DIY Upcycle Furniture Demo Video by the Recover Team

DIY Upcycling Furniture Video: Upcycle a Retro Sideboard

See How the Recover Team Upcycle a Sideboard

Remade retailer and upcycling charity, The Recover Team have filmed themselves upcycling a sideboard using various techniques including sanding, painting and pattern work.

This 2 day upcycling project has been compacted into a handy video which is under 6 minutes long. It shows the full transformation of a salvaged sideboard into a stylish upcycled piece of furniture.

Watch the Upcycling Furniture Video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlembDuvU98

Upcycling Furniture: A Midcentury Sideboard

The full upcycling process begins with sanding throughout to remove the original wood varnish. Then paint is applied using a roller for a lovely textured effect. Rolling paint onto furniture is a great alternative to traditional painting techniques as it is quick and easy as the paint coverage is so good.

Then, members of The Recover Team have created stencils and decoration using various types of masking tape to create a lovely modern, simplistic floral pattern to the front of one of the sideboard drawers. They also modernised the original drawer handles by painting them black.

Here is a before photo of the midcentury wooden sideboard. As you can see it is a typical 1970’s retro sideboard in need of an upcycle or restoration:

Tired Salvaged Midcentury Modern Wooden Sideboard

An Upcycled Sideboard

Here is the finished result!

Upcyced Sideboard - Painted and sanded midcentury modern furniture

This photo was taken after the furniture had been upcycled. As you can see the end result of the upcycling project is this much improved sideboard. Stylish and practical, it is ready for use in a modern or retro style interior. Another quality piece of furniture saved from landfill! That’s what we like to see!

Upcycling Charity: The Recover Team

The restored sideboard is just one of many restoration projects that the Recover Team do each week. The motto of this not-for-profit social enterprise is ‘upcycling furniture & lives’ which is very fitting, as they teach volunteers valuable life and work skills.

A volunteer at The Recover Team learns how to restore and upcycle furniture and lots of other DIY skills. All the skills are transferable for getting into work but for some, it is just a great opportunity to help a good cause whilst meeting new people and making new friends.

Here are some examples of what the Recover Team do:

Painted Union Jack Flag Metallic Sideboard
Gold Leaf Union Jack Sideboard
Record and Decoupaged Magazine Round Dining Table
Decoupaged Dining Table
Coffee-Bean-Sack-Cushion
Coffee Sack Cushion

If you like their items or their cause, you can learn more about them or buy from them at http://www.remadeinbritain.com/recover-team/

Remade TV: An Upcycling Youtube Channel

Remade TV is a new Youtube Channel by Remade in Britain which hopes to have interviews with upcyclers, upcycling demos, DIY Tutorials and instructional videos on selling with www.remadeinbritain.com.

10 Easy Ideas for Upcycling Records

DIY Upcycling Vinyl Record Tutorials
Ever wondered how to create your own record 3 tier cake stand. Well follow these simple instructions in our Upcycle Vinyl Record Cake Stand Tutorial
DIY Record Cake Stand

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

Record Cake Stand Tutorial

 

DIY Step by Step Guide to making a Record Cake stand
DIY Cake Stand Tutorial

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

CREATING A VINYL RECORD AND MAGAZINE STOOL

We love this clever project from Aviliaway

Why not make an extra stool for entertaining that also looks great. Learn how to make an upcycled stool from old records.
DIY Record & Magazine Stool

Photo source & Tutorial: aviliaway.wordpress.com

 

UPCYCLED VINYL CHRISTMAS WREATH

Vinyl records make great Christmas Wreath Bases. Rather than buying a wreath base, why not create your own and then decorative with Christmas trimmings such as leaves, featheers, ribbon, pompoms and baubles.
DIY Record Christmas Wreath

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

DIY Christmas Wreath Tutorial

 

A do it yourself guide to creating an upcycled vinyl record display
DIY Christmas Wreath Tutorial

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

MAKE YOUR OWN RECORD WALL ART

Big fans of this from PopSugar

Creating wall art out of old unusued records is so easy and can make a fantastic feature wall like this Banksy inspired wall art example. Read how to make your own easy repurposed vinyl wall art.
Record Wall Art

Photo source: www.popsugar.com

 

Further Inspiration: 

What a brilliant use of records by La Bella Vida Art

Upcycled art: Broken record mosaic Bob Marley portrait by street artist mr brainwash.
Record Wall Art Portrait

Photo source: labellavidaart.blogspot.com 

DIY VINYL RECORD LAMP

It's so easy to upcycle records into a funky lamp. A vinyl record lamp is a great homeware for music lovers.
DIY Record Lamp

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

Vinyl Record Stack Light Tutorial

 

How to make a diy record lamp using 30 vinyl records and a string of led lights.
DIY Record Lamp Tutorial

DIY WALL MOUNTED VINYL HAT HOOKS:

A great upcycling idea for records by Hogarutil

Using vintage vinyl records to create useful wall hooks is a great idea. It's thrifty and looks very attractive. Great for hanging coats, scarves and hats.
Make Your Own Record Wall Hooks

Photo Source & Tutorial: www.hogarutil.com

UPCYCLED RECORD & CD TEA LIGHT CANDLE STAND

Upcycling records into decorative plates or tea light holders is an easy and fun upcycle project to do with kidsThe CDs create a great glow and together it makes for a wonderful centrepiece.
Record and CD Tealight Holder

Photo Source: The Upcycle Project

Record and CD Tealight Candle Holder Tutorial

 

How to create a vinyl record and cd tealight centrepiece
Record & CD Candle Holder Tutorial

 

 

CREATE YOUR OWN VINYL RECORD BOWL

LPs make are great for thrifty upcycling projects. Better than recycling, you can simply turn unused records into stylish bowls. Great for snacks, these repurposed vinyl bowls, are great for entertaining and getting the party started.
DIY Record Bowl

Photo Source: Fancy Tat

DIY Record Bowl Tutorial

 

USES FOR RECORDS: VINYL RECORD CENTRE PIECE

Upcycled Vinyl Record - Thrify Decorative Plate Idea
DIY Table Centrepiece

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

Upcycled Record Table Centrepiece Tutorial

Create your own vinl record decorative plate for use as a centrepiece in your table decoration.
REcord Table Centrepiece Tutorial

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

 

UPCYCLE IDEA: VINYL RECORD STATIONERY STORAGE

A DIY tutorial on how to make vinyl record stationery storage.
Record Stationery Holder

Photo source: The Upcycle Project

Record Storage Tutorial

 

Further inspiration from upcycling marketplace, Remade in Britain:

upcycled decoupage magazine record table

Why not apply records to furniture like in this Decoupaged Record Table?

upcycled-bent-triangular-shaped-vinyl-record-clock

Why not try heating records to make funky shapes like in this Folded Record Clock

The Upcycle Project is a handmade, upcycled product retailer based in India who sell on Nigel’s Eco Marketplace. You can find out more from them by visiting their twitter page or instagram page.

