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Welcome to the world of running a sustainable textiles studio!


Siobhan Martin brings sustainability and creativity together in her fine homewares, weaving kits and other products. We learned all about how she discovered how to rescue textiles and other materials from landfill when she founded Shiv Textiles. Read on to discover the process behind this eco-friendly brand on a mission to put a halt to our throwaway culture.



HOW DID YOU START YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS CREATING YOUR LABEL?


Shiv Textiles was born in my bedroom in 2017 after I finished university and moved back in with my parents. As an intern for big-name brands in the textiles and fashion industry, I was shocked by the amount of perfectly good materials going to waste. And I knew there had to be a better way. Fast fashion needs to take its foot off the pedal.


So I began contacting mills and factories, buying their yarns, zips, threads, buttons – all destined for landfill – by the kilogram. And it’s from this that all those cushions, scarves and weaving kits are created. This process never gets beige-and-boring. You have to think on your feet. Design with what you have. Every box of upcycled materials that lands in my studio feels like a small victory.



HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR CRAFT?


I've loved art and design since I was a child, and I was very lucky that my parents understood this. I took all art and design subjects at A-Level, even though my secondary school wasn’t very happy about it. After school, I did an Art Foundation Course at UCA. This was the best option for me as I didn't really know if I wanted to do photography, fine art or textiles. If you have the opportunity to do this year course before going to university, DO IT! I fell in love with textiles on this course, but it wasn't until I went to the University of Brighton that I fell in love with weaving! I spent 4 years, with a year placement in my 3rd year, specialising in woven textiles.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BRAND?


I’ve always wanted to have my own business and work for myself since I was really young. I interned for a range of different-sized businesses whilst in university, well-known brands and independent businesses. I saw what was possible if you work hard and follow what you love from the smaller and independent businesses and thought it was definitely for me!


DESCRIBE SHIV TEXTILE’S MISSION.


We are on a mission to throw away our throwaway culture.


My studio is about weaving sustainability into the textiles industry. By putting a modern spin on a traditional craft, I want to show that it’s possible for us to enjoy pieces you cherish while minimising the impact we have on the planet too.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLLECTION?


My most recent collection and favourite of woven textiles are “Time Warp”. It was dreamed up in the grey days of lockdown. This cheerful graphic collection was like a break in the clouds. It was a time of departure for me, and that really comes across in Time Warp, as she steps away from pared-back, rustic designs in favour of a fun, fresh twist on 70s style. Guaranteed to make you smile.




WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MATERIALS TO WORK WITH?


Deadstock yarn is my best friend. I love sourcing materials from British mills and factories. I love the process of finding, talking to and upcycling British mill waste. I work with a lot of lambswool as it's natural, durable and biodegradable.


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WORK YOU'VE MADE?


I created the weaving kit I sell today after being made redundant from my fashion job as we went into the first Lockdown, so it's close to my heart. I wanted to introduce people to the art of weaving, to why I love it so much and how they could enjoy the craft too. I wanted to highlight the processes behind fabric production, getting people to be creative with a weaving project and helping them to value their clothing and textiles and the work that goes into making them. This kit has been designed to inspire and help get your creative juices flowing, whether you’re embarking on a new hobby or looking to hone your skills. Some aspects of woven textiles can appear tricky to get your head around. So I teamed up with one of my best friends who is an illustrator, who was in Lockdown on the other side of the world, living in Yangon, Myanmar at the time. I wanted to make weaving accessible and fun for everyone.



Another reason I wanted to share my love of weaving is the positive effect it can have on mental wellbeing. Crafting has been proven to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness and even dementia. Not everyone is able to visit workshops or join courses, so I wanted to create a weaving kit that is suitable for all ages and abilities to use from the comfort of the home.


WHAT’S IN THE WORKS FOR YOU?


I fell back in love with colour during lockdown down, so I’ll be working more with colour in 2022. I would love to develop more face-to-face weaving workshops and host more craft events and pop-ups going forward as Covid has stopped me from meeting the public and sharing my love of sustainable textiles in person.


WHAT IS SOME ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING MAKERS?


Rome wasn’t built in the day! Making and learning a skill takes time and effort, enjoy the processes and celebrate your successes!


Ready to start your weaving journey with colourful and uniquely sustainable materials? Pick up a weaving kit from Shiv Textiles today.



Five simple steps you can take to live a more sustainable life in 2019.


Shop fair trade and local.

The phrase fair-trade had been established in the public domain long before the recent headline trend of living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The Fair trade arrangement was put in place so that producers in developing countries would be given a fair wage and social and environmental standards would improve. However, so many people and environments are still exploited for the products they produce and sell. One massive way to make sure that you are buying fair trade and sustainable is to shop locally. Meet the artists, the designers, the bakers, the growers who you are buying from and if you can't meet them make sure the owner has. Take time to understand the process and commitment that every product takes to create. Not only will you be supporting independent businesses or dreams as we like to call them, but we also believe you will be more selective and appreciative of the products you have around you.





