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Organic and sustainable design for modern homes

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Upgrading to Organic Cotton

I've always wanted to make my business as eco-friendly as possible, and up til now I've used a lot of eco felt made from recycled bottles, a material I love to work with for it's bright colours and
sustainability, people are always surprised and delighted to hear where the felt came from.

But I love the natural look and feel of cotton too, so I am taking a further step towards eco friendliness by introducing organic cotton for the designs which will be in my shop from September.

A statistic you hear a lot is that a massive 25% of the world's pesticides are used on cotton crops. That's truly staggering. These chemicals are extremely nasty, dangerous for the health of the workers who use them and for the environment as a whole. I want to do my part in changing this and I really believe that given a wider range of choices consumers will opt for alternatives too.

After a little research I found a supplier with a good range of organic fairtrade cottons, produced in India, many of them on handlooms. Whenever I've had a spare moment in the last few weeks I've been pulling out my little bundle of fabric samples and poring over them. I particularly love the crossweaves which you can see in the photo, made using two different colours of yarn woven together to make a beautiful grainy texture.

So far the process has been very exciting, and just looking at and touching the fabrics has been a great inspiration. Now I just have to wait for them to arrive so I can begin work, watch this space!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Question Mark Pillow

This question mark pillow is among my favourite designs, and one of the first I made. It's done entirely in recycled eco felt, with a touch of hand embroidery, it's loosely based on the idea of dividing cells.

I dedicated this pillow to my daughter, who asks a lot of questions, such as “can we keep this one, Mummy?”
Her curiosity is endless!

So it’s kind of a question about life (and in the words of the late great Douglas Adams, the universe, and everything). Profound or what?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A future without plastic water bottles?

I've blogged already about the eco felt I use, which is derived from recycled plastic drinks bottles. But it would take an awful lot of pillows to acount for the number of bottles we use.

A quick Google tells me that Italy, where I live, is the world's number one per capita consumer of plastic water bottles, amounting to a staggering 10 billion litres! Italians generally distrust tap water supplies and have a liking for bottled mineral water, it's not uncommon to hear a conversation on the merits of various waters here.

Plastic bottles represent a huge waste in terms of resources to produce them, not to mention the energy involved in transporting the water. They have also been found to leach harmful chemicals into the water itself. Italy does have recycling bins for plastic, but not everyone uses them and the recycling itself requires energy.

I have to confess to having added to this problem in my time, I developed a taste for sparkling water and got hooked. But a couple of years ago we took the decision to try and eliminate plastic water bottles as much as possible, and began getting our water from Egeria, a spring on the outskirts of Rome. Egeria sells bottled water but you can also go and fill for yourself at a fraction of the price. It's popular with the Romans and there is also a small park there with a playground and bar. The water is fantastic but it did take up a valuable chunk of weekend to go and fetch it, as well as a car journey.

Then a year ago a bunch of unassuming sheds like the one in the picture above began popping up all over the Sabina area north east of Rome, where we used to live and now spend our weekends. They take mains water and filter it to make great drinking water, which you can choose as sparkling or still. The cost is 5 eurocents for 1.5 litres, in other words next to nothing, and way way cheaper than bottles. The machines were an immediate hit, there are almost always people waiting to fill up their bottles. The municipalities involved have surely saved huge amounts in waste disposal too. So, people get cheap, delicious water, taxes are saved, there are a few less plastic bottles on the planet, in short a win win win situation. I really hope this solution gets adopted more widely.

Summer Sale Time!

July has been summer sale time in my Etsy shop, with 15% off all my products, including my summer beach collection.

I've had a great response to the sale, including a feature in the Etsy Finds email, which brought a lot of new visitors to my shop.

The sale continues until 31st of July :-)