This Guest Blog is by The Upcycle Project for www.remadeinbritain.com. If you were wondering how to guest blog for Remade in Britain (website or wordpress site), please visit our Guest Blogging for Remade blog.

 

Remade Retailer Interview: Velo-Culture

Upcycled bicycle inner tube accessories: Bike Chain Cufflinks, 'Vegan Leather' make up bag & Flatty Wallet

Remade Meets Bike Inner Tube Upcycling Business, Velo Culture

The Remade in Britain team took a trip up north to the mighty North East, we met up with cycling upcycler Bev Blakeman from Velo Culture! A specialist in recycling inner tubes, Velo Culture transforms material destined for landfill into handy accessories the cycling community. Bev explains how she developed her business with a domestic sewing machine on her kitchen table, to a thriving business with upcycled products flying off the shelves!

 

Creating Bike Inner Tube Accessories

Talk us through your style, range and designs… What are your influences?

My first ever upcycling project was in fact a Cake Stop Caddy, which is now one of my best sellers! This was at first an experiment, using my Mum’s domestic sewing machine I created a wallet that I still use today! The Cake Stop Caddies are exclusively for cyclists with a sweet tooth, great for holding loose change and notes -for those who are inclined to just one more slice of cake!

The cake stop caddy soon evolved into belts, wash bags and even satchels! I received a custom order from lovely Gary from Green in Mind who wanted a satchel created from recycled inner tubes and rubber. Although this was a challenge, it has helped propel my business and pushed me into creating new, innovative designs!

I then took a stall at The Festival of Thrift, based up in Darlington I met so many great contacts and members of the upcycling community, including Remade in Britain! I started supplying stock to an ethical giift shop called Cherrydidi in Keswick; they have been flying off the shelves!

Cake Stop Caddy: A Minimalist Inner Tube Wallet, Vegan Friendly!

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/cake-stop-caddy-upcycled-inner-tube-minimalist-wallet.html

Photo of Velo Culture’s industrial sewing machine and desk

Getting into Upcycling

How did you get into upcycling?

I was made redundant during the recession and decided to combine my two hobbies, cycling and craft and create a business from my kitchen table. I have always been conscious of the environment and as a cycling enthusiast, I could see the potential in inner tubes. They are a material that are otherwise unusable, widely un-recyclable and cheaper to replace than repair, inner tubes end up in landfill which is such a waste!

“bike inner tubes are the throwaway material of the cycling world”

but the response that I have had from cycling community nation has been so positive! With bike shops and cycling cafes across Gateshead and Northumberland providing dump bins, each week I am supplied with such generous donations.

Photo source: Velo Culture

Bike inner tubes are collected from local cycling contacts and transformed into fantastic useful items such as this inner tube toiletry bag.

Bicycle Inner Tube Wash Bag / Toiletries Bag

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/upcycled-inner-tube-wash-toiletries-bag.html

An Upcycler in the Studio

Take us through a usual day in your studio…

In the mornings I answer my emails, normally these involve bespoke orders for customers wanting something extra special. Then I start packing orders, I am trying to build up stock of smaller items such as the wallets and cake stop caddies. With exciting events such as the Festival of Thrift on the horizon it’s important that I have plenty of stock to dip into! However this can be difficult, my wallets are flying off the shelves, so it’s sometimes difficult to keep my stock replenished, especially around Christmas time.

   A studio full of cycling memorabilia

Storing stock for dispatch: In the studio of Velo Culture

Upcycling Business: Social Media

Social media can take up a huge part of my day, Twitter is a great tool for me to communicate with other upcyclers, makers and designers! However it’s so easy to get distracted so balancing my time between marketing and making is somewhat of an art form!

Stitching with Inner Tubes

In the afternoons I sit on my industrial sewing machine and stitch away, sewing onto inner tubes is such a satisfying feeling. I like to get a good production line going in my studio, it’s great to know at the end of the day there is a pile of stock ready and waiting for my customers.

   Photo of Bev’s trusted Brother sewing machine

Tiring of a Throwaway Society?

Do you think the throw-away society we live in are becoming more aware of saving the environment? Do you think people have tired of a throwaway society and why?

Definitely! Upcycling and recycling has reached a peak, as a nation we are growing more aware of the environment. I have noticed an increase in the demand for handmade products, people definitely searching for more unique products and wanting to know where their products came from and the story behind them.

Handmade Vs. Mass-Produced

How do you think upcycled products compare with high street finds? Why should people shop for upcycled and repurposed goods?

Upcycled products are something completely different from anything you can find on the high street. Giving an upcycled gift, shows more thought, shows care and attention to detail, knowing that you can buy something completely unique and ultimately support small businesses is something that needs to be celebrated!

Investing in an upcycled product is revitalising traditional skills and ultimately saving materials from landfill!

A bike inner tube upcycler’s essentials: Thread and Fabric

Bike Chain Cufflinks

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/bicycle-chain-cufflinks.html

Upcycling Business Awards & Achievements

What do you consider your biggest working achievement to date?

I was shortlisted Guardian’s Upcycling Awards back in 2014. This was a fantastic opportunity and gave great exposure for Velo Culture!

I was also selected to exhibit my upcycled wash bag at Re-Art, which is an initiative to promote artists who use upcycled mediums to create their work. I discovered Re-Art at#remadehour, they are based all the way in Australia, this just demonstrates the power of social media – I was able to make a great connection and as a result got a fantastic opportunity in my living room!

‘Vegan Leather’ Inner Tube Pencil Case

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/upcycled-inner-tube-pencil-case.html

Running Your Own Upcycle Business

What is your biggest challenge in running your own business?

Not having enough hours in the day! Seasonal periods such as Christmas, are always a challenge, a great challenge though! It can get tough keeping on top of orders and hitting deadlines during the festive period.

Managing social media and managing orders is always a delicate balance. It’s important that I deal with bespoke orders as they arrive, but vital that I promote Velo Culture on social media. As I have a creative mind it is sometimes quite easy to get distracted!

Photo of Velo Culture’s oranised workspace

Have You Always Upcycled?

Would you say that upcycling is a new term? In the past, did you upcycle either intentionally or unintentionally?

Upcycling is a new term, however I think that the idea recycling has been around for generations! Programmes like the Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee has propelled the idea of making and creating, especially around the recession there was a definite change. Where we began utilising what was around us.

Coming from a family of thrifters, I have always been crafty. As an avid collector I love a good rummage in a charity shop, however back when I was making a purple cushion in my Home Economics class, I never thought that this is where I would be!

Upcycling Business Planning

Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

So many! There are some great festivals on the horizon that we are attending. I’m particularly looking forward to L’Erocia Britannia in Bakewell, in June. Three days of music, food and lots of shopping! We are also attending the Festival of Thrift based in Darlington at the end of September too! This was great fun last year. I am also planning to release new products, these are bigger products, still using recycled bike parts. This will be great to push myself into creating new designs and widening my customer audience.

