of alum). I then bring the mixture slowly to boil and simmer for around an hour, stirring frequently and carefully. I then take it off the heat and leave to cool until the next day. At this point I then carefully rinse the fibres and get on with the dyeing proper. When I started solar dyeing, I would prepare the jars with the prickly pears, the water, the wool, and the mordant (alum) at the same time, but the colour was not always consistent. And so, I went back to pre-mordanting with alum and the results improved remarkably. Consequently, after I have prepared the jars with the prickly pears, I add the wool, yarn, or silk. I close the lid and leave in the sun. When the sun bath has finished, after I remove the dyed wool, I can use the same dye bath again. The process starts from the beginning again and obtains a colour that is slightly lighter than the first dye bath. I can repeat this process yet more times, obtaining ever-lighter shades.

Tools for solar dyeing: glass jars with a lid and a capacity of three or five litres​, prickly pears, water, litmus paper for testing the pH balance of the dye bath. Before dyeing a fibre, I prepare it so that the colour will fix well. This process is called mordanting. The prickly pear, like most dye plants, cannot take to the fibres without the help of a mordant. I usually use salt - potassium alum. The mordanting process consists of immersing the fibres in a bath of water and an amount of alum which is calculated based on the weight of the fibres when dry (I usually calculate 15%





 FIND IT ONLINE Address: Azienda agricola De Col Piras Regione Arriali sn 09010 Villamassargia (Carbonia Iglesias, Sardegna, Italy) Phone number: 0039 (0) 781 74881


SOLAR DYEING wi t h D e b o rah Gray Words by Michelle Challice Solar dyeing is a relatively new term in the lexicon of natural dyeing. Seven or eight years ago, Deborah Gray saw an intriguing-looking jar on a friend’s windowsill and asked what it was. The friend had been given the jar by someone else and didn’t know much about it, just that it contained dye and fibre and should be left for a year. “I went home, thought about it a bit, applying my knowledge of more traditional natural dyeing techniques, mordanting and so on and started experimenting. I quickly learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. It’s not quite as simple as it seems.”



Solar dyeing usually implies simultaneous mordanting – the mordant, dye and fibre are all put into the jar at the same time. This method is more effective on protein fibres. It is much less successful with cellulose fibres such as cotton or linen. Deborah has tried using pre-mordanted cotton and linen but the results produced little improvement. Also, when solar dyeing, the material being dyed sits in the jar and doesn’t move causing uneven colour take up. For these reasons, Deborah prefers to dye wool or silk fibre and spin it into yarn afterwards. This allows her “to choose whether to spin in a way that highlights the variability, or to blend the fibre before spinning to get a more evenly coloured yarn”. Wool needs to be really clean when solar dyeing. Very occasionally the contents of a jar will start to rot even when the wool is clean. The smell is awful! No amount of washing will get rid of the stink so everything has to be thrown away. Industrially scoured fibre tends to be more porous than handwashed fleece and will take up dye more readily. You can get some lovely effects though with hand-washed fleece staples, as the tips are more porous than the fibre nearest to the sheep’s body. This gives a lovely heathered effect when spun. The main advantages of solar dyeing are that it is extremely low energy, gentle on fibres and pigments and allows for small-scale experimentation. It doesn’t require any specialist equipment just jars, scales and spoons. The main disadvantage is that the process takes a long time! It will be weeks or months, rather than hours, before you can use your dyed textiles and the quantities involved are small. A two-litre jar will hold around 60g of wool.


The term solar dyeing and ‘eco-dyeing’ are used interchangeably. Other than the low energy use, it is no more ‘eco’ than other natural dyeing methods. Its eco-friendliness will depend on the choices you make about what goes into the jar and where it comes from. Deborah likes to experiment with material that would otherwise be waste – fruit and vegetable skins, left over cooking water and prunings from her grape vine. Her rule is, “If you can eat it, eat it, don’t dye with it. Dye with the parts you can’t eat.” Her advice to beginners? Experiment, learn from successes and failures, keep good records but most of all enjoy!






1. Dyeplant Coreopsis in my garden 2. Dyeplants from my garden. From top: Alchemilla; (in box) fennel, fuchsia, marjoram; goldenrod 3. Solar dyeing workshop - jars produced by learners in one of my recent workshops 4. Handspun yarn made from fibre solar dyed with madder 5. Solar dyed silk and wool samples – clockwise from centre top: fleece dyed with logwood and madder; silk cocoons dyed with safflower; wool tops dyed with hibiscus; wool tops dyed with logwood; silk cocoons dyed with lac; fleece dyed with grape skins 6. Solar dyed madder handspun yarn with knitting and makkin belt. A makkin belt is often used in Shetland with long double-pointed needles. This is my new belt as my old one is wearing out! 7. Solar dyed fleece logwood and madder - this was achieved by layering the two dyestuffs together with the washed fleece in the jar

Read more about Deborah on page 23

 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.perfectweatherforspinningandknitting. blogspot.co.uk Instagram: @deborah.gray7 Ravelry: deborahgray


Weaving the Landscape: A Profile of Tapestry Weaver Ros Hornbuckle Words by Michelle Challice Photography by Graham Mitchell


os Hornbuckle is an established tapestry weaver who, after years of producing commercially minded designs, is finally at liberty to take a more intuitive approach to her craft. Inspired by the landscape that surrounds her, Ros produces bold graphic tapestries in glorious technicolor.

for textiles came from her mother, as she learnt to sew by watching her work.

Weaving was to some extent a natural progression for Ros. She had a very art-saturated childhood, as both her parents were teachers with a passion for the arts and instilled a love of art and craft from an early age. Growing up, she remembers being surrounded by beautiful books and visiting art galleries all over Europe. Her father spent much of his spare time painting and lino printing on a hand operated Roneo press and her mother taught embroidery at a local secondary school. Ros’ appreciation

It wasn’t until later that she was inspired to teach herself to weave and dedicate herself to this creative practice. Whilst working in Birmingham as a psychologist, Ros visited a life-changing exhibition of large tapestries by the modern masters at the City Museum and Art Gallery. “I was blown away by their vibrant colours and felt compelled to learn to weave. That first impression on entering a room filled with brilliant images has never left me and my primary motivation for weaving a tapestry is to achieve that level of impact on the viewer through colour. So my work is all about colour.” Inspired by the works of Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse et al, Ros built various looms and taught herself to weave. Exploring every aspect of weaving, she worked her way through Peter Collingwood’s “Techniques of Rug Weaving” and Tadek Beutlich’s “Technique of Woven Tapestry”, making jackets, coats, rugs and tapestries. At first, she bought yarn for her work but a friend from Oswestry in Shropshire taught her how to spin. Now she begins a piece by sourcing raw fleece, often from rare breeds, from smallholders and wildlife reserves in her local borderland area. She washes it, using a small amount of detergent and water and dries it outside. The clean fleece is then stored until needed. The prepared fleece will be dyed once Ros has a new piece of work in mind. “My balcony is regularly festooned with a riot of brightly coloured fleeces drying in the fresh air.” Only when she is ready to start weaving a particular area of colour in one of her tapestries will she spin the necessary yarn. “The way in which the colours are placed and mixed on the carder or when spinning, alters the finished woven effect. This is impossible with bought yarn and adds an exciting dimension to the weaving and design process.” In creating her own yarns, Ros has complete control over her materials, which she finds incredibly rewarding. Sustainability of process and materials is all-important. “I’m slightly sceptical of sustainability claims in mass produced fibres, as commercial wool doesn’t score highly in ethical terms because of the way the animals are treated, transported and the manufacturing methods used.” Equally, Ros has experimented with natural dyes but believes their credibility “depends on how they are processed – the mordants used, their energy and water consumption... plus they fade more easily.” For Ros, the whole process needs to be considered and judged on its overall merits. For these reasons, she buys recycled cotton for her warp threads and spins her own weft yarn from locally sourced fleece thereby eliminating any freight miles. She uses acid dyes to colour her fibres, as they only require a small amount to obtain the vibrancy that she seeks in her work.



As to her dye process, “I mix the dyes in a small amount of water and vinegar, add the fleece, then heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes before leaving them to soak. I don’t rinse the fleece but save any left over dye solution to produce paler colours. This way there is no waste and little goes down the drain.” Ros Hornbuckle’s visual inspiration is rooted in the landscape and comes from the surrounding scenery. Every day, if possible, she walks with her husband in the countryside taking photographs to add to the existing library of inspirational images for her designs. “I’m lucky enough to live in the beautiful borderlands of North Shropshire, a few miles from Wales. I seek out places that I know will inspire my work – the rocky beaches of Wales with their wonderful backdrop of mountain scenery. The inside of caves with their incredible colours are one of my favourite subjects and the lines of water, hills and mountains provide great movement in a tapestry.” The long hours of concentration required for weaving enable Ros to form a closer relationship with the landscape, a kind of meditation on beauty and colour. “It makes me far more aware of what is around me, details of line, colour, movement and how it translates into emotion within me.” She plans to explore this relationship further in future work, sticking less rigidly to the details of the place and acting more as a conduit for the emotions they invoke. Ros exhibits through the Borderland Visual Arts community, a thriving group set up by Ros and a few friends eighteen years ago. Based in and around Oswestry, it is a supportive network of approximately sixty artists working across all mediums. They meet once a month and hold group and individual exhibitions. Permanent fixtures on the calendar are the artists’ Open Studios every June and the Winter Show in November and December.



RECOMMENDED READING Social media sites are the main resource for finding inspiration and keeping abreast on developments in weaving practice. However, “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook and “Tapestry Weaving Design” by Joanne Soroka are excellent books for beginners.


IN THE PICTURES Rest Bay Rocks - Page 18 The Process - Page 19

Menai Oyster Catchers Page 20 top left Rock Passion - Page 21 top Rock Face South Wales Page 21 bottom


Website: www.roshornbuckle.wordpress.com Email: roshornbuckle@gmail.com


YARN AND SPINNING Featuring: • For the Love of Yarn ... Spinning Yarn with Deborah Gray • A Story of Colour: Making Yarn from the Waste of Textile Mills • Step by Step by Sarah Cross • Spinning Vegetable Fibres in the Scottish Countryside




For the Love of Yarn ... Spinning Yarn with Deborah Gray Interview by Michelle Challice Photography by Diane Milne and Deborah Gray


atural dyer, spinner, knitter and teacher; Deborah Gray is a multitalented practitioner obsessed with all things fibre. She has been sharing her extensive knowledge and love of her craft with students for over 30 years now.

Deborah views hand spinning as very much a contemporary craft. “I consider and reflect on my craft in a 21st century context. I use modern equipment and wool from sheep that have been improved by generations of breeding and I’m part of a world-wide textile community which relies on the Internet for communication and inspiration.”

Hand spinning is a natural progression for many people working with wool. There was also a huge drive for selfsufficiency in 1970s Britain, which may have played a part in Deborah’s conversion. “Although we never did get our own fibre animals it was certainly a goal for a while.” Deborah has managed, however, to cultivate dye gardens since the 1980s. She grows many of the dyestuffs for her work including coreopsis, fennel and fuchsia to name but a few and is currently experimenting with plant mordants.

Wool makes up a very high proportion of the fibre that Deborah uses in her work. “I understand people’s concerns about animal welfare but trust that in the UK at least we have welfare standards and controls, which means that wool can be and is produced without causing suffering. Most wool is a byproduct of the meat industry and if it wasn’t used it would be a difficult-to-dispose-of waste product. I’ll leave the ethics of the meat industry for a different discussion but it is a fact that currently the majority of the UK population eats meat. Rearing sheep for meat and wool also plays a role in 2. our agricultural economy. If we keep sheep at all, they need to be shorn for welfare reasons.”

For Deborah, there is something so satisfying about taking raw fleece, just as it came off the sheep, and transforming it in to orderly skeins of clean soft yarn, destined to be knitted into something unique, cosy and comforting. “I still get more satisfaction from starting with fleece than spinning industrially prepared fibre. I love being in control of all the characteristics of the yarn for whichever project I am working on: fibre type, colour, preparation and spinning technique to create exactly the yarn that I need.”

A big part of her work is teaching. “It was difficult to find a spinning class in the late 1970s when I started and I

The fibres’ individual characteristics are averaged out in commercial yarn, as the wool is blended from many sheep. Each batch of yarn that Deborah produces is unique. It comes from one animal and she can modify her technique to bring out the individual character of that fleece whether it is lustrous and drapey or matte and springy. It is this knowledge of fibre plus passion for colour and texture that Deborah brings to her work.


For centuries hand spinning was an essential household task. In some places the label “handspun” became associated with poverty. People turned away from the craft and the skills were lost. In other places it hung on as a curiosity for tourists or a specialist craft such as Shetland lace knitting. “We are lucky to live in an age when we can choose to spin and knit for pleasure, not necessity, and have access to a huge range of equipment and materials from all over the world to use.” Although there is this obvious connection to heritage, 4.







discovered the frustration of not having anyone to guide me when it didn’t go quite right. Once I felt confident enough in my own skills, I wanted to help others in the same position.” She really enjoys meeting the people who attend her classes and workshops. “We all have a common interest but are so different in many ways and I am fascinated to find out what motivates people to learn the skills I teach.” Teaching has also provided many travel opportunities. Since 2010 Deborah has been teaching in Italy and has run over 20 workshops there. She is also a regular guest tutor during Shetland Wool Week and will be teaching for the first time at next year’s Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The year 2018 is going to be a very busy year, as well as the above dates she will be running workshops in her hometown of Oban, Scotland. She is available to teach when in the UK but has planned to travel around Australasia, “soaking up inspiration”. The summer will be spent as Artist in Residence at the Icelandic National Textile Centre in Blonduos, where her programme of work will hopefully result in a travelling exhibition. Please visit her blog www. perfectweatherforspinningandknitting.blogspot.com where she will be posting confirmed teaching dates in 2018.

 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.perfectweatherforspinningandknitting. blogspot.co.uk Instagram: @deborah.gray7 Ravelry: deborahgray 10.




