SolidWool are a brilliant young company making beautiful items from Herdwick wool. Hannah and Justin Floyd do an amazing job of designing, manufacturing and marketing their products made in England from British Wool. Recently we have been working with SolidWool to help find a second life for wool carpets… Full story below.
SolidWool table and chair made from recycled wool carpet.
400,000,000kg of carpet fibre is disposed of each year in the UK! Carpet recycling UK have done a great job of diverting almost 1/3 of this into recycled products like Crumbwool carpet underfelt. But we still have a long way to go and we are not even touching post consumer wool carpets.
Recycling is good, but up-cycling is better. By creating added value, sought after products from rescued wool fibre we hope to inspire more investment in up-cycling.
We asked SolidWool to help us on our recycling challenge and they made us these amazing chairs and a coffe table from post-industrial rescued carpet fibre, seen here on the Wools of New Zealand stand at Domotex.
Thanks to Carpet Recycling UK, Anglo Recycling and SolidWool for helping us ensure wool fibre has a second life.
Pencil from the Royal Society of Arts “This pencil is made from UK recycled CD cases”
The pencil is a brilliant piece of marketing. It allows the Royal Society of Arts (from whom I stole it) to gently remind its visitors about the need to be responsible in designing products.
There is no hard sell, no advertising, no interruptions, just for those observant enough, a though provoking piece of plastic that talks to the integrity of the organisation and asks the questions; Do you know where your materials are coming from? Do you know where they go?
If your product cannot be turned into something new, you have a design flaw. What can we do with wool and textiles?
Being hand woven right now is the ‘Aulana Midas Rug’ created with Aulana technology. All the colours are created using Noble Bond’s remarkable invention that captures the science of pure gold to create colours in pure New Zealand wool.
The Midas rug is meticulously hand woven by crafts people at Obeetee
The Midas rug is coloured with pure gold but don’t expect it to shine yellow gold.
Aulana uses colloidal dispersions of gold within the pores of the wool fibres to generate a boutique range of colours resulting from the localised surface plasmon resonance interaction of light with the surface electrons of the colloidal gold particles. A similar approach was used in early glass making for Gothic Cathedrals, where gold was dispersed as a colloid in the glass matrix to generate red-purple colours. The Aulana technology captures and extends this approach to currently provide a range of colours in shades of pink, mauve, grey and blue.
Wools of New Zealand and Noble Bond Ltd, and our global partners, SoFarSoNear, Grentex, and Obeetee have joined hands to create the Midas rug which will be available to view, by appointment only, at SoFarSoNear’s London showroom in Grosvenor Place.
The design is by SoFarSoNear and in its final form will represent three circular pieces with the third being a tear drop as below. This ‘ear ring’ design has been created to illustrate the precious nature of this one-of-a kind remarkable piece.
Crumbwool is a carpet underlay which is the result of a partnership between Wools of New Zealand and Anglo Recycling. It’s made from 100% recycled content, Wool carpet off-cuts and discarded car tyres. The proceeds go towards the Woodland Trust.
Its a nice story that underpins the integrity of the world’s most sustainable wool (Laneve)
Actually that’s a bit modest, Creating Crumbwool meant developing a dedicated machine and some quite remarkable logistics and industry arm twisting. Anglo Recycling worked a minor miracle to make this possible.
We built the Crumbwool story for the right reasons. We did not do this for fame, we did it for integrity and to build value.
Now Crumbwool has been listed by Future Materials magazine in its top 100 innovations!
Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday, and weirdly there is no Goggle Doodle celebrating the great man?
With no Einstein we would not understand the curvature of space and time, we would not know how to bend light and we could not colour wool to be purple using surface Plasmon Resonance, What a dull place the world would be.
Its 135 years since Albert Einstein was born, at that time the light bulb, which has become a symbol for new ideas, was about to be demonstrated. Science was about to take us from the industrial revolution into an incredible period of human enlightenment.
Science can now do anything with wool. Providing we use a spherical sheep inside a vacuum. (Science joke there)
We are however at the start of the next great period in human history when we take the enormous accomplishments made by science and use that knowledge to create a world that is a better place for all of its inhabitants.
The next revolution is about finding ways to deliver luxury without burning through the world’s resources. We are exploring how we can use science to turn the clock back to 1879 before the world became dependent on oil and to re-invent technologies using rapidly renewable materials, like wool.
Up-cycling is the new recycling. Rather than focusing on ways to hide waste from manufacturing why not reduce waste altogether. But when that is not possible up-cycle the left-over’s from manufacturing into value-added new materials and products.
Daniel McLaughlin, a New Zealander studying at the Royal College of Arts in the UK came to visit us to show us his development with wool. We could see the potential for hundreds of applications for Daniel’s work and offered to assist with sourcing re-claimed fibre from the textile industry.
From our work on Crumbwool we knew that Anglo Recycling were already rescuing wool fibres and creating needle punched materials. Daniel took this material and created Biowool, which he has crafted into a suitcase as an early prototype.
The BioWool Suitcase
By combining wool with bio-resins Daniel has created a substrate that is incredibly strong, completely renewable and at the end of its life biodegradable.
The best part for me is that this is the beginning of a whole new era for innovation with wool. By moving into new product categories where there are no preconceived ideas about how wool is used and what it’s value might be, we can start imagining the customer experience and design far more exciting products.
The textile industry is full of people that think they know all about how to process wool. Daniel does not know all these rules so his vision is not constrained by the status-quo.
Daniel’s Biowool suitcase has even been noticed as an amazing new material by gadget magazine Stuff. Follow this link
People want transparency; they want to know what it is made of and who made it. But why?
People want to trust, to feel safe, and to know they got something of value.
Mostly people hate to be ripped off. If you cannot see the value chain, you can’t see the value. How do you trust something that is kept secret from you?
But there is a line. Take Crumbwool underlay. People want to know it is made in the UK from sustainable materials and they help the planet by choosing a sustainable product. But do people really want to see factories? Is it better to keep a little bit of mystique and magic?
We have to remember that a process is just a process; it is not the final product. Products sell when they deliver real benefits to the people that use them. But what if we turn a process into a story?
The wool in Crumbwool gives it sound insulation, heat insulation and it makes it super bouncy. A home with spongy floors that are fire safe and absorb nasty chemicals is part of delivering a customer experience. When your product is invisible as its end up literally under the carpet the message has to be even stronger.
Rather than pictures of a factory, no matter how clean and modern your factory is why not focus on the magic.
I decided to draw a picture of the Crumbwool Creation Process.