Recycle & Up cycle

Recycle, up cycle, recycle. You know the drill and I know the drill. I am sure with most of you this will be preaching to the converted. I know personally, this is something that sits at the forefront of my mind when trying to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle. The long or short of it is anything that we don't actively try to reuse gets chucked into overflowing landfill or ends up in our beautiful oceans. So always just bear in mind what a difference every small piece of recycling makes for our planet. Now as they would say in yoga, here is the intimidate option. Try and eliminate one-use packaging altogether. Hit the fruit and veg market, this means no plastic wrapping and you can pop it straight in your bag for life. Head to specific supermarkets where you can refill your own containers. Stop putting bananas and oranges or in fact any fruit in those plastic bags, they quite literally come with their own little jackets. You catch my drift, in this category, less is always more!



Eat Seasonally

Despite myself having a lifelong commitment to avocados and mangos. I am becoming increasingly aware that consistently eating these tropical delights, particularly year-round is not a sustainable way to live my life. I recently purchased a UK seasonal calendar and despite being worried that my diet would become more limited I have actually found that my range of meals and flavours has hugely increased. As a vegetarian, I am continuously looking for more interesting meals; having the challenge of cooking a meal with particular fruit or veg has made me discover a whole host of new recipes. I tend to find that the earth knows better than us what we need nutritionally, so when you start eating seasonally, your body begins to gage a real understanding of feeling nutritionally balanced.





Water Bottles

Buying bottled water must be up there with one of the most financially and sustainably draining products for the world and your wallet. Water is important, yes but plastic is not. Nowadays there is a host of beautiful and practical bottles that you can carry around with you. Fashion conscience? Why not purchase a beautiful colourful creation? Dislike all plastic? Go for a glass or metal bottle. Many of the metal ones can also often double up as a handy thermos. Like the gym? Every brand, label and gym produce their own easy use bottles for your everyday needs. The other question used to be, what happens when it's empty and I'm thirsty? That's when the Refill app comes into play, this fab little app shows you the location of business who have agreed to fill your reusable bottle for free. They are simply doing their bit for the world and being really great humans like you will be too with your new bottle!



For the bees

Turns out our little black and yellow friends are extremely important for the planet and as key pollinators; the decline of bees also threatens our food and economy. There are many ways you can protect our important pollinators. Firstly, is not harming them. There are many people who suffer from fear of bees. However, they have no intention to hurt you. People fear what they don't understand, so the more you learn the quicker the fear disappears. Secondly, if you do happen to find an injured or tired bee, there are steps you can take to revive it. The RSPB advice is to mix two tablespoons of white granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and place it next to the bee on a plate or spoon. Now, this may seem like a lot of effort, but I personally feel it is a small sign of gratitude that we can show them for the benefits that we receive daily from having them around. Finally, plant seeds. It doesn't matter if you have meadows or a garden or a modest window box, plant wildflower seeds and enjoy the beauty and the kindness that grows in front of you.




Updated: Feb 13, 2019




Like an artistic jack in the box, Rodhus Studios will be throwing open its doors on the 1st of December to showcase the artists, makers and designers who call it their creative home. With over thirty different independent studios it’s the perfect opportunity to buy a gift for a loved one whilst supporting a local business. Plus it's getting chilly and there will be mulled wine and fantastic vegan food to warm your festive heart.



Rodhus Studios is Shiv’s textiles home and the studio space holds a special significance and importance for Shiv, to find out more about this studio and its background you can follow the link below and to the website. http://www.rodhus.co.uk/the-concept/


Rodhus' walls have bared witness to the creation of all of Shiv's unique designs and has become somewhat of a second home. Shiv remains one of the youngest members of the Rodhus community and has found it a huge source of inspiration to be surrounded by a number of expanding business and freelance creatives who have moved their passions into careers. Below Shiv explores why this space has been so fundamental in day to day life of her company.


Working from home wasn't working for me, I wanted more of a work-life balance. 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 Richard at Rodhus with email after email, until finally in April 2018 I was able to move into a shared space at Rodhus with Megan a fashion designer and owner of BabyDol Clothing. Everything I was looking for I found. My business had finally found its creative home. This space is perfect for networking, there is a real sense of community which fosters creativity and innovation. You get to explore and experience a wide range of talents as everyone's passions are so varied. Due to this, there are so many fantastic opportunities for collaborations, for example Luke from Laser Swift used his skills and laser cutter in order to produce my weaving frames for my workshops, Tom from Steady On Design made me a peg board to display my purses on for fairs and shows. I will also be using Lily Rigby’s paintings and Spark and Bell lighting in freelance interior design projects that I will be running in 2019. Also, that possibility to share equipment is an invaluable resource. It is a very affordable home for my business.”





Why not stop by for a look around and be inspired by some very creative and talented people!


Never miss a thing...


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@shiv_textiles & @carmenhd


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@shivtextilesdesign


www.shivtextiles.co.uk 



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