IN THE PICTURES: 1. Handspun Shetland Flock Book champion fleeces Puffin jumper --(detail of yoke) Jumper designed by Kate Davies. The Shetland Flock Book Association exists to ensure that the Shetland breed stays true to its characteristics. Each year there is a competition for fleeces, as well as classes for live sheep. The three coloured fleeces which won in 2015 feature in photos 1, 6, 9 (Bousta beanie contains all three) 2. Superfine Shetland fleece - unwashed 3. Shetland sheep 1 – coloured pure Shetland sheep belonging to A&J Robertson, Walls, Shetland 4. Deborah spinning - my first wheel bought in 1978 – Ashford Traditional 5. Deborah carding 6. Drafting fine black Shetland wool - drafting is the term for drawing out the fibres to the required thickness during spinning 7. Hand carders 8. Handspun Shetland grey knitted swatch 9. Spinning wheel bobbins 10. Handspun Shetland grey singles on bobbin and 3 ply yarn - yarn is plied for knitting to balance the twist. This yarn is equivalent in thickness to a commercial Double Knitting 11. Drum carding Blue Texel fleece - Blue Texel is the name of the breed of sheep, a naturally grey variant of the Texel breed 12. Handspun alpaca and wensleydale wool Foxpaws 1 – Foxpaws wrap designed by Xandy Peters. Yarn: 3 colours of undyed alpaca (black, ginger and grey) plus 2 colours of wensleydale wool both dyed in an exhausted indigo vat (pale pink and mother of pearl blue) 13. Blended shades – using hand carders to blend primary coloured wool fibres plus natural black and white to recreate colours inspired by nature - one learner’s results in my popular ‘Blending Coloured fibres’ workshop




A Story of Colour: Making Yarn from the Waste of Textile Mills Photography by Sarah Cross Hello Sarah, thanks for agreeing to this interview, I absolutely love your work! I know that you’re based in Wales, so I want to start by asking you something about your land and how it inspires your work. The​​land​I​​​live​​in​​is​​wild,​​rugged​​and​s​ parsely​​populated.​​ I’m​​surrounded by​​hills,​m ​ ountains... and​​sheep!​​ I’m​​endlessly​​inspired​b ​ y​​the​​ever changing​​colours​​ throughout​t​ he​s​ easons​​-​​in​w ​ inter,​​the​​colours​​are beautifully​m ​ uted​a ​ nd​​worn​d ​ own,​​which​​allows​​the​​stark​​ grandeur​o ​ f slate​​walls​​and​​the​​outlines​​of​​rock​​outcrops​​ to​c​ ome​​to​​the​f​ ore.​​In​s​ pring the​​colours​​begin​​to​​change​​ and​​the​s​ ofter​​pale​​yellows​​and​​greens​​that emerge​​first​​ give​​everything​​a​g ​ entle​​hue.​​Summer​​is​​full​​of​​greens​​ from all​​the​​rain!​​The​​scenery​i​s​l​ush​​and​​alive.​​Autumn​​ is​​my​​favourite season… an​a ​ bundance​​of​​browns,​​reds​​ and​​ochres​f​ rom​​the​t​ rees​a ​ nd plant​​life​​beginning​​to​​ dye​​away,​​interspersed​w ​ ith​t​ he​​purple,​​pinks​​and reds​​of​​ the​ ​heathers​ ​that​ ​coat​ ​the​ ​hills​ ​and​ ​lower​ ​slopes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​ mountains. Wales​i​s​b ​ eautiful! Why did you start making yarn from waste materials, especially as you’re living in Wales, a land famous for the quality of its wool? That’s​​a​g ​ ood​​point!​​While​W ​ ales​​is​​famed​​for​​its​​sheep,​​ the​​majority​a ​ re bred​​for​​meat​a ​ nd​​the​​fleeces​​are​​not​​as​​ prized​​as​​they​​used​t​ o​​be.​​In addition,​​processing​​a​​fleece​​ is​​a​​very​​time​​and​​water​i​ntensive undertaking.​​I​​chose​​ to​s​ pin​​yarn​​from​w ​ aste​​materials​a ​ s​​I​​love​​colour, and,​​ again,​​dyeing​​yarns​of ​vibrant​​shades​​uses​​a​​lot​​of​​water​​in​​ addition​​to the​p ​ otential​​of​e ​ nvironmental​​contamination​​ due​​to​​the​d ​ yes​u ​ sed. I​​had​​been​​becoming​​increasingly​​ aware​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pollution​ ​caused​ ​by​ ​the fashion​ ​industry,​ ​ and​​came​a ​ cross​​an​​article​w ​ here​​I​​was​​shocked​​to​​learn that​​fibres​f​ rom​​textile​​mills​​were​g ​ oing​​to​​landfill.​​I​​just​​ thought​i​t​​was​​a waste​​of​​a​r​ esource​​that​​could​​be​​valued​​ by​​others,​s​ o​I​​​set​o ​ ut​​to​​find​​out how​​I​​could​​get​​my​​hands​​ on​​some​​of​​it. How do you source your fibres? I​​have​​a​f​ riend​​who​​is​​a​s​ heep​f​ armer,​​and​​she​​has​​contacts​​ at​v​ arious textile/wool​m ​ ills.​W ​ hen​​I​​told​​her​​that​​I​​was​​ interested​​in​​using​​up​​the fibre​t​ hat​g ​ ets​​thrown​​away​​she​​ made​​some​​phone​​calls​o ​ n​m ​ y​​behalf​​and between​​us​​we​​ managed​​to​g ​ et​​the​m ​ ills​​to​​agree​​to​​sell​​me​​some​​of​​their unwanted​fi ​ bre. Do you also recycle fabrics? While​I​​​mainly​​recycle​​unwanted​​fibre,​​I​​do​​use​​fabrics​​in​​ my​​yarns.​​One of​​my​​biggest​​surprises​​were​​denim​​scraps, these​a ​ re​​fluffy​l​ittle​n ​ uggets of​​denim​​leftover​​from​​the​​ processing​​of​​jeans.​They​​are​​the​​waste​​from washing​​ jeans​​at​t​ he​​manufacturers,​​and​​they​​are​​simply​​the​​same​​ ‘fluff’ as​​you​​find​​in​y​ our​​tumble​​dryer​​after​​you​​have​​dried​​ your clothes… except​​it’s​a ​ ll​​blue!​I​​​also​​use​​recycled​​sari​​ silk​a ​ nd​​ribbon​​to​​add extra​c​ olour​​and​​texture. Does the process of sorting and spinning change considerably from one material to another? Honestly,​​no.​N ​ ot​f​ or​​me,​o ​ r​t​ he​​way​​I​​make​​my​​yarn.​​If​​I​​ like​t​ he​c​ olours it​a ​ ll​​gets​​processed​​together​​and​​I​​deal​​ with​​the​v​ ariance​​in​​fibre​​once​​I am​​spinning.​​I’m​​not​​ obsessed​w ​ ith​​making​​everything​‘​perfect’,​​the​​joy​​of a​​ hand​​spun​​yarn​​is​​that​i​t​i​s​​uniquely​​handmade​​and​​has​​its​​ own​s​ tory.


Do you mix and match different types of materials when you make yarn? Are there occasions when mixing is not recommended? I​​always​​mix​​and​​match​​different​​types​​of​​materials.​​ Simply​​because​​the majority​​of​​fibres​​that​​I​​get​​my​​hands​​ on​​are​​unlabelled​​and,​​whilst​​some fibres​​are​​easy​​to​​ recognise,​​not​​all​​of​​them​​are,​​so​​I​​don’t​​always​​know what​​I​​am​​working​​with.​​For​​me,​​as​​long​​as​​the​​colours​​ work​​together​​I will​​use​​whatever​​I​​can​​get​​my​​hands​​ on. I’m​​not​​aware​​of​​any​​occasions​​where​​mixing​​is​​not​​ recommended, although​​there​​probably​​are​​some.​T ​ here​​ can​​be​​difficulties​​in​​spinning the​​different​​fibres,​​but​​these​​ are​​dealt​​with​​at​​the​​wheel, a ​ s​​and​​when​​it happens… or​​ sometimes​​not,​​it​​all​​depends​​on​​whether​​I​​want​​to​​make​​a smooth​​yarn​​or​​a​​more​​‘art’​​yarn​​with​​the​​fibre.







By Sarah Cross

(1) In​​this​​case​​I​​wanted​​to​​make​​a​b ​ lue/purple​y​ arn… so I​​selected​​ various fibres​​from​m ​ y​​boxes​​and​​assemble​​them​​together.​​I​​lay​​them​​ out to​m ​ ake​s​ ure​​that​t​ hey​‘​work’​a ​ nd​​that​​nothing​​looks​​out​​of​​place colour​w ​ ise. (2) Usually,​​a​​lot​o ​ f​​the​​fibre​​is​​almost​f​ elted,​​either​b ​ ecause​​that’s​​how I​​ obtained​​it​​or​​because​​it​​has​​been​​sitting​​in​​a​​box​​waiting​​to​​be used​​for​​ too​​long.​W ​ hen​​I​​have​​fibres​​that​​are​​like​​this,​​I​​sort​​them into​​another​​ pile​​and​r​ un​t​ hem​​randomly​​through​​my​​drum​​carder. The​​reason​​for​​this​​ is​​two​fold, i​t​​opens​o ​ ut​​the​​fibre​​again​​and​​it combines​​colours​​together​​ in​​a​​lovely​w ​ ay. (3) Once​i​t’s​c​ arded,​t​ he​​fibre​​is​​lifted​o ​ ff​t​ he​​drum​​carder​​and​​rolled​​up into​a ​ ​​batt​​in​r​ eadiness​​for​​a​​spinning. (4) Before​​I​b ​ egin​​spinning,​​I​a ​ lways​​make​​strips​​from​​the​​fibres.​​This means​​that​t​ he​b ​ atts​​are​​divided​​into​​long​​strips​​and​​any​​other fibres​​that​I​​​want​​to​​use​​are​​also​​torn​​into​​long​​strips.​​The​​strips allow​​ me​​to​​change​​the​​colours​​frequently​​as​​I​​randomly​​pick​​up​​a strip​​from​​ a​​box​​at​​the​​side​​of​​my​​wheel​w ​ hen​​I​​am​​spinning.​​I​​don’t usually​​have​​a​​ plan​w ​ hen​​I​​make​​a​y​ arn...I​​like​​to​​see​​where​​the process​​ends​​up​​and​​for​​ each​​skein​​to​​be​u ​ nique. (5) Then​I​​​spin!​​For​t​ his​​skein​​I​​wanted​​a​s​ mooth​a ​ nd​​uniform​​yarn,​​so​​I spun​​the​​fibre​a ​ t​​a​c​ onsistent​​thickness.​​I​​spun​​two​​bobbins​​of​​yarn, and​​ then​p ​ lyed​t​ hem​​together. (6) Voilà,​​The​fi ​ nal​s​ kein!​​Before​​I​u ​ se​a ​ ​​yarn​​I​​‘set​​the​​twist’​​by soaking​​ the​​yarn​​in​​a​​bowl​​of​h ​ and​h ​ ot​​water​​and​​then​​gently​​wring it​​out​​before​​ hanging​i​t​​outside​​to​d ​ ry​;​t​ his​​helps​​the​​yarn​​to remain​​stable​​whilst​​ using​​it.









PHOTOS 1. 2. 3.


5. 6. 7.

Recycled​ ​hand​-spun​ ​yarns Fibre​ ​selection​. The​ ​colours​ ​have​ ​ been​​selected​​and​​the​​fibre​​chosen. Fibre​ ​strips​. A ​ ll​​of​​the​​fibre​​for​​the​​ yarn​ ​is​ ​torn​ ​into​ ​strips​ ​ready​ ​for spinning. Carding​​the​​fibre​.​Running​​ the​​fibres​​through​​the​​drum​​carder Removing​ ​the​ ​batt​.​Taking​​the​​fibre​​ off​ ​the​ ​carder​ ​and​ ​loosely​ ​rolling it​ ​ into​ ​a​ ​batt. Batts​.​ The​ ​carder​ ​opens​ ​out​ ​the​ ​ fibres​​and​​blends​​them​​together. On​ ​the​ ​wheel​. The​​fibre​​being​​spun. Finished​ ​skein​. The​ ​yarn​ ​has​ ​been​ ​ finished​​and​​is​​ready​​to​​use.

 FIND IT ONLINE Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/StudioEdefyn Facebook: @studioedefyn Email: edefynstudio@gmail.com



Spinning Vegetable Fibres in the Scottish Countryside Words and photography by Catriona Stevenson

My story The story of Flora Fibres Yarn starts with a disappointing trip to a yarn festival at the beginning of 2016. As a vegan I don’t use wool or silk based yarns, but I had high hopes that I would still find something special as it was a yarn festival, not a wool festival. However, in a huge exhibition space filled with every colour of yarn you could imagine, there were only two vendors selling non-wool yarns, and they were both linens. I had almost given up hope of finding anything when I happened to have a conversation with a spinner about the fibres she was selling. I asked whether it was possible to hand spin non-wool fibres (I still knew nothing about spinning at this point!) and was so excited when she replied “of course!”.


I bought 100g of her hand dyed faux cashmere and a drop

IMAGES 1. Collecting tansy flowers in my local park 2. My Spinning wheel 3. Some hand spun yarns 4. Spiral plied cotton art yarn





creations. They are: cotton, linen (flax), bamboo, rose, seacell, mint, tencel, soybean, carbonised bamboo, ramie, hemp, and abaca (banana). This variety allows me to create yarns with all sorts of different properties: for example, rose and seacell are incredibly soft and lustrous with wonderful drape so they are ideal for creating items such as shawls, whereas hemp, abaca and ramie feel more “woolly” and develop a delightful halo when spun. All of these fibres make a wonderful variety of yarns and they are, of course, not just for vegans. They are also perfect for those with a wool allergy, and any yarn crafter who would like to try something new and different.

The process The first step in creating my yarns is mordanting and dyeing the fibres. I used to spin first then dye, but I found that it was easier to dye larger quantities of fibre and then spin afterwards. It isn’t as simple as reaching for a bottle of dye though, first the dye plants need to be gathered and the dye extracted. As a basic rule of thumb this requires a 1:1 ratio of plant to yarn weight, however there are exceptions as some sources are much more potent, such as onion skins.


As much as possible I try to use plants which I can either grow myself, forage for locally or which are leftovers from my kitchen, meaning most of my creations contain a little piece of the Scottish countryside. The added bonus of botanical dyeing is the necessary patience and forward planning which is required, as some dyes can take several days to fully develop their colour. Taking so much time is a wonderful reminder to slow down and enjoy the process. And the reward for waiting is well worth it: a beautiful rainbow of colour, full of shades which beautifully complement each other.

spindle, watched a YouTube tutorial, and immediately fell in love with spinning. Within a month I had bought a spinning wheel and discovered all the fabulous plant fibres I had never even heard of as they aren’t spun commercially. I also decided I only wanted to use botanical dyes as I was keen for my business to be as environmentally friendly as possible. From there it wasn’t long until I was sure that there must be others like myself who are yearning for non-wool, non-plastic yarns, so I took the plunge and started my business!

Once the dye bath is ready, the plant material is removed and the pre-mordanted yarn or fibre is added. There are different ways to dye the fibres, depending on the desired shade and the speed of the results, and these are controlled by the temperature of the dye bath. Hotter is quicker, however too hot can affect the colour and make it “muddier”. Warm or cold dyeing takes longer, however can produce much stronger and more vibrant colours.

