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5 events at London Craft Week boasting sustainable credentials

RAF Sillk Maps
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Raeburn
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More and more people are seeking craft-based activities to help them enrich their free time and to enable them to create something that makes them proud. In the spirit of art and crafts, we popped along to London Craft Week to see some exhibitions and events.

Here are the ones that really caught our eye for being unique and sustainable:

An Insight into RÆBURN’s Iconic REMADE Silk Escape Map Collection

Raeburn
RAF Sillk MapsRaeburn

Where: Hackney, East London

We visited the RÆBURN LAB in Hackney and were inspired by the brand’s commitment to ensuring their iconic designs are “REMADE, REDUCED and RECYCLED.” The RÆBURN LAB’s studio was open as usual to customers interested in seeing how Royal Air Force Silk escape maps could become dresses, as well as plastic bottles being transformed into coats. On top of that, we also got the chance to observe how military parachute materials can become bags. We were excited to learn more about the how the workshop space has been open to the public. Virtually anyone could come in with the aim of producing a distinctive and personalised fashion piece that represents the brand’s ethos of being REMADE.

Workshop attendees were invited to design and customise bags and tshirts, using off-cuts from parachutes and pocket-square escape maps that would have helped cadets reference their location in the 1950s. Budding craft enthusiasts were encouraged to choose scraps of historical fabric, based on the pattern they preferred and then cut and sewed them onto RÆBURN t-shirts. The end result? A REMADE, REDUCED and RECYCLED garment to walk away with - that is personalised, ethical and one of a kind. We were drawn to RÆBURN’s innovative workshop idea as we felt it explored a new progressive form of fast-fashion.

Indigo Hands

BOUISAU
Indigo inkBOUISAU

Where: Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross

We had the pleasure of entering into a warehouse like space in the heart of Coal Drops Yard, that was decorated in drapes of blue fabric that hosted a seemingly infinite spectrum of blue. The BUAISOU team from Japan hosted a series of dyeing workshops to teach craft devotees how to use Japanese natural indigo dye to transform pieces of fabrics. BUAISOU taught us their traditional technique of mixing wood lye, bran and shellash followed by a fermentation process to make, what is known as, the most difficult dye to produce! The expert team who were part of the Indigo cultivation process, as well as the creation of the dye, informed us that it takes a full year from harvest to dye production. That’s a long time. The workshop attendees bonded over their new found love for this unique dyeing process and produced unique bandanas that all characterised an element of self-expression. We were captivated by this natural technique of dyeing fabrics and it really made us reflect on the abundance of processes undertaken to produce our clothes.

Store Hosts: Fabric-Dyeing Workshops - Electro Colour Unit Lab

Unit Lab
Red cabbage electrolysisUnit Lab

Where: Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross

The rain on Coal Drops Yard could not dampen craft work attendees’ spirits when having the opportunity to transform red cabbage juice into artwork! Mike and Cindy, the innovators of Unit Lab, this emerging art form, wanted to create an experience for people that engage them with the marvels of the natural world. So, how can you turn natural red cabbage juice into a unique and multi-coloured pattern? Brace yourself for this scientific technique. Unit Lab have developed a method that involves: boiling the cabbage with salt or juicing it with salt, pouring the liquid over a circuit board material that is connected to a power supply. Through the power of electrolysis, the water breaks into hydrogen and oxygen. The cabbage juice is a natural PH indicator which shows up the alkaline and acidic parts of the mixture, hence why you see a range of colours. It was interesting to see such an innovative technique used to decorate a tote bag that only uses natural ingredients.

Store Hosts: Fabric-Dyeing Workshops - Cochineal Natural Dyeing

Claire Felicity Miller
Cochineal Natural DyeClaire Felicity Miller

Where: Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross

Ever wondered what makes your lipstick or food colouring red? The answer is Cochineal Natural Dye, otherwise known as E120. The Cochineal scale insect is found growing on the surface of the Prickly Pear Cactus in the subtropics. The workshop, run by Claire Felicity Miller, involved using this rich red dye from Peru to create uniquely designed tote bags with patterns that resemble those produced in tie-dye. This natural dye recipe was originally a secret, but we certainly won’t be keeping quiet about how effective it looked! It inspired us all to transform a garment into something new.

Tom Dixon - Grow - Terrarium Making At Tom Dixon

Botanical Boys
Botanical Boys WorkshopBotanical Boys

Where: Tom Dixon Factory, Kings Cross

Tom Dixon, a celebrated concept design company, is collaborating with IKEA and RHS Chelsea Flower Show to promote the concept that ‘Gardening will save the world.’ Tom Dixon aims to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle for us all and encourage people to find solutions to grow more plants at home. For London Craft Week, Tom Dixon has hosted a series of workshops and activities to engage people in finding new ways of using plants to transform spaces. We were particularly interested in an event hosted by Botanical Boys that invited a range of people to create a terrarium (an indoor garden) and escape from the stresses of working life. This creative workshop helps people to understand the elements that go into making a garden and, as a result, the attendees feel more connected with nature. Everyone enjoyed a relaxing evening of craft, prosecco and mindfulness in Tom Dixon’s iconic open workshop space, what’s not to love? Botanical Boys are working hard to reconnect people with the natural world and host a variety of events to help people understand how a terrarium will bring the outside world and its benefits into the home.

Words: Lucy Wagstaffe