You may remember my review of Offset Warehouse fabrics. Charlie Ross, the director, invited me along to her launch, and since then I have followed her blog and Instagram with interest. Recently she covered the work of Maria from Plastic Seconds. Maria Papadimitriou makes amazing one off pieces from rubbish, recycling plastic items into interesting and unique wearable pieces. Here are some examples.
I commented and then discovered I had won a wonderful prize – a piece of bespoke, recycled jewellery. To be honest I thought that I would just get something from the web site, such as one of the amazing items above! I hadn’t realised what I had won was an act of co-creation and I would need to collect some items for Maria to work with.
At first I looked around at my bathroom supplies and then at my pens to see if any of them were finished. But unfortunately I didn’t have loads of pen caps, for example. I thought about offering hundreds of metal fasteners I had recycled from work when we got rid of our old lanyards. I couldn’t bear for these to be thrown out so I have two large bags of them (do let me know if you have any ideas for these please). I found a pair of ear plugs (unused). This is one of the issues – I only recycle certain items, such as tooth picks, when they are used. But I wouldn’t want to wear a used one of these TePes in my ears, for example.
Then Esme came up with the answer. She had been sorting out her children’s toys and had a bag full of broken and lost plastic toys/rubbish – Happy Meals, free gifts, pound shop presents. I actually hate these sort of toys. I prefer hand made toys, wood, simple items or just adult things like pans and brushes (so middle class). But I have to admire the creativity of the people behind these goods and there is something compelling about all that colourful plastic. The green stuff, bottom right, is an orange bag.
Now I have posted my collection to Maria I just have to wait. I’ll show you what comes back.
Have you ever made something from rubbish? Or your own unique jewellery? I imagine wearing items like these would certainly stimulate a conversation – maybe that is the way to save the planet.
And from one lovely surprise in the post to a bit of a let down.
I bought 50cms of fabric from a small UK internet company called the haberdashery. When It eventually arrived (over a week later) I pulled a thread on the grain so I could even it up. Then I discovered that the fabric only measured 48cms! I contacted the company. Not because 2cms is that important, but I felt short changed as these arty Japanese fabrics are relatively expensive (£18 p/m plus postage). I complained that the fabric was short as well as late, but the proprietor said she had cut the fabric herself and she was “sure it was at least 50cms”.
Also considering “the trouble she had gone to get the fabric” to me I was being “unfair”. She would take the fabric back but would not reimburse either the original postage or my return postage. (2.95 each way). So do I lose £5.90 or 2cms? I also read their small print.
“We try very hard to ensure that our fabric is measured and cut to a high degree of accuracy but we do reserve the right for a 3.5cm margin of error on all cuts”.
If you buy half a metre this could mean you get only 46.5cm. Is this normal? My own experience – in real life stores – is that the cutter always cuts a little bit bigger, just in case they fail to cut on the grain. I was impressed by Ditto fabrics as she goes to some trouble to cut on the grain which is economical, fair and less wasteful. What do you think of this? Is such a disclaimer, and such a cavalier attitude to customer service, normal with internet vendors?