My background is in astrophysics, so making the leap to running a business as a vegan fibre artist might not seem like the obvious choice. However, I have always been a creative person and this fits perfectly with life as a stay at home mum to two young, energetic boys. They love to get involved, from coming on my foraging expeditions, to “helping” me spin.

When the desired colour has been reached, the fibre is hung up to dry before finally being spun or braided, depending whether it’s being sold as yarn or as fibre for someone else to spin themselves. My advice to anyone considering spinning is to have a go! It doesn’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy the process, my first attempt certainly wasn’t, but I loved it anyway. Start with bamboo or mint as these are the most beginner friendly, and have fun!

My fibres I have a range of 12 different plant fibres which I use in my 4

 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.florafibresyarn.com Facebook: @florafibresyarn Instagram: @flora_fibres_yarn




Featuring: • Making Ridiculously Sparkly Art to Challenge Consumer Habits • Pyjamas with a Conscience

• Hunting and Gathering Fabric for Contemporary Fashion Designs • Sewing Today: From the Past to the Future • The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective

• Dress by The Ocean Corner 32


Making Ridiculously Sparkly Art to Challenge Consumer Habits Words by Lynne Speake Lynne Speake is a out of the ordinary artist based in Cornwall who lives on an antique yacht with three wonderful dogs and her husband. She makes sparkly things from salvaged materials and through her giant sparkly wearable art at the Big Spotty Dog Studio she encourages us to question our consumption habits, especially the prevalence of plastic in our lives.

I class myself as an eco-artist. I make big wearable art! I think of my work as sculptures to be worn on the body more so than jewellery. Every piece is handcrafted and massive attention is paid to shape and structure. Each piece can take up to three days or more to make. They are wearable sculptures, they make a statement and they are not for the faint-hearted! Pieces evolve organically and inspiration comes from the beads themselves, colour and weird objects that I find and use. My brand is sparklylynne. I love texture, I love colour, I love pattern. I love glittery things, and I also love the ridiculous. Everything I create is unique; I never make the same thing twice and nowhere else on the planet will you find something the same. By sticking to my upcycled principles I hope that I am in some way helping the planet and raising awareness of the prominence of our plastic stockpile of stuff! Originally a painter, I came to Cornwall to do a masters degree. The act of living and studying in such a beautiful place pricked my ‘eco-conscience’, and I began to produce work that raises environmental awareness, questions consumer habits and also empowers others to feel like they too can make a difference. I now live off-grid on a 100 year old yacht (a Looe Lugger) with husband and three challenging rescued collies. I create my art just outside Falmouth in the Big Spotty Dog Studio, which reflects my work. It is wonderfully colourful, madly patterned, very eclectic and is home to very many odd objects and millions of beads - all are organised and colour batched and just waiting to find their way into my work. My art practice has followed many ‘arty’ paths before settling on my love of all things that sparkle but are not gold! Everything used (apart from the wire and jewellery findings) is re-purposed, found or gifted. I only buy from charity shops, and love the fact that everything has had another life with previous adventures and memories. Their individual elements have been elsewhere - my pieces all have stories to tell. Like my previous painting and upcycled textile work, pieces evolve organically and no matter how planned they are, something always happens. They develop in their own special way with a life of their own until they finally transform into something fabulous, quirky, and often quite ridiculous (but always beautiful). As part of my art practice I also run workshops in schools, community settings and at festivals where I teach others to make new things from their broken precious jewellery, heirlooms and childhood memorabilia. Through making something wonderful with things that they would normally just ‘leave in a drawer or even throw away’ people naturally start to question their consumer habits. The end result of using things that are cherished and have a personal history is that they become more special than something that has just been bought on the high street, produced in a sweat shop, or something made from plastic



that has caused and will indefinitely continue to harm to the planet. Workshops also offer a place to off-load and find respite from a busy hectic life. Often a safe space to explore personal issues with empathetic listeners - through conversation, cake and nearly always laughter, a place to make new friends and feel empowered. Creativity is good for the soul.


Since settling on this path and developing my current body of work I have become more and more experimental. Recent work has included such things as large quartz crystals, naturally shed deer antlers, wrought iron fish, lumps of coral, a tea strainer and even a dog chew. This work excites me and makes me want to make larger and larger pieces that combine strange and eclectic elements into quirkier and quirkier mad constructions. I realise that wearing these pieces may not be the image that everyone wants to present to the world. However I am having so much fun that I think I’ll just have to carry on.

Anglerfish and his Sparkly Chinese Friend (pg.33) Wrought iron angler fish who originally had a dodgy eye and was fixed, green chinese fish, felted chain, mother of pearl faced metal beads and various glass, swarovski crystal, metal, wooden, plastic and Haematite beads.

Blue Robot and his rubbery friend Mr Polar Bear (pg.32) One-armed antique blue tin robot, rubbery blue polar bear, naturally shed deer horn, iron blacksmithed hook, fluorescent lucet cord and various glass, swarovski crystal, amber, metal and plastic beads.

Scilly Corals and Float (pg.33) Large piece of previously gifted coral along with smaller corals collected from the Isles of Scilly, dried seaweed, fishing net float and various glass, amber, ceramic, swarovski crystal, metal and plastic beads. Secret Beatle Head (pg.33) Beautiful ladies head saved from the dog in the foundry next door, yellow submarine tea strainer and various glass, ceramic, lampwork, swarovski crystal, metal and plastic beads. Horn; My Doggies Love you but Cannot Have You (pg.34) Buffalo horn originally bought for doggies but stolen from them and various glass, swarovski crystal, metal, wooden, plastic and haematite beads. Golden Buddha Seed Head (pg.34) Golden painted Buddha nuts, 25 year old green artificial flower head, stone circle, mother of pearl faceted wooden beads and various glass, swarovski crystal and plastic and Haematite beads. Horny Crystal (pg.34) Naturally shed deer horn, a large lump of natural quartz, metal chain, recycled Ghanian glass disks and various glass, opalite, swarovski crystal, metal and natural crystal beads.

 FIND IT ONLINE Instagram: @lynne_speake Pinterest: @Lynne_Speake/ facebook: @sparklylynne Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ bigspottydogstudio/



Pyjamas with a Conscience Words by Naina Bajaria Photography by Elia Palange Hello Karen, thank you for allowing us to photograph your collection of pyjamas. We thought they were lovely! What is the name of your business and how did you start it? The name of our product is PLUM. My daughter and I started the business in 2016. I started volunteering in a charity shop and soon realised how many good quality men’s shirts were being sent for ‘rags’. We discussed ways in which we could use these shirts and came up with the idea of the loungers and pj’s. I resourced fairtrade, organic material from which we could make the shorts and found an organic company in Wales who could provide the material we needed. The buttons are also from charity shops. My daughter is now having a baby so we are working on loungers which would be ideal for breastfeeding mums! What inspired you to start this business? I was simply inspired by wanting to find a pair of pyjamas that I liked! I wanted them to be pretty and comfy, but also well made. Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly interested in where and how my clothes are made, and it was tricky to find affordable nightwear that wasn’t produced by a high-street shop (with all the ambiguity about supply chain that entails!) I’ve always loved sewing and dressmaking so I decided to make my own, as sustainably as possible! And so many people liked the idea I thought I’d try to sell them too. What kind of materials do you use? We use a lot of vintage men’s shirts to create our pyjamas. They are an excellent source of top-quality cotton as well as ready-sewn buttons and buttonholes: massive time-saver! After doing a lot of research, I decided that the least wasteful way of making my nightwear was to upcycle pretty vintage fabrics where possible, and use organic cotton elsewhere. Everything we make is as thoughtful as possible - from reusing shirt buttons to making our tags from recycled cardboard and English-made twine.

suppliers and ideas. We’re not perfect, but we try. Almost more important is to spread the idea that shopping for clothes doesn’t have to be a mad trolleydash around Primark for something cheap that will fall apart in a few weeks and head straight to landfill. The more of us who are making/buying thoughtful clothes, the more the fashion industry has to listen! It’s a terrible, destructive industry, and ordinary consumers need to be gently reminded about that - without being preachy of course! At the end of the day, fashion is fun and a treat and an important part of your identity, not something to feel bad or guilty about.

In what ways do you try to run a sustainable business? Practically, by making products that have as small a footprint on the planet as possible. I’m always looking out for preloved fabrics (the softer the better!) and new

 FIND IT ONLINE Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ PLumpyjamas. Email: plumbykaren@gmail.com. Instagram: @plum_pyjamas



Hunting and Gathering Fabric for Contemporary Fashion Designs Words by Lisa Cole Our Paleolithic ancestors would have used bone needles to join hides with sinew, in much the same way as we sew fabric by hand now. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts and is still used today for necessity and for pleasure. Some designers embrace the new technology of fabrics that stretch and shimmer - not so with Bristol-based fashion designer Marylin Marceron who still sews with reverence for the past, inspired by the history of old fabrics. Although she does not have to trap and kill her prey, Marylin still has to hunt for the vintage fabrics that inspire her designs. Sometimes she waits months for the right fabric to come along. Marylin speaks of old fabric being alive. Old curtains or carefully unpicked garments produce fabric that is more supple than new. Fade marks are featured as gorgeous details in Marilyn’s garments, and celebrate the history of the fabric. She told me there is a story behind each scrap of fabric: “You travel a little bit in your mind, you travel back in time, you just imagine, how did it look hanging on this very big window, who wore it? When you upcycle something all this fabric adds something to the garment, a little story.” From a very early age the idea of reusing the fabric of an obsolete garment was already a normality for Marylin. Her mother would convert a worn pair of adult sized trousers into dresses for her and the scraps would become clothes for her dolls, simple aprons, skirts or shawls held together by safety pins. When she was older her mother did not approve of her visible mending. Marylin said: “I was brought up with the idea of mending, and I was in extreme admiration of my mother who was an excellent darner. When I was a teenager I was quite a rebel and didn’t want to look like the others. I would wear Victorian underwear as trousers and it often had large darned areas. For me it was something really beautiful. For mum it was a sign of poverty, and she hated it.” This thrifty upbringing helped Marylin when she left home. She didn’t buy anything new, everything came from flea markets. She believes that her creativity was boosted by being frugal; she had to use and alter what she could afford. Later on Marylin studied fashion and textiles where she created a collection that reused all the knit samples from the Textile department as patches. She went through the bins to find them and this is what started off her passion for reusing what would be thrown away. “Now I am making clothes with the concept of upcycling so I am always hunting for fabric. I prefer natural fabric because it is better for the environment and it feels better on the skin. I let myself be driven by the fabric, I don’t decide, the fabric says what to do.” Some of the garments Marylin produces can be made from as many as five different fabrics, all saved from landfill. Occasionally she finds sample books of upholstery fabric to add to the already eclectic mix. Marylin groups the reclaimed fabric according to weight, colour or pattern, then creates bundles of complementary colours and textures. She takes the biggest bit of fabric and rolls the fabric selection inside it. If it is not quite ready to inspire a design it is stored until she finds the very last piece of material to bring a garment to life. Sometimes it can be months until the missing element comes along. Every garment made by Marylin is totally unique. Because she uses the good fabric from clothing that is too ripped or worn for charity she is saving it from going to landfill. For Marylin, the need for upcycling because of lack of funds has grown into a design methodology that celebrates and showcases the history behind the fabric. She is carrying on a tradition of mending and reusing that goes back in time in order to preserve history for the future. Marylin only sells through markets so she can be with the customers, rather than “behind a machine”. You can contact her at marylotte@gmail.com



SEWING TODAY from the past to the future Words by Lisa Cole

Penrith-based Rita Williamson is a designer who uses traditional processes of pattern cutting with very modern fabrics. Like Marylin, Rita started sewing amazing outfits for her dolls when she was a child. She says that only the scale is different; now she designs wacky outfits for dancers and performers. Fabric technology has changed in her time though, whilst originally the only glamorous or exotic option to cotton was crimplene. “I started sewing dance costumes about fifteen years ago, and finding stretchy, interesting fabric was still a bit of a challenge. These days with changes in technology, the range of fabric available is astonishing, and with the rise of the internet shopping they are readily available, so my work has become easier, and my creativity can be a little more out there.” Rita says that understanding human bodies, their shape and how they move, will always remain essential. Sewing machines still operate the same way, with the top and bottom thread making a stitch. Technology is changing though, and she doesn’t think it will be too long before we will be able to 3D print a fancy frock at the press of a button. Although Rita loves brand new fabric, there is a big second hand market for good dance costumes. She spends a lot of time altering and repairing old costumes. She also saves scraps from every costume she makes, and has a 30 year old stash she describes as a hoard. She recently created a line of dance skirts that incorporated these scraps, alongside old buttons and gems. The original idea was to save the scraps from the bin, but her customers love to know the fabric in their costume came from the remnants of other performers’ outfit. So, even with modern fabrics and clever sewing machines, it seems that people still want some history in their clothing. Rita Williamson can be found at www.ritawilliamsondesigns.co.uk and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RitaWilliamsonDesigns



The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective: re-thinking used fabrics and the power of a digital community Words by Melanie Brummer In 2016, I was gifted a stash of cloth from a deceased estate. It was a motley selection of colours, prints, weaves and knits. I looked at it for some time wondering what to do with it. I wanted to do something meaningful with it. I came up with a plan. I offered the fabric to two hundred makers around the world to transform it into finished items. Before sending the fabric to them, I lovingly upcycled the fabric with a new coat of colour and prints, using my own hand-carved lino stamps. In a very short time, I had two hundred people keen to participate and had to find a way to handle the logistics of the project. This is where the Up-Cycled Cloth Collective was born. I created a Facebook group where we could talk about the project and develop further what our purpose is. We are hoping to rewrite the narrative about upcycled textiles and fibres. Common social perception is that anything recycled still looks as if it belongs in the garbage. Our group is re-framing that perception, as we show people inventive ways to upcycle their fabrics into items that are both useful and beautiful. We are inviting people to re-look at how they use, re-use and dispose of textiles and garments. We are re-framing the conversation in a positive way, and leading by example with inspiring ideas and community support. We are showing the world how each individual can be the change he or she wants to see in society. Our culture is inclusive and we hope that the ideas that we generate will go viral. The biggest surprise to me so far has been the growing membership of Facebook group. Since January we have already grown to more than ten thousand members. We have added the Words Project so that more people in the group can really get involved. Every day we get fantastic feedback about how the ideas in the group are going viral in magical ways. Here are some examples from our members: “I just wanted to share my good news... In the past month I have started running creative textile workshops at a local community centre, and doing talks on wool processing and vintage knitting to local craft and community groups. Finally, today I had my first stall at a local Rag Market selling some of my creative works and craft materials I no longer need. There was a time that I thought my ill health would prevent me from doing these things again. But being part of a group that is so inspiring has really helped. So thank you for setting up the group and sharing your skills with us all.” Angela Ansell “My sewing class took a whole new direction... We applied for a creative communities grant, to start a community drop-in class for people wanting to learn how to sew. We are making up packs with simple items, bags, slippers that teach basic skills and are made from recycled clothes. These packs will be achievable in one session, and each will show a different skill, straight sewing, pattern reading, zips, buttonholes etc. We are hoping to get a donated sewing machine, too. Because of this piece of fabric, I looked at many impossible things that somehow seemed possible... Thank you.” Sandie Fletcher So far I have sent out seventy parcels of cloth. While some have been lost in transit, the majority are arriving at their destinations. We have received around thirty submission so far. You can view the archive of finished projects at this link: www.melanie-brummers-academy.thinkific.com/courses/ up-cycled-cloth-collective-contributions/ The project is led by volunteers. If you would like to help us crowdfund this project click through to this link to select a coupon that fits your budget: www.melanie-brummers-academy.thinkific.com/bundles/ up-cycled-cloth-collective



“Vamos a contar mentiras”

Designer, Mariana López Henen- CEO of The Ocean Corner Photography, Sara Fraile Iglesias Model, Gigi Piece created in Plymouth, UK. Photo shooting in London, UK.