A handy workspace

Upcycling Business Tips

Do you have any top tips for any budding upcyclers reading?

Give it a go, there is nothing to lose! Using recycled and reclaimed materials means that you have a fantastic, free (or almost free) products to get upcycling with. Have a play, experiment and link your passions in with your projects.

Networking is vital, social media is a great tool to reach your customers and get your upcycled products noticed! Instagram is a particular favourite of mine, it’s a more visual platform, Facebook is also my main tool, it allows you to leave links and interact more freely with customers and upcyclers alike!

   Where the upcycling happens

We would love to thank Bev for a guided tour around the Velo Culture studio and a wonderful insight into life as an upcycler. We would like to also congratulate Mr & Mrs Velo Culture on their recent wedding!

Don’t forget to check out Velo Culture’s online store and grab yourself an original Velo Culture. A perfect handmade gift for Father’s Day, for cycling enthusiasts or for the eco conscious too.

Bike Inner Tube Make Up Bag 

Image sourced from: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/lined-upcycled-make-up-bag.html

Remade in Britain Judges Preloved Advent Competition

Remade-in-Britain-Judges-Preloved-Advent

UPCYCLING MARKETPLACE JOINS THE JUDGING PANEL FOR PRELOVED’S CHRISTMAS COMPETITION

Remade in Britain is all set to judge the #PrelovedAdvent competition this coming December alongside our friends, Eco Create and The Purple Finch. Think you have what it takes to make the best thrifty Christmas decoration? Then read on…

Our Business Manager, Michelle (on twitter as @remadeinbrit) will be helping to choose the best thrifty Christmas decoration under a fiver and has been looking at what is already out there.

Upcycled Christmas Decorationpallet christmas decoration   

 

 

PRELOVED ADVENT COMPETITION

Preloved are asking creatives and thrifters amongst the upcycling community to create a Christmas decoration for under £5.00. So get those creative juices flowing and you could win the title and your very own vintage telephone table.

The Preloved Advent Competition is set to be an exciting event, so we definitely urge all our lovely Remade Retailers and upcycling friends to get involved! You need to get moving though as the closing date for the Preloved Advent Competition is 16th December.

We’ll be helping to announce the winner during a special twitter chat at 12pm on 18th December along with Preloved and the other judges. Come join in the twitter chat and ask us questions with the hashtag #PrelovedAdvent. We’d love to ee you there!

All entries should be emailed to social@preloved.com. Good luck everyone!

#PRELOVEDADVENT

You an keep us and the other judges up to date with your entries and progress on twitter by using the hashtag #PrelovedAdvent or by tagging us direct @remadeinbrit and @preloved. We’d love to hear your ideas and see some sneak peeks, so tweet us during RemadeHour on Wednesday evenings between 8-9pm with the hashtag #RemadeHour.

Preloved Advent Competition

Remade Retailer Interview: Donna Walker Design

Donna Walker Design: Upcycled Industrial Stryle Skeleton Lamps

Remade meets Donna to Discuss Her Industrial Style Skeleton Lampshades

For this week’s Guest Blog we caught up with fellow Remade in Britain retailer, Donna Walker Design at the Great Home Hack. An advocate for upcycling and the Fine Arts, Donna creates lighting accessories from vintage homewares! Combining traditional craftsmanship with modern trends, Donna develops themes of memory through her upcycled pieces and brings them right up to date. This is a fascinating blog for those who are enthusiastic about reusing and recycling furniture destined for landfill, about embracing past treasures and imagining the journeys they have been through!

What does upcycling mean to you?

For me upcycling is about more than just the environmental concerns which surround consumerism and responsible design. It’s obvious that designers need to be more aware of the environmental impact of creating more and more new products for the market; which inevitably use our planets valuable resources and will most likely end up in landfill in a relatively short space of time. Of course all these things are something which drives the world of upcycling, but I am also interested in the history and lives of objects that already exist. Upcycling for me is also about the history and stories embedded in the objects we have in society.

“Upcycling is All About Craftsmanship”

Looking at the original craftsmanship in objects which years ago would have been made by hand rather than by machinery, a skill we are all too readily loosing. Some objects which are thrown away to landfill may have lived for longer than you or I. They have lived alongside people acting as ‘containers of memories,’ being part of family life; living through times that we may learn about though books or films. Relics of our history so to speak.

London-based Donna Walker hanging her skeleton lampshades to make another Skeleton Lampshade Chandelier. Photo supplied by Donna Walker Design.

   Upcycled Vintage Furniture   The Finished Result: A bright yet industrial style chandelier sits above a dining table. Photo source: Donna Walker Design.

Donna WalkerDonna in her workshop. Photo Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

Talk us through your style, range and designs….

My style reflects my ideas surrounding upcycling. The range which I currently have on sale at Remade in Britain are the Skeleton Lampshade range.

“Skeleton Lampshades are exisiting lampshades which are stripped back to their original framework”

I  work with the existing framework and rather than covering this in fabric and hiding the ‘skeleton’ of the piece, they are left naked with a simple powder coated finish.

Intended to be used with special bulbs which do not dazzle your eyes, it makes the need for a fabric covering defunct.  Without this fabric covering, you are able to see the original craftsmanship in the framework, something not usually celebrated, but an aspect which is entirely functional and beautiful.

Modern Industrial Lamps: Upcycled, Powder-Coated Lampshades for Minimalist Interiors

Skeleton Lamp Shades A selection of industrial style lamps by Donna Walker Design. Photo source: Donna Walker Design

Windows Series: Repurposed Chairs and Tables

How I upcycle my furniture…

My other ranges which I make to order. For example, ‘Window Series’ repurposes old chairs and tables, all pieces are stripped back and hand painted except for one small component which is left original, making a feature of the scratches and dents, revealing it’s history and story.

Painted Vintage FurnitureUpcycled Chairs & Tables; Reupholstered and Painted. Photo Source: Donna Walker Design

I then upholster the seats of the vintage chairs in a matching fabric to the paintwork. This is so the ‘naked’ original component contrasts to the paintwork, creating a window into the objects history. I’m a firm believer that these scratches and imperfections are part of the piece of furniture’s life and should therefore be cherished. Bold, block colours are a signature style within my work, and I do adapt these colours for specific commissions. I aim to make the defunct and unloved, fit into today’s tastes and fashions.

Take us through a usual day in your studio…

There is never a ‘usual’ day in the studio, each day is different which is why I love upcycling so much!

I share my studio with 3 other creatives, which is a great environment for discussing ideas, trying out designs and getting feedback. It really is massively inspiring being surrounded by other creative people with different passions and skills. We all get on really well and so spend time together for lunch etc.

I try to do all my admin work at home as it’s a much cleaner environment, but when I have orders or want to play around with new ideas I spend my time at the studio.

