Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Parlour games

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The Papered Parlour is a new south London venture where you can go along for craft classes, rent a studio, see exhibitions or hire out a space for craftastic events of your own. The launch is this Saturday and there are even a few upcycling events on the agenda:

10.30am - 12.30pm
Exhibition Preview: What Comes Around
Katherine May and Clara Vuletich ‘upcycle’ mid century furniture with pre loved fabrics. Featuring contemporary quilted upholstery alongside hand printed wallpaper.

12.30pm – 3.30pm
The Great Proletarian Clothes Swap
From Hermes to High Street, come along to swap and customise unwanted items of clothing. With designers on hand to help you cut, print and sew your way to couture heaven - you’re guaranteed to leave with a fabulous addition to your wardrobe.

The Papered Parlour, 7 Prescott Place London SW4 6BS, 020 7627 8703

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Vintage encore

Tara Munro is a modern-day heroine. She lives in Paris where she rescues vintage gowns a-go-go. The public can buy these through her company Ooh La La. She also conducts personal shopping tours around all the best vintage haunts in London and Paris, and she'll arrange accommodation and activities if you're doing a girls' weekend as a group.

The other feather in her cap is an enterprise called Madame Tra La La. She and her business partner Alice source vintage clothes, create patterns from them and remake garments to your bespoke requirements. You get a vintage look but with modern fabrics and a perfect fit. This weekend at Ooh La La's pop-up shop at the Pelham Hotel, Tara showed me a 1940s ration-era dress that had been made from the felt off a snooker table. Times were tight, but creativity ran high. Just take a gander at "Snooker Hall Celine" (above) reinvented in jersey. Ooh la la indeed.

The pop-up shop is at the Pelham Hotel (15 Cromwell Place SW6) 24 through 26 April 10am to 6pm.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Kariobangi fitness first

My friend Elin has a friend named Edle who is in Nairobi. Here's Edle's photo of some dumb-bells. That clever reuse of cement leads me to believe they should be rebranded to be called smart-bells.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Fake facial hair for your thirst

The Marksman's Barter for Beer event took place last night, and I know we're all very intrigued to learn how my moustaches made out...

Double barrelled use

My friend Lucy took these photos during bike ride we took in Sabah on the island of Borneo. This floating dock - made from redundant oil drums - is the equivalent of a veg patch. People who live in the village that we cycled through maintain these pontoons like you would a garden. Every day they visit to harvest shellfish like oysters and crabs. On dry land, an oil drum with its ends removed has become a trampoline. Our bike guide observed, "For children, everything is a toy."

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Creative crunk

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I've decided to call the reaction to the credit crunch the creative crunk. To illustrate how it works: Can't afford it? Make one yourself. Something broken? Make do and mend. Capitalism getting you down? Create a new world order like my friend Dawn.

As landlady of the Marksman Pub, Dawn has no interest in turning water into wine. She is however interested in punters turning their redundant stuff into real ale. This Wednesday is the pub's inaugural Barter for Beer event, and the real gent will be the barter barker. I've set aside something off the wish list - come Wednesday these fuzzy fake 'taches will be traded in for a tipple. Roll up roll up!

Word of the day - recyclates

Design Week reports that "Giraffe Innovation is working on the designs of two products which could be the first electrical goods containing recycled materials to hit the high street." They're using recyclates to make a hi-fi and a TV.

What are recyclates you say? Here's a definition:
Recycled material that will be used to form new products. This material will normally have undergone some form of treatment e.g. plastic pellets, produced from collected plastic bottles, to be re-used as a new product.
Could this be a sign that manufacturing is getting in on the upcycling act?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Hair apparent

Hair is really good at attracting grease. Have you noticed this phenomenon? It's why you take a shower every day. When an oil tanker crashed in the San Francisco Bay it seemed it could only end as an ecological disaster. However, volunteers came to the rescue — not garbed in capes like any other superhero, but instead bearing mats made of human hair that had been salvaged from hair salons all over the country. The mats attracted the oil, the spill was cleaned up and wildlife managed to survive. Read a bit more about it at Common Ground, which features a story on the founder of Matter of Trust, one of the charities that participated in the clean-up.
"Lisa Gautier, founder and executive director of the non-profit Matter of Trust (.org), has spent more than a decade utilizing 'surplus materials' — both natural and man-made — through innovative, practical and even profitable means. Matter of Trust bravely embraces such icky leftovers as used vegetable oil, fungus, algae and even human hair, employing them in new ways that frequently mimick the subtle quirks of nature."

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Wheels keep turning

Tyres have to be really durable - just ask those chaps I saw screaming around Sepang Circuit in the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix last week. Ideally as long as they're on your car they should stay in one piece. But once they get a bit bald and tired, what then? Their durability becomes a liability from the standpoint of a landfill. In the souk in Marrakech last month we came across a booming business that made everything under the sun from old Firestones. Is this an example of the circle of life?

Friday, 10 April 2009

Mag bags

At the Kuala Lumpur airport, if you find yourself inclined to buy some tourist trinkets then you won't get a naughty plastic carrier bag. The ladies behind the counter kill time by reading magazines. Then they kill time making said magazines into little paper bags. Then you come along and buy something and it goes into one of these glossy mag bags. The example above used to be an advertisement for handbags; then it became a bag itself; then it became home to a tiny little change purse. Bags upon a bag within a bag, of course.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Lap of luxury

Upcycling is everywhere - even at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix. Here's a friendly beer seller I snapped who was sporting a bag made from an old pair of jeans.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

They'll stop at nothing

No, your eyes do not deceive you; I have garnered the power of the interweb to single-handedly embedded a video for your viewing pleasure. It's a canny little clip from CNN about some drinkers of wine who decided to make bottlestoppers out of vintage finds like pool balls, faucet handles and doorknobs.