Dress by The Ocean Corner

This dress is called Vamos a Contar Mentiras and the name it taken from a song in my childhood. It is part of Blue is for girls!, which is a project by The Ocean Corner, a social enterprise. This dress was a result of a collaboration by women working for the oceans in Science and Art and was funded by Royal Society of Arts England. Using creativity to teach about our big blue. The dress talks about the destruction of Posidonia seagrass meadows in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, the past and future of the underwater landscape. It’s about life and death. It is a remembrance, of those endless summer days by the Mediterranean Sea. I remember seeing the Posidonia carpeting the sandy floor. I loved spending hours wearing the snorkeling mask looking at the underwater creatures. I have listened to the stories of fishermen using the grass as an antibacterial or fish container. I have seen animals being fed or plants fertilised with it. Now all of this has almost disappeared. I grew up surrounded by a colourful and rich underwater world. My Mediterranean is dying. I do still dive in in but the colourful creatures are very different. They are made of plastic, rubber or fabric. Sometimes, I cannot help but to visualise its future as a grey, empty, sad and confusing space. Vamos a contar mentiras represents the past and future of our oceans if we do not stop disrespecting our sea. “You are going to inherit a beautiful planet” my parents once said to me. Somehow, today I feel that they lied. Mentira is the word for Lie in my native language, Spanish. Description of the piece: This is a wedding dress from the sixties upcycled with 220 pieces of marine debris, from the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. I personally collected all the items featured in this dress on the beaches. The dress was sewn with invisible thread by hand. It includes Posidonia balls, skeletons of pink sea fun corals, fishing lines, pieces of fabric, plastic toys, plastic fishes, fishing nets, bones, feathers.

For me, upcycling second-hand and vintage clothes with marine litter, is the best way to be a sustainable fashion designer. I want to use what has already been produce and keep an elegant balance between the garment and the litter element of my work is my purpose. Humans as well as the oceans have beautifully crafted these objects that were left behind. All these objects have their own past stories. I find the garments in second-hand shops around the globe and the marine litter in the beach in the Atlantic or Mediterranean shores. I never alter a piece of marine debris, it comes to my hands already exquisitely modeled by the sea, salt, sun and time. My mission is to change the way the world sees its waste by using fashion to spread awareness of issues that are challenging our blue planet. Your trash is my treasure.


Website: www.theoceancorner.org Facebook: @theocean.corner

“My work is about divulgation of water pollution by plastic and fashion industries. I do upcycle vintage clothes with marine litter that I collect beachcleaning the Atlantic and Mediterranean.” #slowfashion #waterislife

I love to imagine the secret journeys of lost and found objects on the beach. Long distance travellers. Buoyant salty messengers. Reshaped by the sea, sun and time. I love to imagine the human lives behind pre-loved vintage garments. The names, voices or bodies of whoever has ever worn them. Their secrets are my inspiration. I collect them all. They share my atelier. I can hear their whispers, laughs and conversations. Sometimes, they fell in love with each other. Then, my job is to stitch them together. To give them a new life story. I sew the memory of water.






INNOVATIVE TEXTILES Today is Silk, Tomorrow is Milk Words by Jessie Hembery Photography by QMilk Cheaper than the production of silk, but feels just as smooth, soured milk is making waves across the fashion industry. German company QMilk has utilised milk leftovers to make a cheap and sturdy fabric from the fibres that can be harvested due to the two million tonnes of discarded milk that fail to pass Germany’s regulatory standards. Founded by Anke in the hope of creating an allergen free fabric for her step-father, the company was built from the ground up with equipment bought from a local grocery store, initially costing no more than €200. Today, this innovative idea has formed into producing a competitive material that is cheaper than silk and more environmentally friendly, all while retaining the smooth and flowing textures that are synonymous with this fabric.

compostable element is a simple and effective solution to the problem if the mindset of millions cannot be changed. (For an interesting read go to: www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/news/ latest-news/2017/06-04-2017) By using soured milk, the protein can be easily extracted and the liquid discarded. This allows the protein to be mixed as a powder with water, which is then passed through what Anke has described as a massive noodle machine. This machine pipes out the textile fibres through tiny holes to create the yarn; this begins the process and depending how the fibre is spun it can be used to create heavier materials as well as a soft jersey that is akin to silk.

When asked if she thinks more companies should be investing in greener technologies, it becomes clear that she absolutely believes in them. The QMilk production has an personal important connection with Anke due to her step-father’s illness. She explained “…we only have one world and we are doing this for our future. Plus, we get a pay back, because the number of allergens are increasing every year.” So, while this company has developed a strong duty of care for the world around us, its scientific developments have aided those who suffer from being in contact with certain materials and fabrics that have undergone processes such as bleaching.

The environmental impact of QMilk is seemingly second to none. However, stringent activists will claim the opposite, highlighting that traditional milk production within itself does not share in this eco-ethos. For instance, there are over 1.8 million cows in the UK; let’s focus on the amount of water this takes up in terms of food and drink for them. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, daily water intake per cow can range between 3-30 gallons, depending on different variables such as weight, age and weather circumstances. Further to this, and probably the most talked about, is the release of methane from these animals. This gas is 23 times more harmful than the infamous greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. According to Carbon Trust reports undertaken in 2011, the dairy sector was responsible for 15.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year; this data includes transport, distribution, process and end use. Therefore, whilst the non-food milk that can’t be consumed isn’t going to waste some will argue that dairy production as a whole, has an adverse effect on the environment.

QMilk passed the sustainable technology test through its scrupulous trial and error phase, which was undertaken in order to ensure that this material is economic, ecologic and social sustainability. As well as talking us through this, Anke explained that because people have only recently started to be more environmentally progressive, the company wouldn’t have been successful ten years ago. Anke describes QMilk’s success and the impact that it has had in the world: “QMilk has an ecological impact, because it upcycles nonfood milk, which is a worldwide problem... It’s a clean process, zero waste and 100% natural, plus the final product is home compostable. It has also an economic impact, because there is finally a solution for non-food milk. Plus, there is already a fibre gap [in the market]. And it’s growing. We have to look for new resources to create fibres from. It has a social impact, because we can support farmers on something they put their heart into… plus they can earn some revenue for this nonfood milk, which also supports them. As we only use 100% natural ingredients we hope to also support people that suffer from allergies by creating clothing that they can wear.”

So, though QMilk is leagues ahead from the damaging process of yielding and manufacturing popular textiles such as cotton, there is still plenty of refinement, which is why research and development is always an ongoing process. With QMilk harbouring such important proteins and over 200 vitamins, this company has spotted a niche that not only produces perfect fabrics that are comfortable and versatile, but also something that aims to stop environmental and social depredation. As it stands, fashion is currently the second most polluting industry in the world and Anke hopes that the future of fashion will be more open for new and innovative materials. The founder of this pioneering company also believes that the industry will only take a great step forward when people stop comparing new technologies to old; she urges the norm to step aside so that new technologies can take centre stage.

So not only is the company supporting farmers’ native to their country, rather than outsourcing at a cheaper rate, but it is upcycling a liquid that would usually go to waste. This method of milk fibre production drastically cuts down on water usage, using only two litres of water to produce up to one kilogram of fabric. This is extremely good in comparison to water consumption in cotton production, for example, which requires on average 2700 litres of water per t-shirt, according to WWF statistics (see here www.worldwildlife.org/ stories/the-impact-of-a-cotton-t-shirt).

Who knew that discarded milk could mean a breakthrough in the future of our clothes? With better exposure of cuttingedge companies such as this and their products, we could be seeing more green within our own wardrobes. The Waldegg Milk Study Bag has proven that conscious can be beautiful and that we don’t have to exploit the planet to own the bags, coats and shoes that we all love to indulge in. Over the coming year, we can expect to see plenty from this company

Further to this, the fibres have strong antibacterial properties as well as being light wearing, temperature regulating and flame resistant. A study by Sainsbury’s has highlighted that this year’s spring cleaners were predicted to throw away over 235 million items of clothing, which end up in our landfills; the



as it continues to develop. With a Winter 2018 collection in the pipeline we’ll be seeing an abundance of products that continue to promote a better way of taking from mother mighty planet earth. Anke has dreams of building an entire house made from QMilk technologies, claiming that it’s completely feasible. It isn’t just the fashion world that they aim to conquer; due to the complex durability of the protein, a multitude of products can be created and they hope to be able to supply not only fabrics for clothes but paper, tissue and non-woven materials. With more companies designing new ways to battle the problems we are currently facing in the industry, from bleaching and dying to cheap labour and transportation, we are seeing a shift in the way people make their purchasing choices. Through the promotion of QMilk and more, we hope to see a community of fashionistas that are consuming materials that hope to keep our planet looking its best.

MILK: SOME FACTS - In the UK, the government determines that food becomes former foodstuffs when they have passed their use by date, are visually imperfect of have damaged packaging or are spoiled, mouldy or decomposing. This gives no regard to the millions of food products wasted year on year knowing that there are technologies in place to re-use, recycle and repurpose. - Casein is the protein found in milk and is most commonly used in this process for by-products - A study from 2003 by Audic, Chaufer and Daufin in Le Leit (now known as the Journal of Dairy Science and Technology) found that whilst milk and other dairy products are mainly sourced for food, the product that cannot be ingested can be used in the manufacture of textile fibres, in the form of plastic, glue, or in the production of ethanol or methane. This idea is not a new, however, it has been found that the Ancient Egyptians were also fond of this technology. Early casein preparation was very similar to what it is now, and began with soured milk or cheese. After removing any unwanted fat and water it was subjected to a large boiling process which would remove residue water and denature the protein. (source: “Non-food applications of milk components and dairy co-products: A review”) - Casein is a natural protein that is found in cow’s milk and can be utilised to create many different items. In 1935, Ferretti patented the process of spinning these fibres in an acidic bath along with inorganic salts. It was trademarked in the UK under Fibrolane. The fibres that were produced as a result of this resembled wool and were largely manufactured throughout the Second World War, being mixed with actual wool, viscose, rayon and cotton. However, this process isn’t as popular nowadays compared to the low-cost manufacture of many other synthetic fibres. - A 2016 study by Guo and Wang titled “Milk Protein Polymer and Its Application in Environmentally Safe Adhesives: Review” in Polymers Science Journal highlights that milk protein components, along with many other naturally produced polymers, such as starch and tree gum, exhibit excellent adhesive properties, making it a big all-rounder. Natural adhesives such as this are renewable and environmentally friendly. Highlighting that no matter how you produce non-food milk, it is never biologically damaging. However, this review states that synthetic petroleumbased resins for the use of adhesives will continue to dominate due to their quick and low-cost manufacturing regardless of their effects on the environment and human health.


- The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations have documented in “Global Food Losses and Food Waste” that for all developing regions there is a massive wastage of milk during the postharvest and distribution stage. Industrialised areas such as Europe, North America and Oceania are wasting 40-65% of all milk that can actually be consumed, let alone what can’t. (source: www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf)

Website: www.qmilkfiber.eu Facebook: @QmilkFiber Instgram: @qmilk_cosmetics Twitter: @Qmilk_info





In Search of Comfort, Easy-care and Elegance Interview by Naina Bajaria Photography by Elia Palange Model: Stéphanie Johnson

The maker

Liga Lielepetere, the founder of LL Knittings, is always looking for a comfortable and elegant combination in her wardrobe. Her aim is to design a kind of knitwear that is comfortable to wear and easy to care for.

About the items “The grey jumper, which I named ‘RIB Jumper’, is probably my favourite piece in the collection. The pattern for this jumper is quite difficult to make as I use a simple hand knitting machine not an industrial machine. It took me many hours and days to find the right technique, but my hand machine helps to give the knitwear a more handmade look, which is the result I want and love. The round cardigan is from my other bestselling cardigan. The design is very special because of its elegance, lightness, unity and flowing lines. And I adore the combination of Super Kid Mohair and Silk. It’s a win win combination, as it achieves a light but warm and comfortable piece of knitwear.”

About sustainable fashion “The fashion industry is the fastest growing in the world and it reflects our thoughts and actions in real life. Behind every stitch and seam stand real people with their own passions and fears. I love independent designers, they are my inspirations. They use their own colour and pattern combinations that are not dictated from the heads of fashion and the big labels. My contribution would be not to pollute the environment with unnecessary garments that lose their shape and quality after the first wash. This might be unthinkable from a business point of view, but I truly believe that less is more; have one good jumper than five “poor quality” jumpers.”

 FIND IT ONLINE Facebook: @llknittings





Building a Community through Sustainable Yarn, One Knit at the Time Interview by NSN Photography by Wool and the Gang We had the pleasure to meet Clara, PR & Social Media Associate at Wool and the Gang, some time ago over coffee in central London. We really enjoyed learning more about how Wool and the Gang develops their yarns and the philosophy that drives this company forward. It is beautiful to see a company that also builds a community around ethical principles, which are not only focused on sustainably sourcing the yarn, but also taking a holistic look at knitting as a process that helps us relax and go back to making by hand, with great satisfaction, items of clothing and accessories that we find comfortable and beautiful at the same time. Many thanks also to the founders of Wool and the Gang who took the time to answer our questions.

