By Siobhan Martin of SHIV TEXTILES
What I create and how?
I specialise in sustainably-minded contemporary tweed home wares and accessories. These include woven cushions, blankets/ throws and scarves. As part of my zero-waste solution, any fabrics, which are left over I make into pouch & purses or coasters & place mats. All designed, woven, sewn and finished in my studio in Brighton, to reduce my carbon footprint. My Materials are all upcycled from mills and factories around the country!
Due to using redundant yarns from the professional industry, my design process is a little different, as I create with what I have or what I can get hold off. I find that it makes my design process more exciting for me as you never know what the out come of a design will be like on till I have had made it or at least sampled it. Sourcing yarns and materials from Mill and factories cross Britain, allows me to make highly exceptional quality products which are made to last as well as look beautiful. “Waste to one is a resource to another”
My designs are strongly influenced by colours, textures and patterns found in traditional and contemporary culture. I enjoy finding the beauty in decay, looking at weathered surfaces in urban and natural environments. I start every collection explore my surrounding to be inspire and love focusing my inspiration by creating mood boards and sketch books that keeps the design process flowing.
I weave my designs using an 8 to 16 shaft table loom, 4 shaft Leclerc Colonial floor loom and Dornier rapier loom, all in Brighton!
As a textiles studio I also offer hand woven fabric collection and design consultancy for fashion and interior industry, with a strong aim to decrease the negative impact of the textiles industry.
Why I weave Sustainable Products?
The fashion and textiles industry is the second largest polluter in the world. Now in 2019 we must all be environmentally responsible in this ‘throwaway’ culture, which has, been created by high street chains and consumerism.
Creating products and designs that reduce waste and look beautiful is super important to me. I love thinking of ways to create innovative and unique designs that minimise textiles waste. It is inspiring having the opportunity to create something from recycled material of post-consumer waste.
Experimenting with different materials which are up cycled from redundant yarns / dead stock from the professional industry allows me to adopt an urban local supply chain as well as creating unique collection of products which are limited and exclusive.
I don’t want to just to sell to the consumer but to educate and promoting traditional sustainable craftwork in textiles.
High and low points of running my own business?
I have always dreamed of running my own business, I love being my own boss and deciding my own path. It has made me challenge myself to learn new skills and take on the risk – and reap the rewards.
The hardest thing I have found working for myself is finding a healthy work/life balance. It is something that is slowly falling in to place, now I have a studio. Working from home wasn’t working for me, when I was working from home, I felt very isolated, I could go days on end where the only person I would see would be my boyfriend. My first studio was located in a large warehouse in Hove, with only a couple of other people. It was used mainly for storage for businesses; it was extremely cold and a little too far out of town for convenience. The worst part about it was that it lacked any sense of community; there wasn’t a creative vibe. From there I moved to an office space in Hove, a little closer to the city centre. However, this too didn’t feel like home, the space had too much of a corporate feel, the walls were extremely white and the carpet was slightly too perfect. I kept bombarding Rodhus Creative Studio with email after email, until finally in April 2018 I was able to move into a studio space at Rodhus. Rodhus’ walls have bared witness to the creation of all of my unique designs and has become somewhat of a second home.
One of my favourite parts of my craft business is attending craft fairs and markets. It fantastic opportunities for collaborations networking with other designer / makers, there is always a sense of community. I love meeting customers that understand my handcrafted sustainable products however it is always disheartening when a member of the public questions your price or asks you how long does it take you to make this… This doesn’t happen a lot… As a designer maker I take things like this to heart.
Its always a high when you get published, I’ve been very lucky be featured in Mollie’s Makes, Flow Magazine, Argus Newspaper and featured in a number on blogs.
I can’t wait to keep developing my business and see where it takes me in the future, it all about learning as I go. There are definitely more highs than lows and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s all about motivating and keeping yourself driven to make your dreams become reality!
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