A Modern Take on the Industrial Style: Skeleton Lamps

Vintage Lampshade Chandelier   Skeleton Lampshade Close-up. Photo source: Donna Walker Design

Handmade Vintage Skeleton Lampshade   Skeleton Lamp Promotional Photo Shoot. Photo source: Donna Walker Design

Handmade Vintage Lamp ShadeSkeleton lamps up close. Skeleton lampshades use daylight imitation bulbs which are kinder to our eyes. Photo source: Donna Walker Design

Why should people shop for upcycled and repurposed goods?

As mentioned before, there are the environmental impacts to be considered. I also personally feel that the idea of owning something which has had a life of its own before you own it is fascinating.

Imagine owning something which has lived through a World War, a revolution or even been within your own family for a long time. It takes on a whole new meaning, and the fact that you now own it gives you a chance to add to the pieces history, to mould its future, to be part of a story.

By upcycling objects, designers are giving these pieces a chance to continue their lives whilst also avoiding landfill.

Learning to Upcycle

How did you get into upcycling, did you train professionally?

I did my degree in art and design interdisciplinary at Leeds College of Art and Design which is where I first got into upcycling. I was working on projects surrounding memory, history, personal stories and the home, and I turned my hand to furniture and upcycling in order to fulfill the ideas I was exploring.

I enjoyed it so much, and got so much from producing something which for me was a kind of conceptual art I suppose, but also a functional item that people could live with, that I decided to specialise in furniture making and upholstery. Since leaving university I set up my own design business concentrating on these ideas.

Owning an Upcycling Business

What do you find your biggest challenge in running your own business?

There are many massive challenges in running your own business! As an independent designer maker it is extremely hard to make enough money to live on purely through the designs you make.

Therefore I have to supplement this with doing other freelance design work, working with communities and schools, as well as in the corporate world. I currently run two different companies, Donna Walker Design, Traces London (an immersive events company), and work freelance for some private clients in the city.

Juggling all these things can be really stressful, and sometimes you have to turn down jobs that you love because you are already promised to another job, or because another one pays more money.

Then you’ve got tasks such as admin work, tax returns, website maintenance, social media etc. It’s a lot for just one person to do, and I regularly work 7 days a week.

Another challenge for me is other designers and companies replicating my work, unfortunately I have had my designs replicated by at least 5 other big design shops to date. My designs have been replicated almost identically, but have made the products from new rather than upcycling existing pieces which avoids the original concept with is rather frustrating! An ethical message into just another mass produced object destined for landfill.

But, all of these challenges are not enough to make you want to pack it all in. The thrill and excitement of working for yourself, doing something you love, will always be more rewarding and satisfying than the negatives. It’s hard work, but it’s totally worth it!

Running a BusinessDonna working in her shared London studio. Photo Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

I am currently busy preparing the next Traces Exhibition which we hope will be our biggest to date. I founded Traces back in 2011 with Talulah Mason with the idea of creating an environment in which myself and others could exhibit their work outside of the white cube gallery, and it takes on many of my interests from upcycling, and puts them back into another format.

Traces: Contemporary Art & Craft Exhibit

Traces is a collective of individuals ranging from architects to designers and curators. It invites contemporary artists and designers to work with them re-imagining old spaces through limited time frame interventions. The Traces website contains developing information regarding both upcoming and previous events.   Artist Collective - Traces   Photo Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

Art InstallationPhoto Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

Traces is about narrative. More specifically,

“Traces is about the practice of using buildings to tell their history”

through the stories of those who lived and worked in them, through objects. Objects are more resonant than language, as they allow for gaps and slippage in their interpretation. Buildings fall out of favour, their uses change and often their past becomes hidden by their own contemporary obscurity.  In the process of researching the architectural heritage of a building and its relationship to the local environment, these lost spaces can be reinvigorated. Traces, however, adds another level to this by re-imagining a specific historical duration through the lens of contemporary designers. The function is not historical recreation nor simple pastiche, but of bringing a former life of a building into the contemporary design arena through an immersive interactive experience for both participants and audience. This experience combines historical facts with fictitious objects and stories that interweave to produce the exhibition. Have you ever stood in a museum and longed to make contact with those stories, by touching the objects so tantalisingly close behind the glass?  Or wandered through a dilapidated and empty house, wishing you could see it as the last inhabitants left it?

Painstakingly researched, ‘Traces,’ is a combination of  theatrical design, history, and the very latest gorgeous and evocative art and design, which maps and elaborates on the stories of the actual former inhabitants of the building, bringing it back to life with smells, tastes, touches and sounds of an age gone by. The audience are invited to come along and discover these histories for themselves; wandering through the rooms left as if only a moment before, and unpicking their secrets.  Interacting with the specially commissioned and selected art and design pieces to unravel clues about the building and its inhabitants., whilst also having the opportunity of buying their favourite ones at the end of the show.

Traces an Artist Collective   Photo Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

Contemporary Art Exhibition   Photo Credit to Giovanna del Sarto

We would like to thank Donna for a truly inspirational blog, if you’ve loved hearing about Donna’s work why not take a peak at her online shop? Filled with glorious upcycled lighting accessories, handmade from vintage accessories.

Vintage Lamp Shade      Table Lamp Accessories

       Photos sourced from: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/donna-walker-design/

If you are interested in guest blogging at Remade in Britain, please do get in touch we would love to hear from you! Send you enquiry to info@remadeinbritain.com

Remade in Britain at the Festival of Thrift 2015

Remade in Britain Thrift Fest Stall

Remade in Britain visits Thrift Fest!

At the end of September, the Remade team spent a wonderful weekend at the UK’s largest upcycling event, The Festival of Thrift in Darlington. The award-winning celebration of thrift was back for it’s third year with even more thrifty fun than ever before! With a huge array of stalls, performances, demonstrations and food carts, it’s no wonder the festival brought in over 45,000 attendees. The thousands of festival-goers were shown how to recycle, reuse and upcycle in thrifty workshops and demonstrations over the weekend and entertained with plenty of vintage inspired song and dance. With hundreds of amazing artists, upcyclers and crafters showing visitors how to live a more sustainable life, it’s fair to say we were in very good company!

The Remade team were lucky enough to host a brilliant space at the event, with 4 stalls to fill with eco treats and plenty of space for upcycled furniture…and it was conveniently located just around the corner from Canteen Alley, bonus! In the run up to the Festival, many of our fantastic Retailers sent us a selection of their handmade, eco-friendly gifts and homewares, so our stalls were jam packed with fabulous products to suit every kind of thrifty shopper! From recycled tin can lanterns by Olibee to furnitureupcycling kits from WeeRed Boutique and tonnes of inventive eco jewellery, our stalls were adorned with upcycled treats to suit every style and budget. We also proudly displayed a range of eco-friendly accessories and homeware by FancyTat, gorgeous repurposed textile handbags creatively upcycled by Vicky Myers and unique homewares from Sprigasuarus, plus much more! We want to say a huge thank you to our Retailers for sending across all your brilliant products, they went down an absolute treat with the thrift fest attendees!

