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Taking Waste and Adding Value

When presented with 42 substrates of material, in varying sizes and colour, and asked to create, it’s difficult to consider where to begin. This was the scenario I was faced with 10 weeks ago, collaborating with a UK based company, Orangebox, who produce commercial furnishings for businesses across the globe.

Like many other textile companies, waste is a constantly looming shadow creating their products. Whilst reducing their wastage by manufacturing as orders are placed, tonnes of scrap fabric from pattern cutting is essentially turned to ash. Distributed in various channels where possible, it can be shredded for rug underlay, the majority is sadly sent to be incinerated to generate energy. The commercial grade fabrics used and discarded have gone through many processes, from being grown, harvested, washed, corded, weaved, dyed and shipped to the factory.

How can we simply discard it? We can no longer ignore the pressing issues of textile waste, and as a student preparing to begin in design and production, it makes me consider how I will take these issues on in my practice.

My proposed solution to this textile waste is a stylish, commercially viable stool. Utilising scrap material and wasted end roll textile, I propose a design inspired by the natural world. Featuring native florals from Welsh Landscapes such as Meadow Thistles, and combining print with applique, a marketable product comes to life. Adding value to this deemed ‘worthless’ scrap, this statement piece highlights the beauty of our world, and encourages discussion on what we deem as waste.

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