What kind of wool do you sell? Where does it come from? Who spins it? What steps do you take to ensure that the wool you sell is sustainable? Our woollen yarns are 100% natural, and produced in Peru. When we first started our woolly adventure we travelled to Peru to meet our suppliers and farms to ensure the production process, environment and animal conditions matched with the values and morals of the Gang. Great care is taken with each step of manufacturing our yarns, right from the fleece through to the yarn, and there are a number of steps we take to ensure the process is sustainable. Some of these include, using renewable energy sources to power the yarn process, using low impact dyes, upcycled materials, and sourcing our fleeces from animals who are taken great care of. The first yarn we created was our chunky Crazy Sexy Wool, which comes from the fleece of sheep raised in the Peruvian highlands, by small family farms. These areas are also the home to alpacas who produce the fleece that becomes our Sheepaca and Wooly Bully yarns, which are a blend of alpaca and merino wool - the merino is sourced from Uruguay. Once our woolly friends have been shorn, the yarn tops are dyed (using low impact dyes certified by both REACH and Oeko Tex), and then spun into our soft and chunky yarn. What about animal welfare, especially when the wool comes from faraway places, how do you ensure that animals are treated well? We care deeply about the animals involved in our yarn production and the way they are treated. We always make sure we are working with producers who take good care with breeding, shearing and the general welfare of their animals. We believe it’s our responsibility to source our wool from suppliers who look after their animals to protect them!


What other kinds of innovative fibres are you interested in as a company? We’re always on the look out for upcycling or recycling


100% renewable energy and uses 80% less water than cotton. The wood fibres from the eucalyptus trees are converted into pulp, which are then processed into the soft and silky yarn. Our Jersey Be Good t-shirt yarn is also upcycled using fashion off-cuts from fashion factories in Turkey, and our Billie Jean yarn is made from upcycled pre-consumer denim waste. I have read the founders of Wool and the Gang worked in the fashion industry for a long time, what are their views on the state of this industry, what changes would you make? There are too many negatives associated with fashion and I believe that people need to go back to the value and meaning of clothes. There are a lots of little actions we can take to help take care of our planet: smarter recycling, shopping with ethical brands who engrain sustainable principles, upcycling of clothes you no longer want to turn them into something new! With this in mind, we are one step closer to tackling the issue of mass consumer waste and the environmental impact of textile production. How can the slow fashion movement gain momentum and become more popular? I think people need to become more aware of the impact fast fashion is having on our planet and make a conscious effort to help slow it down. I also think it’s important for people to digitally detox and step away from their phones and indulge in a new craft or skill. The repetitive nature of knitting helps to focus the mind and relax and I believe the feeling of completing a garment, which is made from sustainably produced material, is completely infectious and rewarding. You’re a big company, what is the secret of your success? I can’t say we have a secret, but having a goal to achieve and aim for is so very important and also working with a Gang who are equally as passionate to become bigger and better! Our community of makers are also amazing and the Gang wouldn’t be complete without them.

opportunities, where a sustainable production method takes place. Something new and different, a fibre that is ultimately good for the environment and also a joy to work with. We’re interested in the practice of making yarn from waste materials from the fashion industry, can you tell us a little bit more about what the process involves? Who does it and where? Is it mainly a small-scale artisanal or a large-scale industrial process? Our Heal The Wool is a 100% recycled wool from Peru, made from the waste that is produced during the usual spinning and dyeing process of wool. We want to help reduce the environmental impact of textile production and give wool and second life, so we created this little gem using excess wool fibres which otherwise would go to landfill. Even better, every time someone buys the 100% recycled yarn, 30% goes straight to Friends of The Earth, helping them to transform our environment into one which is sustainable and socially just. We also have other upcycled yarns at the Gang besides wool. Our Tina Tape yarn for example fully embraces Mother Nature and we’re super pleased with how she turned out. Tina Tape is made from Tencel (happy tree fibres), one of the most environmentally-friendly fibres around, that’s made with



 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.woolandthegang.com Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest: @woolandthegang



A Creative Solution to the Environmental Cost of Advertising

Words by Jessie Hembery Since 2001, Barcelona-based brand Vaho has contributed to the wheels of change when it comes to the fashion industry. Instead of using new resources, Vaho takes old tyres and discarded advertising banners to create bags and accessories of all kinds that are stylish, colourful and sustainable. An idea that began as a few friends noticing an unwanted advert banner became an environmentally positive and commercially viable opportunity for design creatives. Marketing and advertising creates a massive waste problem, which is problematic especially when it comes to the disposal of certain materials, such as the plastic used to make banners. The plastic banners that we commonly see on the high street or at events (everywhere really!) have an extremely limited life span; sometimes they are discarded after one day! Vaho told us that, in the city of Barcelona alone, more than 284 tonnes of banners are produced and eventually disposed of every year. The banners are usually burned or buried. Vaho’s designers expertly craft unique items from old advertising banners that businesses no longer need. They have arrangements with museums, theatres and town halls across Spain to source all the advertising material that these organizations no longer need. These designers see this trash as an “ephemeral piece of art” that has the potential to be transformed into something beautiful and durable. Because of the uniqueness of the ‘raw materials’ used to produce these bags and accessories, each item has a different past and a different story to tell. Vaho prides itself to be pioneers in this sector as they have been around since the beginnings of the environmental movement. Vaho seems to be a company that has found a perfect compromise between fashion and environmental conscience. While sustainability is the central message of this brand, Vaho’s mission is to create a durable product that people can cherish, knowing that it will be distinctively yours. José from Vaho told us that the “Fargo” bag has to be one of their most popular items. This bag is practical and spacious, and can be doubled up as either a shoulder bag or a backpack. This is one company of many that is trying to take steps towards a better fashion industry. Making use of materials that we usually wouldn’t think of re-using is a creative and effective way of achieving this goal. Perhaps it’s time to make room in your wardrobe for some useful keepsakes that have the green seal of approval! www.vaho.es/en/




Of Hearth and Home The Textile Art of Louise O’Hara Words by Kate Stuart


s a child, I remember my father sending letters home to us, from whichever Navy ship he was on at the time, and every letter would have a little line drawing of a croft, nestled into a hillside, with a tree and a stream and a path to the door. When I first saw the art of Louise O’Hara, with her highly tactile painted and sewn landscapes, little white crofts and collaged bits of handwritten envelopes, they immediately brought Dad’s letters, and his drawings, to mind.

Wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy she first learnt about in 2003. Wabi-sabi focuses on accepting life as imperfect, transient and in its simplest form, celebrates aesthetics, which are worn, often through natural processes. Inspired by those surfaces touched by time, like peeling paint, by the ruggedness of landscape, and the beauty that comes from an object that shows wear, Louise takes all this and transfers it to her work. “I see a beauty” she says, “in something that may first appear decrepit, weather beaten and abandoned. These are the textures I want to record.”

Louise O’Hara began her career as a mixed media textile artist with a BA and MA in Fashion and Textiles, before pursuing a teaching career. After 12 years of teaching she made the decision to become a full time practising artist and now shows her work in galleries across the country. Inspired by the work of Jasper Johns, Joseph Cornell and Mimmo Rotella, with their use of found objects, collage and paint, Louise quickly linked her love of textiles to a need to convey a connection to place and memory through used and often threadbare household textiles. Using reclaimed cloth and objects is integral to her creative life now, and her studio, she tells me, is “filled to the rafters with items often overlooked in everyday life” – buttons, vintage fabrics, rusty bottle tops. Collecting items from flea markets, charity shops, online auction sites and even unwanted family heirlooms, Louise speaks passionately about why they are important in her work.

Studio - Buttons

Interestingly, Louise tells me she does not intend for her work to tell her story, but rather to give space for reflection of the viewers’ own personal stories, and perhaps to allow these landscapes of collected objects and handmade vintage fabrics to whisper their own tales too. “I like the idea that someone has taken time to make something by hand…I imagine the conversations whilst they were

“Part of the attraction” she tells me, “was they were threadbare, worn and had had a previous life with stories to tell.” Letting the materials dictate the direction of her work is important in her creative process so it’s no surprise to find that Louise embraces

‘As far as the eye could follow’

Studio - Desk



being made and I feel all these stories become ingrained and captured in each piece. By using these fabrics, I feel I am... breathing new life into them so… their memories live on in my work and hopefully evoke memories in the people that see my work.” Louise is clear on her connection with the land she portrays, but prefers not to be “anchored to one landscape”. She instead takes inspiration from many locations. This is intentional on her part, so that her landscapes, with their little houses, heavy skies, and colourful mountain scenes offer “a safe place, an anchor, a comfort blanket of nostalgia, a traditional timelessness of hearth and home” and give the viewer a chance to “reminisce about [their own] memories.” Indeed, as she explains, “through Wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time… the cycle of growth, decay and erosion.” Louise’s work certainly conveys this, and perhaps something more - through her process and artistic intention, she grants space to bring the viewer’s story to her work and to “evoke memories of the viewer’s life” - like mine of my Dad and his letters home; and perhaps that is ultimately where the greatest beauty is. After all, none of our stories are complete, all are changing as we go, and somehow connecting with the soft threads of handmade lace, the handwritten letters, the lost button, items that have belonged and had stories of their own, can remind us to see beauty in the memories that don’t change, as well as the tangible objects that do.

‘As far as the eye could follow’

‘At Christmas time’

 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.louiseohara.co.uk Email: www.art@louiseohara.co.uk Facebook: @LouiseOHaraArt Pinterest: Louise O’Hara Art Instagram: @louiseoharaart




Travelogue: Making Sustainable Connections Words by Pam Newton Photography by Clare Hedges, Debbie Lyddon and Pam Newton


o make and use natural colours is an essential part of my work. Travel features in this too; it involves soaking up the landscapes and capturing the essence of a place through the flora, fauna and fungi. I am also drawn to those ‘marks’ in the landscape that create a unique identity of place. I need to explore this concept more within my work: what gives a place its identity? In July 2017, I travelled in my 1993 Mitsubishi campervan with Indigo, my faithful companion. There is something exciting about the potential of a journey. The purpose of this trip is to experience and interpret the Norfolk coastline, on the east side of the UK. This experience will be developed later into some preparatory work for the final year of a textile degree. There are some special visits planned too, but I only have a week! The love of traditional crafts, producing work from the raw materials to the processed finish, had led me to consider the finishing touches, the trimmings. How are they made, and by whom? How sustainable are they? So I became interested in learning more about passementerie; the art of making braids, trims, cords and tassels. I decided to spend a few days with Clare Hedges, who inherited the skills of this craft from her father, along with some exquisite catalogues. Made mainly for the interior market, Clare’s work is often connected with heritage. Her work involves reconstructing the trims and finishes in restorative projects such as the furnishings in historical homes. The materials are predominantly natural, being originally made before synthetics, and can involve many processes, with the braids being woven using a specially adapted loom. With no instructions left, Clare must sometimes painstakingly deconstruct small remnants to understand how they were made. This enables her to authentically ‘repair’ or offer an alternative to the damaged piece. I reluctantly left Clare, but enjoyed working my way towards the coastline at Hunstanton. Soaking up the landscape, walking some of the Norfolk coastal path each day, the sights and sounds flooding my senses. One of those experiences was with Old Hunstanton cliffs. The depth of colours took my breath away. I traced the lines of erosions with my fingers and smelled the powdery residue left under the touch. The wind whipped through like a knife, slicing each moment into a slow-motion film of the experience. With some photographs and a small amount of pigments from the eroding cliffs, I travelled on to meet Debbie Lyddon, an artist who shares my passion for sustainably using the found materials. As we explored Debbie’s work, the beautiful collages, sketchbooks, writings and final art pieces, the idea of ‘connectivity’ became apparent. How can we connect with a place? Debbie works with the natural elements of bitumen, chalk, wax and salt to make her marks and process the cloth. Her work often involves using materials that have been left in the sea and/or exposed to the elements. Her association with the Norfolk coast is seen through her own personal history of sailing, often using canvas as her base material. The artist creates her unique


interaction with the coastline. Always conscious of working with appropriate materials found locally, Debbie sources pigments, now lying fallen on the shore, eroded from the cliffs. Collecting only what she needs, she produces work that will in time be returned to nature. I finished my week of travels with a visit to the Cley17 Exhibition, aptly named “Connectivity”, which took place in a dramatic medieval church. Having ambled down a short country lane, I felt an immediate connection with the exhibition and its location. What struck me was the peacefulness but brightness as the sun filtered through the stained-glass windows, yet without the formidability that I had come to expect from older ecclesiastical buildings. Debbie Lyddon’s contribution, a collection of beautifully crafted vessels, was arranged to reflect her previous musical background and crafted to express her connection with the coastline and its characters. Debbie explained to me that, while she was working by the sea,






she experienced the wind whipping through the vessels, giving a beautiful sound, as if it was pipes playing in a very spontaneous, natural musical performance. Many artists like Debbie make a connection with the landscape using the materials it produces, and also by taking inspiration from the marks left by people or nature. Developing a sustainable practice with a circular life, Debbie consciously makes her work so that it can be returned to nature for the next generation to enjoy. In this journey, I had every minute filled with inspiration; there is always so much to see when visiting new places! I headed back home with my identity transformed by the Norfolk coastline and the enriching experience of visiting artists who introduced me to new ways of thinking and connecting with our landscape and heritage.

IN THE PICTURES: 1. Church Clay 2. Pigments of Old Hunstanton cliff 3. Liminal Objects Blow Holes 4. Liminal Objects Sea Purses 5. Chalk Ground Linen, wire, hand collected and hand ground chalk 200 x 25 cm 6. Ground Cloth Coil 7. Bitumen Buckets Canvas, Stockholm tar, saltwater, found threads 8. Chalk ground detail 9. Acorns on bed

More information about the work of Clare Hedges can be found at www.clarehedges.com. Debbie Lyddon can be contacted through her website www.debbielyddon.co.uk.

10. Zara button












Land Art: `Fully Empty, Emptily Full’ Words by Rosa Rossi Photography by Elia Palange


here is a path that leads approximately one kilometre through the woods, from the entrance of the estate to the area which is set up for a floral art course run by Alessia Taurchini, Freelance Floral Designer and alumni of Peter Hess’s School in Basel, Switzerland. The woods have only been subtly attended to, just enough to still make it feel like you really are in the middle of the forest. On either side of the path, nature is free to take its course. It is a splendid October day, and as we walk, we are accompanied by the crunching of chestnuts as they drop to earth among the grass, leaves, and mushrooms, and by the sudden rustling of branches and leaves, already tinged with autumn. Along the way, we come across some works of art which blend in perfectly with their surroundings. They are art installations, and some are completely camouflaged. At the heart of these works is the idea of using everything from nature that would have otherwise moved to the next stage in its life cycle, to death and rebirth. Materials salvaged without any negative impact on the environment have been used to make artworks that were created and now live on in the same place. And so, the woods have become a kind of open-air museum.

Out of the pieces created, we have chosen Cecilia’s work. Simple yet calculated, it plays with the concepts of empty and full, enhancing the shape of the initial ‘leaf’. Because of this, we felt it was the work that best captured the spirit of the course and the autumn season, but also because of the ‘colourless colour’ of the lianas which, if desired, could be brightened up by adding berries, fruits, or leaves.