We were joined by a handful of Remade Retailers over the weekend to give us a hand spreading the Remade word; Dawn from Purepallets, Simon and Jayne of DNA Furniture, Stuart from STU-ART Aviation Furniture, Sarah from FARM and Amanda of Amanda Jayne Handmade Designs all brought along their upcycled goodies for the thrifty festival goers to peruse. They shared their upcycling tips and tricks with the eco-conscious visitors and made the weekend a whole load of fun! Thanks to all those of you who came to say hello to the Remade clan, it was lovely to meet so many enthusiastic recycle devotees and share upcycling ideas. For those of you who weren’t able to come along to thrift fest to purchase our Retailer’s eco-friendly gifts and home accessories, fear not! Here’s a quick recap of the Retailers we spent the weekend with, and where you can get your hands on their upcycled wares…

STU-ART Aviation: Upcycled Aircraft Furniture

Avid upcycler Stuart of STU-ART Aviation Furniture brought a fantastic selection of his upcycled aircraft furniture for thrift fest visitors to marvel at.

At his upcycling workshop in the North East, Stuart expertly designs and builds unique upcycled furniture from disused aircraft parts. As a Civilian Aircraft Engineer by trade, Stuart has the knowledge and expertise to reinvent aviation parts into functional pieces of furniture.

Sourcing salvaged aeroplane parts from all over the UK and beyond, Stuart has turned STU-ART Aviation from a weekend hobby fueled by a passion for recycling, into a thriving eco business! Stuart turns catering trollies into wine racks, airline seats into office chairs, aeroplane doors into desks and is even working on turning an aircraft carcass into a sofa…the possibilities are endless! At the event, festival goers enjoyed testing out Stuarts comfortable leather office chairs and hearing the upcycling stories behind each unique item from the eco warrier himself. To get your hands on a one of a kind aircraft item, visit the online store of STU-ART Aviation or get in touch to request a bespoke order.

Farm: Reclaimed Wood Home Accessories & Furniture

Specialising in French vintage bric-a-brac and homewares, Sarah of FARM hunts out preloved pieces and gives them a new lease of life, a pastime she likes to call ‘farming’.

From what started as a practical solution to renovating a new home on a budget, Farm is now a gorgeous collection of upcycled and refound vintage pieces, perfect for creating a sophisticated, shabby chic interior style in your home. Sarah created a delightful display at the Festival of Thrift, featuring reclaimed wooden serving boards, industrial style apothecary jars and cosy recycled wool blankets. Farm’s handcrafted kitchen table and matching benches, made of reclaimed wood with industrial style hairpin legs, were somewhat of a showstopper! To see Farm’s full range of upcycled and reclaimed home accessories, visit Sarah’s online Remade store here.

Purepallets: Rustic Upcycled Pallet Home Accessories

Based in York, Dawn of Purepallets creates handmade, rustic pieces for your home.

Inspired by the industrial home interior style, Dawn salvages and upcycles pallets to create functional and unique homewares, from reclaimed wood wine racks and distressed effect iPad stands to bespoke, personalised pet beds! Motivated by a love of recycling and repurposing, Dawn upcycled her first wine rack for a friend in 2013…the rest is history! Natural style coasters, rustic tealight blocks and upcycled pallet wall plagues are just a few of Dawn’s best sellers, all of which went down a treat with attendees at the Festival of Thrift. Dawn is continuously adding new lines to her fantastic range of upcycled pallet creations, so you’re sure to find a unique home accessory in her online Remade store. Dawn also takes commission orders, so if you love the industrial style of Dawn’s handiwork but can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, be sure to get in touch! Learn more about the birth of Purepallets and have a nosey around Dawn’s upcycling workshop in our guestblog with the upcycling pro!

DNA Furniture: Colourful Shabby Chic Upcycled Furniture

Upcycling duo Simon and Jayne of DNA Furniture create colourful, unique pieces of furniture from second hand finds.

As Simon has years of experience in restoring furniture and Jayne is a home interiors expert, they’re the perfect pair to source and upcycle treasures for your home. Distressed paint finishes are DNA’s speciality, so if you’re a lover of the shabby chic look then you’re in the right place! Based in South Yorkshire, DNA create everything from vintage dressing tables to reupholstered mismatched chairs, and even upcycle salvaged antique doors into wax finished hall coat stands. We think you’ll agree, DNA’s display of upcycled treats at the festival looked superb! Visit DNA’s online Remade store to browse their full range of revamped furniture finds, including this handpainted red floral chair!

Amanda Jayne Handmade: Embroidered Textile Art Keepsakes and Gifts

Yorkshire based mixed media artist Amanda Jayne joined us for a day at The Festival of Thrift, bringing along a wonderful selection of her embroidered keepsakes and vintage treasures.

Inspired by the ‘make do and mend’ ethic of her Grandmother’s generation, Amanda loves to combine vintage buttons, fabric and lace to create unique textile art. When she’s not stitching away in her studio space, Amanda can be found treasure hunting for vintage momentos to incorporate into her work. From old photographs to vintage brooches and jewels, Amanda’s hand stitched keepsakes can be inspired by all sorts of haberdashery items, meaning every nostalgic piece is completely one of kind. Amanda even used her expert eye to find a pair of antique spectacles at the festival – we can’t wait to see how she incorporates these into one of her romantic designs! Embroidery hoops, decorative lampshades and vintage fabric remnants could all be picked up on Amanda’s stall at thrift fest. But don’t worry if you missed it, just check out her online Remade store! To find out more about Amanda Jayne’s creative business, read our guestblog from earlier in the year.

So now you know all about our adventures to the Festival of Thrift, what a brilliant weekend it was! Read more about Remade’s upcycling events on the blog, and stay tuned to the Remade Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with more exciting events coming soon. We hope to see you all over at #RemadeHour on Wednesday for our weekly dose of upcycling inspiration!

Remade in Britain Talk Upcycling on TV Channel, Made in Leeds

Remade in Britain interviewed on Made in Leeds TV

Upcycling Marketplace, Remade in Britain are interviewed on Local TV Station

A while ago, in the midst of the big ‘Upcycle a Room in a Skip Press Launch‘, Founder of Remade in Britain, Donna Fenn along with Business Manager, Michelle Simpson were interviewed live on Leeds-based TV Channel, Made in Leeds.

The live interview about the launch of the upcycling marketplace, Remade in Britain discussed the big ‘Upcycle a Room in a Skip’ photography stunt which was staged in a Leeds recycling centre to showcase just how much useful items are sent to landfill. The aim of the stunt was to emphasise just what the items could become if they were saved, reused or donated.

Joining the Remade team in the studio was Ben from local West Yorkshire business, Re-Frmd Furniture Company. Remade in Britain wanted to let people know what it is like to be part of Remade and to be a professional upcycler.

