Creatives are setting the pace in the battle against the throwaway consumerism that has dominated Western culture for decades and they are doing it with style. From old whisky barrels to burst inner tubes (from bicycles) - things which would have lain to waste are being brought back as objects of functional beauty, creating a thriving new industry and doing the planet a massive favour.
The reclaim and reuse industry is one of the most imaginative around. Let’s be honest, how many people would look at an old whisky barrel and see the prospect of producing picture frames – let alone turn that idea into a thriving international business. But that’s precisely what Kirsten has done. In little over two years she has an annual turnover of £250,000 and has even recruited her husband to the team.
For Lucie, inspiration came from a burst inner tube on her bicycle. Inher imagination appeared purses, bags, animal caricatures – even jewellery. Her work is now a popular seller and like a growing band of re-use artists she has a thriving little business.
Sean, an illustrator worked to such pen and ink precision that his pursuit of detailed perfection was driving him to a sinking depression. Enter FCUK and the advertising banners they no longer needed and Sean’s enthusiasm was reborn. Working with large discarded canvases and using hand torn magazine and newspaper cuttings he has worked up a succession of artworks that have found an enthusiastic market.
Since the onset of the typewriter the writing has been in the wall for old style print blocks. For Andrew, this was the prompt to create a series of beautiful table lamps, now lighting up shelves and selling well.
Now to the beaches of Orkney where Mark picks up marine debris and discovered a rich vein of possibility for washed up rope. Using traditional hand knotting he is creating small and large mats. In a world in which the drip, drip effect of bad news is making people feel disassociated from life around them it’s time to create a new narrative. Away from errant politicians, serial tax evaders and big data breaches there are people doing extraordinary things and helping to make the world a better place.
To see for yourself these and the products of other astonishing artists, designers and crafts-people’s products go to the Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal Leith and remember, if you do buy there, every penny you spend goes directly to the hardworking artists, designers and craftspeople.