PHOTOS: Nature, art and craftmanship: nature takes the undisputed lead with the focus on this chestnut tree trunk, sculpted by the years and decorated with ivy (centre); the artist interprets nature with a spiral of creepers gathered from the woods (left); the craftsperson uses nature to create a bench (right). A composition study of shape: a long, rather thick, creeper inspired Cecilia to think of the stylised shape of a leaf. This was the starting point for her study of empty and full, a compensation and balancing act of sorts, a free interpretation of the Yin-Yang of ancient Chinese philosophy.

These are all works that Alessia Taurchini created, along with Fabio Pedone, Mauro Arnesano, Tilde Martino, Anna Albano, and Helen Matseva. Alessia spent months preparing the necessary materials, and the group worked ten whole days on-site at the Sant’Egidio estate in Soriano nel Cimino (Lazio, Italy). The estate has become an ‘educational forest’ thanks to the hard work of its owners who have saved, tidied up and organised it, making a large part of the ancient Monte Cimino beech forest available to visitors.

Empty and full: Cecilia used fine lianas and blades of grass to fill up one half of the leaf. Its chiaroscuro effect is complete when the work is finished and suspended in the air, invisibly fastened to a branch.


: Tools: pruning shears, pincers, baskets for gathering materials. Materials: lianas, grass, iron wire.

The route from the entrance to the reception area and workshops is the ideal home for the pieces, which are perfectly in keeping with the principles of Land Art. Emerging at the end of the sixties, this movement gained ground as the gulf widened between humankind and nature, the result of ‘progress’ and the delusions dragged along with it. Scrambling along the paths towards the top of the mountain, the chestnut trees make way for beech trees. The surroundings are pristine and nature is the one and only showstopper. At this level, the combination of the work of nature, and the artistic (or even artisanal) work of humankind, is in perfect harmony with the whole setting. A natural respect is inspired in observers who are able to immerse themselves completely in nature. Some chestnuts and walnuts can be collected; mushrooms must be treated with respect; creepers, pieces of bark, fallen branches, leaves, some twigs picked straight from the trees - they all become precious booty for the two days of the course. Of course, it goes without saying that in the woods, gathering materials is already an adventure in itself. After the walk, the wanderers return laden with their precious hoards and get to work.

Empty and full



Nature, art and craftmanship


A composition study of shape


Alexia Taurchini Facebook: @alessia.taurchini Email: alessia. taurchini@libero.it Peter Hess: www.atelier-5.ch Tenuta Sant’Egidio Facebook: @tenutasantegidio



VEGETARIAN CHICKPEA BURGERS Recipe by Cake Party Photography by Elia Palange Cake Party is the alter ego of freelance cook and pastry chef Nausicaa Frusi. Based in the Milan area, she also caters for events further afield both big and small. Intrigued by Nausicaa’s mastery and her passion for organic produce and recipes suitable for a vegetarian diet, we asked her to share some tasty seasonal recipes. She has now become a valued magazine collaborator. Nausicaa created this recipe as she spent a period of time lending her services to No Serial Number Magazine, at our Italian editorial HQ in Navelli (Abruzzo, Italy). Navelli is an agricultural area, located 700 metres above sea level, high up on a hill. For this recipe, we have used typical local products. In particular, we used local chickpeas (both red and white), potatoes, and onions, which are traditionally grown in the area. The olive oil is also local - an abundance of olive groves can be found on the eastern slope of the hill on which the town is perched. And finally, the eggs and thyme are also local. Thyme is a common Mediterranean plant that is easy to find if you go on a walk between May and July. It can also be dried and stockpiled. Chickpeas, potatoes, and onions keep well in between harvests, even if the potatoes do tend to wither a bit (from the photo you can see we have used a potato from last season. However, in keeping with tradition, we prefer to use zero km potatoes rather than resorting to supermarket produce which would undoubtedly come from much further away). Our advice is to use local produce wherever possible, or at least organically grown produce. Of course, if this isn’t possible you can still experiment with the recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Version A - with red chickpeas and thyme • • • • • • • • •

200g dried chickpeas, put to soak the previous evening and boiled for approximately two hours half a red onion 300g boiled potatoes (approximately) 1 egg salt to taste pepper to taste olive oil, as needed breadcrumbs, as needed chopped thyme

Version B - with white chickpeas and curry • • • • • • • • •

200g dried chickpeas, put to soak the previous evening half a red onion 300g boiled potatoes (approximately) 1 egg salt to taste pepper to taste olive oil, as needed breadcrumbs, as needed curry powder

METHOD: Transfer the boiled chickpeas to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and thyme. Mash the potatoes on a plate. Mix the mashed chickpeas with the other ingredients. If the mixture is too soft then you can add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs (or chickpea flour if you have an intolerance). Mix well and form the mixture into burgers. Once ready, place them in a frying pan with a drop of oil and cook on both sides until the burgers are cooked through. Serve with a fresh salad, vegetables dressed with a vinaigrette, or stir-fried vegetables. (Alternatively, they go well with the tomato foam we served up in the Autumn 2017 issue). For Version B: substitute the thyme for a teaspoon of curry powder.



 FIND IT ONLINE Website: www.cakeparty.it Facebook: @cakepartyitalia Instagram: @cake.party.mi





New Directions in the Ink Industry

Featuring: • Living Ink • The Refill Revolution • Snact • Leftover Pie

Hi Scott, thanks so much for agreeing to answer a few questions for No Serial Number Magazine. First of all, how did you get to study algae and how did you get into ink? My dad is a professor of plant biology here at Michigan State University so I grew up learning science all the time. I have always been interested in pursuing science but I never gave too much thought about algae until I was first year student in college and needed to gain some experience and make a little bit of money and so the only position open was a job to study algae. At the time studying algae was more for ecological reasons, so understanding why there are algal blooms and why these harm ecosystems, but I learnt a lot about algae and became fascinated by what they can do just by using sunlight to create a material essentially.

Project for the Planet: • Riverwood Acoustics • 22 Degrees • Sustain

Tell me more about these algal blooms... People are starting to realise that we can take this idea of algae growing really fast and turn it into domesticated systems. We can use the algae for products, such as biofuels, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and in our case, ink. Biofuels are a huge challenge as there’s a lot of fuel being used. Algae are a potential solution but not that profitable right now because while we need trillions and trillions of gallons of petroleum for fuel, we only need millions or billions of pounds for ink. So, one day I was shopping for a greeting card at one of our local stores here in Colorado and noticed that there was just a lot of colour on the cards. It was one of those moments… I went into the molecular biology of it and thought, wait, what is ink? I have no idea what ink is so I did some research and found out that ink is mostly a petroleumbased product. The pigments are petroleum; a lot of the base that carries those pigments is also petroleum. So I thought, could we use algae as an ink replacement? I could literally see algae glued on paper or cardboard. It’s been fun to get into the ink industry and understand all the challenges. It’s been a weird evolution from biology, into algae and then into ink. What kind of colours can you make with ink? Do you have a full palette? Right now, we’re using natural colours so we’ve got blues and orange. We’ve developed black from the algae pigment. Obviously there’s a lot of green. Part of what our company is doing in the next two years is basically to develop cyan, magenta, and yellow. Once we have these colours we can mix those pigments to get a lot more colours. Right now, we have flexographic and offset ink formulations. For the flexographic ink, we have just done a first run on a commercial printer, which is a water-based flexographic printer. Half the ink was water and the other about 25% was made of algal cells. The other components were just additives to make things more or less viscous. So at the end of this process we want to have



a full colour palette. We are also developing a variety of different inks. One of the misconceptions that people have is that once you’ve got the ink you have everything. Really though, it depends on the substrate you’re printing on, the machine that you’re using to print etc. so there are a lot of variables that go into what the ink formulation is.

for companies looking for just kind of a flyer or a postcard with a really sustainable ink, which has a 90% better carbon footprint than most inks. Then we have one that has 50% or 60% better carbon footprint but it’s waterproof, you can’t rub it off but it’s less sustainable because we’ve put more components to make it do what it needs to do in terms of toxicity, we’re making inks that are completely biodegradable; they’re not biodegradable over a thousand of years but within literally days or months after being used. One of the problems that we identified in the ink industry is that there aren’t many super biodegradable types of ink and we know that ours is. It’s a sustainability story but also for larger companies is a marketing story, in the sense of ‘hey, you can take our box and in the compost pile will completely biodegrade, you don’t have to worry about the safety of the chemicals’.

In our magazine, we talk a lot about heritage, so I wanted to ask you if there’s a particular tradition that inspired the use of algae? No, not really. It’s kind of funny because you know when you got back to what ink was, like thousands of years ago natural colours were used. There wasn’t really petroleum back then. So in some ways we’re going back to making things more naturally but as far as I know no one has ever used algae before. However, there’s some trade outs for what we’re doing. For example, we don’t use ink on billboards because if you leave the ink in sunlight for three hundred days, it will start to fade faster than petroleum. We also have a mission that says, maybe we should make products in the world, especially in terms of packaging and disposable products, that are meant to break down. Maybe everything shouldn’t be Styrofoam with petroleum ink so that lasts for hundreds and thousands of years. Maybe we should make a coffee sleeve and a coffee cup printed in ink that actually will fade in a couple of hours because that’s what we want it to do.

Are you planning to use ink as a replacement of the ink that I would use in the printer? Right now, that’s considered digital printing, and that’s about ten per cent of the printing market. However, that’s also the fastest and probably the only growing market in the ink industry. Packaging, consumers, everyone is going to go towards digital printing. For commercialisation, our end goal is to have inkjet ink or work with a large company like HP and Dell that have already printers out there and can get our ink into their printers.

How sustainable it is to use algae in a mass scale production? Where do you source you algae from and how sustainable it is to take it to large-scale production? We are working to refine all those numbers, i.e. carbon footprint. Right now we have sources that grow algae from all over the world, including Hawaii. One of the companies that we’re working with uses marine ocean water to grow the algae and then when they are done with the water, they put the water back in the ocean. In this way, we’re not using fresh drinkable water to grow these crops. So there’s a lot of work with the growers who are essentially algae farmers and they do a lot of work to do it more sustainably. At scale, traditionally 20% of ink isn’t the pigment so this is what we’re focused on. Traditionally, you’d pull oil out of the ground and turn it into ink. What we’re doing is, algae are like trees so they’re actually pulling carbon dioxide out of the air and turning it into the biomass that does the pigment. So we’re actually pulling carbon dioxide out of the air to make our products. I would say at a minimum, algae ink has a 60% better carbon footprint than traditional ink and that’s our least eco friendly ink product. I always say that we have these levers that we work on. We have one type of ink that’s literally algae, water and one other component. It will fade quickly, it might not be waterproof but it’s very sustainable. This ink is suitable

Who is your market? What has been the public’s feedback about this ink? The reaction has been good, I am sure that if you interview a lot of sustainable companies, they may say that everybody loves sustainability. People want to make the world safer, cleaner and the question is however, will they change their behaviour or will they pay for the sustainability? We are not going to make ink that is cheaper than petroleum ink because petroleum is so cheap and so plentiful. When I talk to people or give a talk, people love the idea of using biodegradable and sustainable materials but the jury is still out if it’s going to be successful in the long run, if people will want to buy it. In terms of businesses, really that’s what we’re focused on right now, i.e. doing packaging for large businesses because for them there’s not only the issue of sustainability, but also a marketing story. I think those companies have the resources to tell the marketing story and to use the product and have their customers really like that they use it. I guess the verdict is still out on individual consumers. It’s hard to be credible and change people’s behaviour. Get in touch with Living Ink via their website www.livingink.co and Instagram @livinginktech



ZERO WASTE SHOP www.therefillrevolution.com

Buying Bulk for the Community: Join the Refill Revolution Hi Brittney, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us at No Serial Number Magazine. When did you open your online shop and why? My online shop launched in June of this year. I started my shop because a lot of people around the US are fortunate enough to have access to bulk refill and zero waste stores in their town or somewhere nearby, but I realised there were still a lot of people in need of zero waste options. I realised my offering wasn’t the perfect solution but it was better than the alternative of having nothing.

the large containers, I then personally take them to our local recycling facility to avoid contamination and make sure they are properly recycled. We have an amazing recycling facility in Boulder! What were the main challenges you faced when you opened your online shop in terms of packaging? I am super lucky when it comes to my packaging materials, as I live five miles from one of the most eco-friendly suppliers of shipping materials in the US. I guess my largest challenge was trying to keep the costs low for my customers throughout the shipping process when I was paying more for eco-friendly materials. I think my customers and myself would both agree it’s worth to pay a little more to not receive a box full of plastic material.

I see that you’re based near Denver, Colorado, can you tell us something interesting about the place where live? I am based in Boulder, Colorado (close to Denver). Boulder was just voted the happiest city in the US! If you ever visit, you’ll understand why! Boulder is also located right on the front range of the mountains and 45 minutes from the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance. We are surrounded by so much beauty here!

What are the products that you’d like to sell but cannot currently stock due to packaging issues? I had a few issues when I was ordering some of my products through a distributor with their excessive, unnecessary packaging. Once it became clear to me that they weren’t going to switch their packaging options for whatever reason, I looked for those products elsewhere. I’ve been able to work directly with companies who are willing to adjust their packaging materials, if they don’t already ship eco-friendly.

Do you think people are becoming more and more ecoconscious in the areas where you live? What do you think it’s driving the change of mind-set? Definitely! Boulder, Colorado is labelled as a “zero-waste” community. Throughout the community you will see trash, recycle, compost stations. I think actions like this are bringing awareness to the community, as well as non-profit organisations in the area educating people on making less trash. We still have a long way to go, but I am confident we will keep making progress!

You recently told me that you’re opening a storefront, can you tell me a little bit about the journey from online store to physical shop? What encouraged you to take the leap? I just opened the doors to my storefront in Boulder, Colorado in November of 2017! I wanted to eliminate packaging as much as possible and I wanted to offer a space where people could come and fill their own containers as opposed to me sending the pouches. I knew I was (and still am) filling a gap for people in a lot of different areas by offering my refill pouch service, but to me it was ideal to offer a storefront for this type of service. I also wanted a low-waste resource/education centre in our community where we could host events and grow together.

Can you give me a brief description of the household products you sell and in what ways they are eco-friendly? I sell a lot of different household products, but the main bulk, household products I offer are: dish soap, dishwasher gel, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and laundry detergent. I purchase these from a plant-based company and receive them all in five gallon buckets… one large container is way better than hundreds of small ones! Once I am finished with







The Many Sides of the Zero Waste Battle By Paige Perillat-Piratoine

waste on a variety of levels and promotes circular systems of consumption, all while providing a well-rounded health snack. We need more companies like Snact who have the courage to take on so many challenges in one product.