 

Remade in Britain on The Book-It List

The interview begins with Donna being interviewed by Book-It List presenters, Mark O’Brien and Leanne Megson before Ben from Re-frmd Furniture Co. speaks about his upcycled pallet and scaffold board items business. The segment continues with Michelle talking about upcycling and finishes with a look into local Leeds charity, Men In Sheds, who use woodworking skills and facilities to bring together men from all walks of life.

Entrepreneur, Donna Fenn of Remade in Britain Interviewed on Made in Leeds

Part 2 of the interview introduces a few others to the mix. Whilst Ben and Michelle head off behind the camera, Donna is accompanied by fellow entrepreneur, Charlotte Armitage who founded YAFTA and close-up magician, Tom Wright. Watch it here:

Restoration Day 2015: Devoted to Restoring Vintage Furniture

Painted-dressing-table-upcycling-before-and-after

Restoration Day! 

At Remade in Britain, we are firm believers that second hand doesn’t mean second best! We are always encouraging the upcycling community to renovate, redesign and repurpose wherever possible, to create beautiful new designs from second hand materials. In our opinion, there’s nothing more satisfying than transforming tired, unloved objects into show-stopping creations.

So when we heard about the UK’s first ever national Restoration Day coming up on the 22nd August, launched by Preloved, we couldn’t have been more excited! Our talented Retailers are constantly amazing us with the passion, imagination and creativity used to refurbish preloved items, so we thought we’d share a few wonderfully restored beauties with you ahead of Restoration Day! We think you’ll agree, the history and individuality behind these vintage restorations is definitely something to be celebrated!

1. RE:SOURCE Vintage

As you can see from the photo on the left, this 1960’s McIntosh sideboard had suffered years of neglect before it was found and rescued by the fabulous team of upcyclers at the social enterprise ‘Re:Source Vintage’. Given a little bit of TLC, this super sleek sideboard has been brought back to its former glory, and would make a fabulous feature addition to a retro inspired home. To transform this once tired and neglected piece of vintage furniture, the volunteers at Cornwall based ‘Re:Source Vintage’ first dismantled the piece and then used good old elbow grease to strip back the beautiful teak wood to it’s original condition. The inside of the carcass was also refurbished, while the cupboard fronts were stripped back and given a re-polish. The finished item is simply stunning!

Restored 1960’s McIntosh Sideboard

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/mcintosh-teak-sideboard.html

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/mcintosh-teak-sideboard.html

Having first earned popularity in the mid 20th century, teak wood is one of the most sought-after woods for furniture making due to its hard substance and high quality. So next time you see a vintage teak beauty that has seen better days, don’t be fooled by the dust and water marks. Grab yourself some sand paper and a bottle of polish and soon enough, you’ll have yourself a shining statement piece of furniture to take pride of place in your home!

2. Unique Vintage Industrial

When you find a vintage treasure this stunning, a simple restoration is all thats needed! The cast iron base of this unique desk comes complete with embossed circular plaques on the sides, giving it the ultimate industrial feel. Remade Retailers ‘Unique Vintage Industrial’ have cleverly topped this authentic iron base with deep reclaimed timber planks, to create the perfect work station for an industrial style pad when teamed with this vintage draughtsman’s chair. Integral casters have also been added to this reworked antique desk, to make it more practical for modern use. The upcyclers at ‘Unique Vintage Industrial’ believe in integrity, authenticity and sustainability, and pride themselves on restoring vintage pieces of furniture to help you create individual living spaces.

Upcycled Industrial Machine Table
   Photo Source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/unique-vintage-industrial/   Photo Source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/unique-vintage-industrial/

Remember to look out for unusual homewares that could be turned into a unique piece of furniture when topped with reclaimed wood, such as antique sewing machine tables, for example. Pallet wood is readily available and inexpensive, so why not think about creating a one of kind upcycled masterpiece by combining it with a reclaimed industrial item?

3. The Purple Finch

It’s hard to believe this upcycled shabby-chic chair was once an abandoned and unloved pub chair. Upcycled by ‘The Purple Finch’, specialists in lovingly transformed one-off pieces of furniture, this once undesirable chair is now a seat fit for a queen! The tired bare wood has been hand painted in a modern grey colour and given a stylish distressed finish. Luxurious gold leaf detailing on the legs is typical of The Purple Finch’s beautiful ornate style. The worn leather seat has been reupholstered with a French hessian bag, giving it a lovely rustic look.

Painted Hessian Upholstered Wooden Dining Chair
       Photo source for both: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/hessian-bag-chair.html

With the closure of many public houses across the country, old pub furniture can often be picked up at auction houses and salvage yards for little cost. Why not grab yourself a bargain and try your hand at upcycling using fun paint techniques?

4. Jitka Brimble Furniture

Has there ever been such an eye-catching chest of drawers? The very talented Remade Retailer ‘Jitka Brimble Furniture’ takes carefully selected retro pieces of furniture and sympathetically refurbishes them using a clever technique involving original vintage fabric. To give this mid-century chest of drawers a nostalgic rehaul, ‘Jitka Brimble’ have painted the drawer surrounds a clean bright white, which perfectly offsets the boldness of colours featured in the 1970’s fabric that has been used to cover the drawer fronts. We think this unusual upcycling technique is a fantastic way to give your vintage pieces of furniture a fittingly retro restoration! Jitka Brimble’s retro range is certainly proof that bold is best!

1970’s Red Retro Fabric Chest of Drawers

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/retro-chest-of-drawers.html

 Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/retro-chest-of-drawers.html

5. Goldbird

This pretty little retro side cabinet looks like it’s been picked straight out of a 1950’s beauty salon! With a sweet pink and white quilted front, stylish tapered legs and an elegant silver door handle, this original ‘Lusty’ cabinet is in great condition, despite it’s age. Covered in a vinyl fabric, this is a delicious retro piece that would bring brilliant fifties vibes to your home. Sourced by vintage enthusiasts ‘Goldbird’, Remade Retailers who have been rescuing and restoring mid-century curiosities since 2012, this beauty is perfect just as it is. Other mid-century finds may have had a more difficult life before you find them, but don’t let this put you off! A little love and attention can work wonders to bring items from bygone decades back to life. Try replacing door knobs, redoing vinyl wrapping or repainting woodwork to restore your retro treasures.

Revamped Lusty Loom Bedside Table

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/lusty-side-cabinet-1950s-orginal-furniture-retro-vintage-great-condition.html

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/lusty-side-cabinet-1950s-orginal-furniture-retro-vintage-great-condition.html

6. Anecdotes Design

To introduce you to another fantastic restoration technique, check out this fab 1950’s dressing table brought back to life by ‘Anecdotes Design’. With a passion for colourfully restoring mid-century treasures, Folkestone based Anecdotes Designs have used vinyl wrapping to give this G-Plan desk a much needed makeover. Although a beautiful retro shape and in good vintage condition, the dressing table was looking a little tired and uninspiring before the Anecdotes team got their hands on it. As you can see, upcycling with 50’s style vinyl is an excellent way to add bright colour to old furniture, without losing the vintage authenticity of the piece. We just love a good before and after here at Remade in Britain!

Updated G Plan 1950’s Dressing Table

7. Austameric

With their stylish tapered legs, this retro pair are unmistakably mid-century! When buying second hand chairs, make sure to check the condition of the frame even when the fabric looks a little worse for wear. Often they are in great condition, and offer the perfect excuse for an upcycling project! This stunning pair of retro chairs, refurbished by upcycling couple ‘Austameric’, is proof that a little polish and a complete reupholster can make all the difference. By restoring the wood to its former glory and upholstering the seat and back of the chairs in a funky fabric, featuring a psychedelic wave pattern, Remade Retailers ‘Austameric’ have created a pretty pair that would look perfectly at home in any modern home. The splashes of neon green and bright pink are an ideal way to add a hint of colour to your interior decor.

Pair of Retro Midcentury Dining Chairs

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/upcycled-mid-century-chairs.html

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/upcycled-mid-century-chairs.html

8. Rag and Bone Furniture

Before it founds its way into the hands of ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’, this wooden blanket box was looking a little dark and dated. Using imagination, creativity and elbow grease, ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’ turn somewhat unloved furniture like this into unique pieces that can transform a room. After being hand painted in a lick of Annie Sloan paint and slightly distressed, Remade Retailers ‘Rag and Bone’ have used the decoupage technique to upcycle this vintage chest, highlighting the panel detailing of the piece. Decoupage simply involves cutting out pictures and using layers of varnish to glue them to your object, which could be anything from lamp shades to bed frames! Wallpaper, magazines, wrapping paper or catalogues can all be used to decoupage with, but for this bespoke blanket chest ‘Rag and Bone Furniture’ have used beautiful floral paper picked up during travels in Asia. You can’t beat some vintage florals!

Painted and Decoupaged Vintage Ottoman

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/blanket-box.html

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/blanket-box.html

Blanket boxes provide such a handy storage solution, perfect for hiding away all your upcycling materials! How about rescuing a blanket chest before it’s too late and having a go at decoupaging? All you need is some pretty paper, a craft knife, a soft sponge and some varnish… and a little creativity!

9. Phoenix Antiques Barn

This one-off upcycled sofa is a perfect example of how second hand findings can be repurposed to take on a whole new function! Skilfully recycled from a vintage vaulting horse, this unique sofa is certainly a talking point. By adding comfortable foam cushions, which have been upholstered in a stripy bohemian fabric, this former piece of gymnastics apparatus has been given a second lease of life by vintage treasure hunters ‘Phoenix Antiques Barn’. The creativity used to reimagine this second hand vaulting horse is so impressive, and the finished article is super stylish!

Upcycled Sofa from Vintage Gymnast Vaulting Horse   
 Photo Source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/one-off-up-cycled-sofa-from-a-vintage-vaulting-horse.html

Photo Source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/one-off-up-cycled-sofa-from-a-vintage-vaulting-horse.html

The experts at ‘Phoenix Antiques Barn’ are pros at sourcing an eclectic mix of retro, antique and vintage furniture and homewares, but we can all keep an eye open for vintage pieces that can be rescued and recycled. Remember not to judge second hand items at first glance, with a little imagination and restoration, antique wares can be destined for new things!

10. The Vaudeville Home

Hand painting, stencil work and decoupaging techniques have all been used to transformed this solid oak console table from brown and bland to bright and sunny! Gill at ‘The Vaudeville Home’ advocates the durability, workmanship and eco-friendliness of vintage furniture, and enjoys letting her imagination run wild when reinventing furniture. This beautiful edwardian table has first been hand painted in a sunshine yellow chalk paint, then the drawers have been carefully decoupaged in a fun tropical pattern. The complementing green and coral colours of the decoupage paper have been picked out to add detailing to the elegantly shaped legs of the piece, and artistic stencil work adds interest to the sides and base. A distressed finish has been given to the edges and corners of the piece, a wonderful way to add age and character to an upcycled item!

   Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/the-vaudeville-home/

Photo source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/the-vaudeville-home

With the help of our fantastic Retailers, we hope we have given you a little bit of inspiration for your next restoration project! Join in the #RestorationDay celebrations on Twitter using the hastag #reloved, we’d love to see how you have refurbished, repaired and rennovated your vintage finds! For your weekly dose of upcycling inspiration, don’t forget to join the upcycling community for #RemadeHour every Wednesday evening 8-9pm!

Remade Retailer Interview: Donna from Totes Adore

Totes Adore Melted Glass Home Accessories

Remade Meets the North East Glass Bottle Recycler

For this week’s guest blog we made a trip up to the mighty north east and caught up with our retailer Donna Feeney owner of Totes Adore, retro style queen and avid glass bottle recycler! We had a guided tour around the Totes Adore studio named ‘The Bunker’ based in Darlington, the home to Big Bertha and Little Bertha, her well loved and trusted kilns.

Kiln Glass Bottle Upcycling

With huge stores filled with thrifted bottles, collected and donated from local clubs, pubs and bars, Donna melts them down in her kilns to create wonderfully quirky accessories, including the famous Drunken Drizzle bottles! I met up with Donna where we chatted about running her own business, why she upcycles and exciting plans for the future!

Interview with a Glass Upcycler

What does Upcycling mean to you?

To me, upcycling means taking unwanted objects and creating them into beautiful, functional items. I create things such as cheeseboards, oil drizzle bottles and clocks from recycled glass bottles, the glass is melted down in my kiln (Big Bertha), where you can see the original function of the material. I believe within upcycling it’s important to lend reference to its previous function and help recognise the potential in waste and make us all embrace the importance of reusing and recycling!

As a Retro & Kitsch style worshipper this is something that I bring into my pieces, it’s important to me that not only am I rescuing materials from landfill but also this represents my own tastes, styles and interests.

Melted Glass Bottle Clock

Newcastle Brown AlePhoto Source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/totes-adore/

Kiln Formed Glass Cupcake Stand

Flattened Wine BottlesPhoto source: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/upcycled-flattened-wine-bottle-cakestand.html

Do you think people have grown tired of a throwaway society and why?

Yes! Big high street shops have a huge role to play in our throwaway society, fashion stores brought us into the concept of cheap and fast shopping. Where you can pick up clothing without a thought other than the price. Understanding what we are buying, and the value of the product is not important. It’s sad to think that we are in a mind-set where everything is replaceable.

Buying flat pack furniture has also been a massive part of the throwaway culture means that traditional joinery skills, dove tail joints and solid furniture have been abandoned. Embracing traditional skills and reusing and making use of furniture and materials around us is so important. There’s something so fantastic about taking vintage furniture, making your mark on it and expressing your personality, you can upcycle into something totally unique and one of a kind – something that you just don’t get with your average flat pack!