Not all waste is created equal. Snact acts at the forefront of this recognition. While some types of waste are still very challenging to tackle and transform, other types can and should see a new life, immediately. As the Snact observed the fate of surplus fruit and vegetables in the UK, it also saw an opportunity: to recapture the valuable nutritional content of unwanted produce. The small company works with farmers and pack houses to divert their waste and transform discarded fruits and vegetables into healthy snacks. They are vegan and gluten free, and have no added sugars. This is already a novel position to take in the snack industry. Thanks to Snact and its consumers, produce can fulfill its purpose and provide energy to our bodies instead of being grown to be thrown. Not only, Snact goes beyond convention by crafting a snack that is additive and preservative free and made locally. In just nine months into their launch, the company’s packaging changed to a compostable wrap too.

To achieve this milestone, Snact partnered with TIPA: the manufacturer of this compostable solution. TIPA has made a point of creating a biofilm that works for the “real world” and that takes into account the challenges of manufacturing and shelf life. They have designed a biofilm that combines several qualities from sturdiness to flexibility, meaning it efficiently replaces non-degradable flexible plastic. That the packaging is “compostable” implies that it goes a step further than a biodegradable wrap. In home or industrial composting conditions the wrap will slowly decompose and have value as a fertiliser. Indeed, the plant-based source of some of these biopolymers is wood pulp and corn. TIPA makes a point of ensuring environmental responsibility along the supply chain from sourcing raw materials to delivery to the end users. In this partnership, materials and ingredients ride full circle, and the nutrient cycle continues uninterrupted. The repercussions of such practices in the industrial world are huge, more of this can help prevent landfill accumulation and repair our depleted soils.

This in itself is a big step for a social enterprise. Indeed as Marta, communications manager from Snact, puts it: “every innovation is a challenge, especially at first”. In practice, radical change often involves a risk, and if things do not go as planned, there is no rulebook to go by. In this specific situation, Snact’s packers were alien to this type of flexible wrapping material, and the simple act of adjusting machines to the new compostable packaging took some time. More specifically, the way the compostable material prints or seals in industrial machines is different to standard plastic wrapping. Just this slight change in material printability is a learning curve to overcome. Since there are so few companies providing compostable solutions, replacements are difficult to go by when and if something goes wrong. That learning curve can be a critical moment for a social enterprise in a competitive market. Still, while adopting this packaging was an expensive and potentially risky shift at first, the difference is negligible now that systems are in place as it effectively stands at one pence per unit. Snact can now boast to fight

Media coverage and challenges A recent issue that has received media attention might put into doubt the efforts of using this new type of packaging. In practice, customers tend to treat these wrappers as ordinary trash, and as a result the packaging still ends up in landfills where its decomposition leaks methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas, one which is produced by organic waste in general. This new fact might change perceptions about biodegradable or compostable plastics. Proper use of these wrappers would require responsible consumer behavior and more efficient waste systems to be put in place for safe decomposition to take place. This, however, is the case with all types of food or organic waste. Snact has an informative infograph on its website to educate customers about some of the consequences of proper triage. When asked about this media coverage, TIPA replied to us that their biodegradable packaging only leaks a very small amount of methane compared to other organic waste that ends up in landfills. Additionally, it breaks down much faster than other landfilled items. TIPA further questioned the whole issue of methane production by claiming that the newspapers seemed to have blown the issue out of proportion and explained that the real issue is that we should question the existence of general landfills in the first place. And with this last point, we wholeheartedly agree.

Articles worth reading The Guardian Online “The plastics problem: are natural alternatives doing more harm than good?” 31 October 2017 quick link: goo.gl/5iyTps




50% of food waste happens in the home. How is that a good thing? Anna Pitt’s book, Leftover Pie: 101 ways to reduce your food waste features recipes from chefs, bloggers and food waste campaigners and delves into the history of food waste, why it happens and what we can do about. Many people think food waste is the fault of bad weather or fussy supermarkets. In fact, more than half of food waste in the UK is actually in the home. Anna thinks that’s actually a good thing. Why? Because it means we all have the power to change it. We don’t need to wait for technology to fix the problem: we don’t need to go dustbin diving in supermarket car parks. We just need to value the food we buy. Anna says: “Whether cooking from scratch or buying pre-prepared, we often discard lots we could have eaten. When I was little we used to eat cauliflower florets, discarding the leaves, yet the leaves are amazing steamed with a little butter or olive oil and black pepper. Broccoli stalks are another of my favourites – but I was in my thirties before I’d ever tasted them. I’d never thought about making my own candied peel until a couple of years ago yet it takes just ten minutes. Vegetable crisps are the high-end of the packaged snacks price range, but we make ours with the Sunday Roast peelings in about 3 minutes with zero cost, zero packaging. Just by making one small decision to get every bit of goodness out of what we buy, we’ve slashed our food waste and slashed our food spend with very little effort. Leftover Pie shows why and how we did it.” Fish heads, onion skins, carrot tops and even banana peels get some love in Leftover Pie. Why not join in and spread the love at leftoverpie.co.uk?



PROJECTS FOR Words by Jessie Hembery Photography by Riverwood Acoustics, 22 Degrees and Sustain Crowdfunding has become an easy way for startups to raise the all-important initial investment to get their businesses off the ground. There are two types of crowdfunding: one where you (the investor) get a reward for investing (for example, the product that the startup company is planning to produce with your investment) or another, perhaps more complex system, where, when you invest in a start-up business, you become a shareholder. So we thought of searching through two platforms (Indiegogo and Kickstarter) and selecting three creative projects with a sustainable and conscious ethos at the heart of their products. Innovation is the key to changing the current state of our purchasing habits. Here are a few growing companies making that change.



The brainchild of outdoor lovers Ben Seaman and Scott Rathwell, Riverwood Acoustics, is all about creating stylish and eco-friendly bluetooth speakers that will blend perfectly within any setting. Not only do they produce a clear and perfect sound, they also make a bold statement with the speaker’s aesthetics. These hand-crafted items are made from 100% reclaimed riverwood from the bottom of the Ottawa River. Over a hundred years ago, this river was used to transport ginormous logs downstream and out to the rest of the world. However, due to their gargantuan weight many were prone to sinking, and have since been left at the bottom of the river bed. Therefore, instead of cutting down more trees and contributing to the problem of worldwide deforestation, Ben and Scott used what was already available at their doorstep. your money back into the planet and contribute to a shift in technology towards a greener future? Besides, they need your help more than ever, these products are only currently available in the US and Canada, but with success from this project and your donations we can expect to see them available on the EU market too.

The benefits of this speaker are that it is handmade in Canada, bringing local craftsmanship and career opportunities. Further to this, this product has an extremely low carbon footprint because the wood is completely reclaimed. Just to top it all, a portion of all their sales goes towards WaterRanger youth groups; this is to promote, test and track the health of waterways across Canada and the United States. Any company that gives back while committing to sustainability gets my vote.

Check out Kickstarter page: www.indiegogo.com/projects/riverwood-acousticsbluetooth-speaker-environment#/ Or their website: www.riverwoodacoustics.com/

While the speakers may be costly, items of similar quality on the market also have a high price point. So, why not put






materials has been an uphill battle. However, through these difficulties, Rick has created a company with solid environmental principles.

An example of crowdfunding success has to be the case of 22 Degrees. The 22 Degrees eco neoprene ocean jacket has become renowned by anyone who spends the majority of their time exploring the outdoors. The jacket, created by Rick Miskiv, has become a must have for underwater photographers, marine biologists, researchers and many more – maybe even you!

Moreover, 22 Degrees is part of the 1% For The Planet Initiative (www.onepercentfortheplanet.org) and therefore donates 1% of all its annual profits towards different environmental projects and schemes. This has all been achieved due to Rick’s innovation combined with the 59 independent backers that agreed with his environmentally

The new prototype jacket is made from a mix of recycled neoprene and old tyres. In my opinion, this is a good use for things that we chuck away as our landfills are becoming cities within themselves. Every year we throw away over two billion tons of waste, just think about how much of this could be reused or recycled.

Check out their story: www.indiegogo.com/projects/22-degrees-eco-neopreneocean-jacket#/ Or their website: www.22degrees.co

The original motivation came about when Rick himself had bought a high-end competitor’s jacket to take out in harsh conditions, where it would be battered by winds, the constant wet and salt (a notorious seam killer). Within a few weeks he was disappointed to find that what he had purchased wasn’t withstanding the elements. Therefore, the neoprene jacket was born. Able to provide continual warmth, strong waterproof ability and overall durability, as well as being beneficial to our surrounding environments, it’s turning throwaway fashion on its head. Rick described that his biggest challenge has been getting different factories and vendors on board with producing environmentally responsible products. As 22 Degrees is a company still within its establishing phase, access to recycled






My biggest bug bare has to be this fast fashion culture of buying low-quality clothes that exploit the environment and the craftspeople that produce them, only to be discarded when they’re out of season. All hail Sustain, a growing brand trying to make a difference in the current marketplace with their refreshing way of producing. Their ethos is “clean, healthy clothing”. The entire range is completely made from organic fibres and all natural plant dyes, extending from pomegranates to oak trees. They noted that the chemicals currently used in the dying process can have harmful effects upon our delicate skin just as much as the planet, so have made this one of their biggest goals. They’ve rejuvenated what they describe as a time-honoured technique to change the way our clothes are made. We spoke with Katherine Quigley, founder of Sustain and she explained that the whole idea of this growing brand was to change the way everybody looks at their clothes, from the impact these items may be having on the environment, to the people along the supply chain. This isn’t about reducing the fashion industry’s current impact on our world, socially and environmentally, it’s about clothing that is actively trying to change the practices and consequent world-wide damage that we are seeing from this industry, simply from leading by example. Ever heard of a company having a negative carbon footprint?

Well you have now. The plants that are used to make these pieces remove more carbon from our atmosphere through good old photosynthesis; this outweighs what is released throughout the manufacturing process. Sustainable is not just in the name, it is well and truly in the game. Further to this, every aspect is considered, from the buttons, zippers, thread and even the labels, everything is 100% earth friendly. From tunics to harem pants you can find plenty of guilt-free garments on offer, perfect for lounging and chilled outings; spread the message. Check out their kickstar: www.kickstarter.com/projects/803142011/healthysustainable-clothing Or their website: www.sustainbykat.com/

Do you have your own project on a crowdfunding platform? Would you like to see more crowdfunding projects in the next editions of No Serial Number Magazine? Email us your opinions editorial@noserialnumber.org



EVENTS GREEN FAIRE Cape Town, South Africa www.greenfaire.org.za Every year, spring in Hout Bay, Cape Town is marked by the annual Green Faire – South Africa’s only successful annual eco-expo. Fully powered by solar and wind energy, the Green Faire is held on the field of a school and brings together family and friends from all over Cape Town, who descend on the fishing village for a fun day of discovery of all things green. This year was no exception. The 11th Green Faire, this year sponsored by the City of Cape Town, was held on Sunday 5 November, with Saving Water as its theme, as Cape Town is currently experiencing a severe drought. Stallholders displayed various innovative water-saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and tap aerators – which save 70% of water and compost toilets – dry toilets using sawdust which eventually become ‘humaure’. Solar devices ranged from various lights to phone chargers and even solar pool cleaners, while the array of earth-friendly goods encapsulated everything from cleaning products, natural sun block and other body care products to upcycled wooden furniture and jungle gyms, green fire starters, eco friendly glitter and electric scooters. Even biodegradable cutlery and crockery, featuring compostable straws, were available for planetfriendly consumers! The food is always worth mentioning, from the delicious snacks and meals to homemade organic preserves

and home-grown delights, this event offered many vegetarian and vegan delights. Venda Blenda offered bicycle powered smoothie machines – where one could cycle for your smoothie! The highlight of the day was the Planet Warrior’s Children’s Festival, held on the Solar stage, which was framed with gorgeous trees by a local nursery. Here, children from various primary schools in Hout Bay modelled their outfits in the “Eco Fashion Show”, where celebrated local former model and photographer Josie Borain declared Zanozuko Siswana, the winner, after he wowed the crowd in a warrior outfit made from old CDs; Zanozuko won a trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium for himself and his team. The Talent Contest was equally exciting; with Shannon Spooner delighting the crowd with her rendition of Adele’s Someone like you, beautifully delivered whilst playing the guitar. Judge Ard Matthews, himself a famed local musician, felt she deserved the winner’s prize of an afternoon in a professional recording studio. The “Trash to Treasure Market” was another source of fun and inspiration, with the children selling all sorts of goods they had created from waste. The children made and sold a variety of plants in decorated pots or tins, jewellery and games out of waste materials. The Green Police blew their whistles


and ran around the event in fun and jest, making sure everyone placed their waste in the correct bin. This zero waste event applied the three bin system of RECYCLING, COMPOST & LANDFILL. An onsite visible waste sorting team showed the visitors how easy it is to separate your waste, and how bioware composts into the soil. No polystyrene or single use plastic (such as bottled water) was sold in this event – free filtered water was offered instead. Another regular highlight of the Green Faire was its inspiring and informative talks. Since last year, TEDx CT has participated, and this year hosted talks on SA’s nuclear status, Ormus, Water issues and an update on hemp legislation by Tony Budden. As an ode to the city’s water crisis, a Water Blessing was conducted by Lauren Hofmeyer, a Sangoma (an African priestess) at midday, with crystals handed out to be placed in the rivers and sea to encourage positive energy transmission to the waters. Once again the Green Faire delighted visitors with a full, wholesome day of inspiring exhibits, amazing food, good music and great vibes!


WORKSHOPs station Marta Stefanicka Felt Maker

COLOUR COMBINATION Ecoprint with natural dye workshop

JANUARY 2018 Wet felted slippers workshop Wrist warmers with nunofelting elements

Instructor: Caroline Nixon


Venue: Warwickshire UK Date: 2-4 June 2018

FEBRUARY 2018 Animal slippers - advanced workshop MARCH 2018 Felting for beginners (flowers, balls, cords etc.) APRIL 2018 Nunofelted shawl MAY 2018 Wet felted bag


Instagram: @cucu_studio_felt Facebook: www.facebook.com cucustudiofelt Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/CuCuSTUDIO

Learn to combine eco print with natural dye techniques to produce vibrant textiles with coloured backgrounds and clear prints on both protein and cellulose fabrics. For students with previous eco print experience. WEBSITE


ECO PRINTING AND MORE IN FRANCE Instructors: Caroline Nixon and Nicola Brown Venue: Charente, France

Date: 5th-19th May ( 2 x 1 week workshops) Eco print and natural dyeing residential retreat with the added fun of searching for textiles and pots in flea markets and brocantes. Come and discover the France we love! WEBSITES

www.handmadetextilesbycaroline.co.uk www.nicolabrown.ie/



Mamie’s Schoolhouse Sustainable Fibre Arts Cape Breton Island, Opening Summer 2018 September 19-23 2018 September 26-30 2018 Irit Dulman, inaugural Artist In Residence, will lead two five day workshops in natural dyeing and eco printing. Website coming soon for online registration. To be added to the mailing list contact melsweetnam@gmail.com Learn about Cape Breton Island visit www.cbisland.com



Country: Canandaigua, New York, USA

Contact details: Sara Burnett, sjburnett@frontiernet.net

Date: SEPT 22-26, 2018 Country: Canandaigua, New York, USA

Eco printing is a beautiful call to the wild enabling you to dye uniquely designed fabrics with plants. This slow process fosters reverence for nature for personal and environmental wellbeing.