What other crafts or upcycling are you involved in?

Recently I have started sewing and embroidery classes, this has made me realise the time, efforts and skills which go into creating textile pieces. As an avid button collector and fabric thrifter it was great to start transforming and making from scraps and recycled fabric. I certainly stood out in my patchwork quilt class from those who bought fat quarter packs from the craft shop! It’s important that we learn skills which are in danger of being lost, workshops are a great way of meeting new people and socialising with friends. There’s something so theraputic about sitting and sewing, whilst putting the world to rights with your pals!

Why should people shop for upcycled and repurposed goods?

I think the way we shop has definitely revolutionised! Today people like to support smaller businesses and shop for unique items, they like to buy things which have a story or string personal collection with them. I’ve noticed a definite increase, which is fantastic for small makers and designers such as myself. With trends of vintage and antique  becoming more popular in our interiors but also the way in which we dress, vintage fairs and pop up shops mean that we are growing accustomed once more to recycling and reusing – even if it is subconscious!

What does buying recycled and upcycled products mean to you?

Buying recycled and upcycled goods means that you are taking and creating your own piece of history. With most of us renting, its harder to decorate your interiors to your liking, so investing in upcycled vintage furniture and restyled homewares is a great way of injecting your personality into your rented home! It’s important that we embrace and make use of what we have, and look for the quality and potential of things considered throwaway.

Flattened Bottle Clocks   Images taken of Donna Feeny’s studio

Retro DecorImages taken of Donna Feeny’s studio

Retro DecorImages taken of Donna Feeny’s studio

How did you get into designing your recycled glassware’s? Was it a conscious or subconscious?

A close friend of mine is a ceramic artist, as we are a creative pair, we often have craft sessions together. We were experimenting with his kiln fusing ceramics from beachcombed sea glass and I stuck in an empty bottle of wine, just to see what happened. This turned out to be quite a happy experiment, it got me thinking about why recycled glass is crushed, melted and made again? Surely this is a wasteful exercise, where energy is being wasted.

Kiln Fused Ceramics

 Images taken of one of Donna Feeny’s kiln’s in her workshop

How would you describe your style? Where do you get your inspiration from?

The Totes Adore unit is surrounded by small businesses, it’s somewhat a community! What is one businesses’ waste is another’s treasure (as the saying goes!) so we are often swapping and exchanging bits and bobs, and also ideas and inspiration! There’s such a range of businesses and folk up here, from an old fashioned hardware store, to a guy who creates super car engines, with high speeds and flames. There is never a dull day at the studio, its great to have support from such varied businesses.

My husband is an engineer by trade and between us we make a great team, I come up with the designs and the mad ideas, and Graeme puts them into action, often perfecting designs so they are user friendly! I was working with a hotel who wanted cake stands, after presenting the stands they unfortunately needed them to be of more industrial strength to pass the regilations. I worked with my husband to create a prototype, which got us the order!

Travelling certainly has helped me to upcycle and recycle. I recently travelled to South Africa, it’s an amazing country that really embraces recycling and using materials that are readily available. South Africa is a place where upcycling is a subconscious action across the nation, it’s about making use of what they already have. Travelling to Brazil was also a great experience for me, I really admire the use of colour, there really is no holding back from using every colour imaginable!

Flattened Wine Bottle Cake Stand    Images taken of Donna Feeny’s studio Images taken of Donna Feeny’s studio – Note her Annie Upcycled Shopping Trolley Chair from Max McMurdo of Reestore which she won at the Festival of Thrift, Darlington

What would you say your most influential piece is?

My drunken drizzle bottles are really something unexpected, and I’ve not seen it done anywhere else! The process of recycling the bottles is a really interesting one, they are often collected from local pubs, bars and clubs, would otherwise be thrown away, or recycled in an energy intensive process. I often arrive to work to find generous donations on the door step! Looking at my store cupboard anyone would think I had a great party!

An Upcycling Glass Studio

Totes Adore Studios

Image taken of her glass bottle stash at Donna Feeny’s workshop

After the bottles are washed, cleaned and dried they then are placed in the kiln, this is the exciting part! Opening the door and discovering what is inside is a real treat, its totally unpredictable! My Drunken Drizzle bottles are a spark for a conversation, it can really get you talking about upcycling, reusing and recycling! These are great from dinner parties, and gifts perfect gifts too!

Drunken Drizzle Bottle: Kiln Formed Glass Bottle

Oil Bottle with Pourer   Recycled Kitchen Accessories   Dinnerware   Recycled Dining Accessories   Alternative Dining AccessoriesPhoto source for all 5 photos of kiln formed glass bottles: http://www.remadeinbritain.com/totes-adore/

Why have you chosen to sell with Remade in Britain? Where did you hear of us?

Remade has the recycling ethos, it’s ethical by campaigning to reduce perfectly good materials hitting our landfill and supports small businesses, makers and designers. It really does have a community feel about it, so it’s a great way of meeting like-minded businesses too!

Remade in Britain was recommended to me by our good pals Den of Uniquity who are also based up in the North East!

What do you find your biggest challenge in running your own business?

Not enough hours in the day! Finding the creative and admin balance can be really tough at times, but I do have wonderful help in Hannah, who really isn’t scared to get stuck in, and certainly gives really helpful advice! Hannah is also an avid upcycler and is a wizz at repurposing scrabble tiles, she made a wonderful Totes Adore sign, which sits pride of place in the Bunker!

Running my own business means that I am wearing all the hats, from marketing to managing sales, collecting bottles to trips to the post office. But I absolutely love working for myself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Upcycled Scrabble Tiles

Images taken of Donna’s studio

What do you consider to be your biggest working achievement to date?

Running my own business! Riding the wave and not falling off, I set up Totes Adore two years ago and it has gone from strength to strength. To be able to make your own money and make it from something that I love is something that I am very proud of.

Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

I am attending the Festival of Thrift again, this will be my third year at the event. Thrift is based in Darlington which is my home town, it’s amazing to think that this is a great event for upcyclers and salvagers alike and it’s right on my door step.

Kiln Glass Workshops & Studio Hire

I am also setting up a few workshops in the Totes Adore studio, these are great for hen parties and a good way of spending quality time with friends and learning new skills too!

We want to say a great big thank you to Donna for having us round at ‘The Bunker’, we know that Totes Adore has an exciting adventure to come, and we look forward to catching up at the Festival of Thrift! If you’ve enjoyed Totes’ guest blog, why not check out the store filled with all manor of upcycled goodies!

Melted Champagne Bottle Cheese Board

Kiln Fired Bottles      Cheese Board

If you are an avid upcycler or campaign for for sustainability we would love to hear from you, send the Remade in Britain team an email at info@remadeinbritain.com to register your interest for guest blogging on our site!

 

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