Contact details: Sara Burnett, sjburnett@ frontiernet.net Explore how to achieve beautifully complex and consistent eco prints on well finished hand made felt in an environmentally friendly and health conscious way.



THE ECO CRAFTER AND ENTREPRENEURS AWARD MARGARET STEEDEN Website: Inspiredtextiles. blogspot.com Blog: littleworksofart. blogspot.com Etsy: Inspiredtextiles.etsy.com Email: masteeden@ btinternet.com “Individual contact prints are so effective. Silk noil alum mordanted dyed in logwood. Leaves topped with iron blanket and steamed for two hours. Top two are cards. Bottom three journal covers.” Since I discovered the serendipitous nature of botanical contact printing and dyeing I have been able to unite all the aspects of textiles that I favour. My embroidery background coupled with the use of preloved natural textiles all come together in my current practice. Contact printing allows me to produce unique, exciting base fabrics that end up as finished items such as this sketchbook cover. Silk noil was firstly dyed with logwood then eucalyptus leaves were contact printed creating a discharge before hand stitching with solar dyed threads. This reusable cover is for a high quality sketchbook/ journal. I also create pictures, wall hangings, scarves, cushions (pillows), upcycled clothing and cards. I find the muted colours and imagery of the fabric and thread that I dye and print feed my spirit with joy as I work with them using methods that encompass the slow movement.

ROSEMARY LADEJI Etsy shop: www.TheWoodWitchWorkShop. etsy.com Facebook: @TheWoodWitch Email: thewoodwitchworkshop@gmail.com

SANDRA DUNCAN Email: sjduncan206@hotmail.com Facebook and Instagram: @knot.weave.print “I thought I should show my work, l am a printmaker from Australia experimenting with homemade flower inks and pigments found in my local environment which l grind and create very small print runs with. This piece is called 'Hollow' it is made up of 10 layers, silkscreen.” Hollow, is a multilayered screenprint which was made especially for an exhibition, called the Biblio Art Prize in Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia. All entries had to be based on a book, mine was based on Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, the inks are made from rocks, soils and flowers collected from my imediate environment, l grind them with a mortar and pestle and mix with a spirits, rice paste and water, the flower ink is brewed like a cup of tea cooled then mixed with a little paste for consistency, it is a perfectly imperfect process, l am learning, l am reading and experimenting, sometimes l end up with a beautiful work of art, sometimes not.

“Hello and thanks for the add. I make things from reclaimed wood. Mostly pallets from building sites and felled trees and I have recently started including pebbles. I add art and pyrography to my products too. I try to recycle wherever I can I use recycled packaging and I’m always looking for ways to use all the things people throw away. Here’s something I made from a felled tree and some pebbles from my drive and a twig from my garden cuttings.” The slices were cut from a felled tree by my husband. The pebbles were hand painted by me with acrylic paint. I used cuttings from my garden for the branch and pyrography for added branches. Cotton bud tips for the bobbles on the hats.



JOIN US ONLINE: www.facebook.com/groups/Eco.Designers/

JARDIN DE INVIERNO Email: jardindeinvierno@hotmail.com.ar Instagram: @jardin.de.invierno Blog: www.mpazsecundini.blogspot.com.ar Facebook: @jardindeinvierno.porcelanailustrada “Hello! My name is Paz and I am from Argentina. I want to share with you some of my eco friendly projects I have been making clothes with eco print and natural dyeing and recently I learned how to make paper with plants and seeds inside it. I hope you enjoy it!” My name is Maria Paz Secundini - also you can find me as Jardin de Invierno and I am an Argentinean artist who loves nature, animals, and Winter. Since I was a child I have been interested in making recycled paper. When I was at university I always bought handmade paper to draw on and recently I finally learned the process to make it by myself. My teacher is paper artist Marina Pellechiarino from Pequeño Molino.

MAKE YOUR OWN: You can use old papers or/and vegetable fibres (long fibres are the best, like thypa). If you use old papers you have to cut them in small pieces and put in water for a few hours. After you mix it with more water and a little bit of carboximetilcelulose (leave it to dissolve in the water overnight, and add one teaspoon in a litre of water). At this stage, you can also add natural colours. If you choose vegetable fibres the process before mixing is a little slow. You can cut the dried plants in small pieces, add a spoon of sodium bicarbonate and let the whole thing boil for five hours. When cold, you have to rinse the mixture a few times. Once rinsed the fibre is good to be mixed as described in the previous step. If you don’t want a rustic look then mix paper and fibres. You can save the mix in the refrigerator without the water. Later you can put your mix in a big container with water and add small flowers or seeds. You then need to drain the water with a flat sieve and strain the fibre which will become your paper sheet. Turn over a kitchen towel and let dry.

MONICA DICARLO Email: monidicarlo@gmail.com Facebook: @MoniDiCarloarts&crafts Photo by Osvaldo J. LUIS “My name is Monica Di Carlo. I have been a silk painter during the last ten years. Even as nowadays I found a new way or expression based in recycled materials, as a vestige of my past as a textile artist, I use sewing in the making of my collages. I like to think that I am learning to paint with threads. It’s really surprising the different kinds of cardboard and papers that can be found in the packaging that is thrown away, so I am very happy to have the chance to give them a new life.” “I share an Etsy page: “Mokami” (www.etsy.com/shop/mokami) with a business partner: Kico Leon. I have only 6 small collages in this page. The other items are a mix between moroccan designs, my partner designs and my own abstract designs.” Credits: It’s my hand the one that appear in the image. The photo was taken by Osvaldo J. LUIS.



ZWIA LIPKIN Website: www.anytexture.com Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ ANYTexture Facebook: @ANYTexture “Made from project scraps.” This small cross-body bag was crafted from rescued designer textiles. The front flap is a collage of fabrics with different colours and textures, left over from other projects. It is adorned by three colourful wooden beads for added interest.

OLYA GLUSCHENKO Blog: www.etsy.com/shop/Fyllossia Facebook: @fyllossia Email: fyllossia@yandex.com “Clutch bag. Eco print on cotton with eucalyptus and blackberry leaves, natural jute cord crochet.” Sewn by Olya Gluschenko. Natural jute cord crochet by Ulia Pankova.

SABINE KILB Website: www.myheartfeltpiece.com Email: contact@myhartfeltpiece.com Facebook: @myheartfeltpiece “Earrings, silk with botanical prints, ecodyed #uniquejewelry #ecoprints #logwood #naturaldyed #ecojewelry #uniquedesign #uniqueaccessories #ecoaccessories #ecostyle #ecojewelry #naturaldesigns #bundledyed #ecoprinted #ecodyed #textildesign #earring #silkearrings #oneofakindjewelry #leafprint” All items shown on the pictures are handmade by Sabine Kilb, my heartfelt piece, all pictures are made by Sabine Kilb




Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/StudioEdefyn Facebook: @studioedefyn Email: edefynstudio@gmail.com “I've recently made this hand-woven shawl from leftover yarns, donated/ unwanted yarns and my own hand spun yarns made from unwanted fibre mill waste… “ The process behind the work was to warp my loom using a combination of yarns handspun by me from textile waste as well as a selection of donated/unwanted/ leftover yarns from various sources. The weft was woven with the same yarns.

NATASJA SMILE Blog: www.natasjafakkeldij.blogspot.co.uk Facebook: @withasmilefromnatasja Instagram: @natasjafakkeldij “Big warm upcycled scarf”



Eco-Friendly Ideas Eco-friendly products carefully selected for you!

FOR THE HOME TWIST CANISTER DUO, £20.00 These are a fanatic set if you like taking your snacks out and about.

Do you want your green product to feature here? Send us an email to info@noserialnumber.org

www.elephantbox.co.uk These steinless stell tins are great for every day use as they are lightweight and secure. They are also good for camping or excursions, or to keep your grapes from getting squished while you're at work!

FOR THE BODY FAMILY CLOTH A set of 5 handmade cloth wipes that can be used instead of toilet roll. By The Phoenix Green Store COCONUT, ROSE & WALNUT LIP, HAND & BODY BUTTER, £12.95 By Leafology www.leafology.co.uk

FOR HIM BLACK SEED STUBBLE & BEARD OIL, £17.55 By Leafology www.leafology.co.uk

All cloths are double layered and made from recycled cotton and towelling. Kate from the Pheonix Store supports zero waste and plastic free solutions. Many other alternative products are available in her store, including beeswax wraps and UnPaperTowels.

BACK SCRUBS, £12 Made from the Masters of Linen long staple linen yarn (grown and spun in Europe) and out of high quality cotton according the Öko-Tex standard.

BLOOMING ECO TOILET CLEANER, £1.99 These products are biodegradable, phosphate free and made with sustainably sourced plant derived ingredients so they are kind to the environment, septic tanks and sewage treatment systems, as well as the home and family. These are made in the Wirral, so ideal for UK residents.

ECOLEAF DISHWASHER TABLETS, £4.99 Dishwasher tablets made with a plant-based, cruelty free and vegan formula. www.drainswirral.com/store The tablets have a soluble wrapper to reduce waste. With a powerful cleaning action, built-in rinse aid and degreasing agents, th ecoleaf promise these dishwasher tablets will leave dishes and glasses sparking clean. The dishwasher tablets are biodegradable and suitable for septic tanks.’


By AndKeep www.andkeep.com


‘It is a perfect way to exfoliate in the bath or shower and rub away those cares. ‘


The strong colour pigments in Mercurius’ blackboard chalk allow for luscious applications.

COTTON BUDS, £2.25 Made from bamboo and soft cotton 100% biodegradable By Andkeep www.andkeep.com No more plastic sticks floating in the seas or washed up on the beaches. After using these cotton buds, you can dispose them into your organic waste, bin or compost. They come in a lovely box made from recycled cardboard. 100 cotton buds per box. All of Hydrophil’s products are water-neutral, vegan & fair-trade. 10% of profits go to a charity providing access to clean drinking water. Many supermarkets have turned to platic free cotton buds made of paper, but if you want something a little sturdier, this product is for you.


PLASTIC FREE TAPE, £6 100% biodegradable recycled paper tape with a natural latex adhesive backing. www.anythingbutplastic.co.uk WOODEN LYRA PENCIL SHARPENER, £1.99 www.consciouscraft.uk




RUSTIC GIFT WRAP KIT, £25 This lovely rustic gift-wrapping kit includes everything you need to beautifully wrap at least 8 small-medium gifts. Give your gifts that extra-special finish and apply your own creative flair with this natural kit.

NATURAL PAINT STARTER KIT, £14.50 By Alison Faith Kay www.alisonfaithkay.com Originally beginning her painting journey using acrylics, Alison Faith Kay quickly realised that she couldn't continue to use a product that caused such harm. She hated the thought of touching the toxic pigments and breathing in the chemical fillers/preservatives, let alone being responsible for bringing more plastic into the world via the paint's binder. So, she sold all her supplies and began a journey of learning how to make her own paint using natural pigments. Two years later and, now creating art in a natural studio, she's developed a Natural Paint Starter Kit so that others can dip their toes (or fingers!) into the world of creating with nature.

COLOUR NATURAL WALL HANGING WEAVING KIT, £50 This weaving set is for the natural yarn lovers out there! No need to have had previous weaving experience as the kit comes with starter instructions. The kit includes everything you need to weave a wall hanging or you may have something else in mind if you have previous weaving experience.

Trying an alternative to easily-accessible, commercial products often requires a lot of research and is costly. Alison wanted to enable others to try natural paint without that hard work and expense. So, not only does the kit include a booklet that walks you through making the exact paint she uses in her own practice, but the quantities are perfect for really having some fun without needing to spend lots of money buying supplies in bulk. Inside the kit you'll find five vibrant, non-toxic, natural pigments, along with milk and borax powder to make a paint binder and full instructions on how to create and use this earthcentred alternative to standard paint. Initially unsure about bringing another product into the world, and yet passionate about lessening the use of standard, polluting artist paint, she carefully researched packaging. It has resulted in a product that is housed in recycled, recyclable and reusable packaging... She even includes cardboard from used cereal boxes and sends the kits out with bubble wrap she's saved from old parcels.


She says, “working with natural paint has changed my life. Not only do I feel in alignment with my values when I create art, but the process of working with natural pigments connects me to the earth in such a joyful way. And the And the colours are out of this world!

This beautiful, 100% wool pom pom kit comes with everything you need to make gorgeous pom pom decorations. Included in the kit is The Robot tool from The Loome which can be used for weaving, pom pom making and tassel making.


Coming soon ...

THE ECO PRINT WORKBOOK • Over 150 pages of content • Lots of tutorials • Different techniques and materials • Tools of the artist • Plenty of space for note taking • Extensive directory Want to be part of this project? Send us an email to info@noserialnumber.org

WINTER COMPETITION To receive a box of assorted wool fibres and yarn balls fill out our seasonal survey by following the link below. A winner will be selected in March 2018!


A mAGAZINE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRAFT MOVEMENT Why the name “No Serial Number”? Because nature and craft share a common characteristic, they are not made in series. They are both the result of an organic, slow process of growth and development. Not one leaf is the same, nor is a handmade creation. Crafts remind us that our hands and minds can work in tune with our natural environment to make things that are useful, or simply beautiful. As a society, we are in urgent need to slow down and preserve our collective environmental and artisanal heritages from unsustainable production practices and corporate greed. No Serial Number Magazine is a humble attempt to explore how human creativity, nature and activism intersect in contemporary society. Who is it for? artists, artisans, casual makers, craftivists, and conscious citizens Topics textile arts • natural colours • traditional trades and crafts • creative upcycling and salvaging • slow fashion • zerowaste lifestyle • biodiversity • kitchen chronicles • grassroots environmental movements INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED BY NO SERIAL NUMBER

No Serial Number Magazine www.noserialnumber.org info@noserialnumber.org

£9 + Delivery

Fb: www.facebook.com/noserialnumbermagazine Twitter: @N0serialnumberM Use #NoSerialNumber


Pinterest: noserialnumber

on recycled paper

Instagram: @noserialnumber.com_magazine

at UEL Printers

Profile for No Serial Number e-Magazine

No Serial Number Winter Issue 2017, The Yarn Special  

From Alpaca Breeding to the Finest Yarn, Solar dyeing, Weaving the Landscape and Textile Art, Spinning Yarn with Deborah Gray, Yarn from the...

No Serial Number Winter Issue 2017, The Yarn Special  

From Alpaca Breeding to the Finest Yarn, Solar dyeing, Weaving the Landscape and Textile Art, Spinning Yarn with Deborah Gray, Yarn from the...