Sustainable Studio

More and more we hear of sustainability and being eco friendly or slow fashion. But what does this really mean? Reduce reuse recycle? Ending consumerism? Planting a tree? Yes possibly all of the above! Sustainability simply means , can we carrying on the way we are going, is what we are doing sustainable? If not, what can we do to change it?

So how are we sustainable in the crafty studio? Firstly let me give you a little bit of background about myself and why this topic means so much to me. I grew up in a household of make do and mend. Not just out of necessity but out of the accomplishment of fixing or making something yourself. This has always stuck with me. The four years I spent in NCAD added to this, designing and creating my own artwork on very little budget. Recycling clay was a big thing!

Broadmeadow Community Garden Open Day

Then when I started teaching it was all about educating the future eco warriors! I became a green schools officer and did this for eight years. We were awarded four green flags in that time and some of my students went on to creating the first green colleges. I also have a passion for sustainable agriculture and community.

Fintan and I planting herbacious perenials outside the community garden.

In 2010 I set up the first community garden on open public land. Broadmeadow community garden is still a thriving community enterprise bringing people together young and old and learning how to sustain themselves both through food and community.

Sew Over It Pussy bow Blouse made with Floral Sketch on Ochre – ex designer deadstock fabric.

How is all this translated to a fabric shop? Surely buying more fabric, producing more is not the way forward. Well yes and no! I aim to provide fashionable dressfabrics that are sustainable by buying as much deadstock fabric as possible . Deadstocks are rolls of fabric that are left after a garment production run, fabric that was dyed the wrong colour, or surplus fabric that is unsold by the textile mills and left in storage. I also stock a large amount of Okeo Tex 100, Tencel and Organic fabrics. Oeko-Tex textiles and fabrics are certified free of harmful chemicals and are safe for human use. Tencel is a fabric regenerated from wood cellulose. It is similar in hand to rayon and bamboo, both of which are regenerated fabrics. However, Tencel is one of the most environmentally friendly regenerated fabrics, for several reasons. Tencel fibers are grown sustainably and manufactured with very little chemicals..

After Puci – ex designer deadstock fabric

Organic certification means that textile and fabric products are grown according to strict guidelines on the use of petroleum based fertilisers, pesticides and synthetic products.

Selection of rPET thread.

When choosing haberdashery and thread I wanted to stock either biodegrable or recycled options. As a result I discovered Guttermanns rPet threads. These have all the benefits of sew all polyester but are made from 100% recyled PET bottles. For every 1000m of thread 1 plastic drinks bottle is recycled. I also chose to stock 100% cotton thread for those who prefer a completely biodegradable option.

Even with all this careful planning to the sourcing of my stock I was not prepared for the amount of packaging and waste that would come with their delivery! Some careful thinking was needed here! Below are some of the ideas I came up with tho help keep the single use plastic and waste to a minimum.

Plastic packaging all sorted ready to be give a second life!
  • Request fabric loose rather than on a roll, then roll onto recycled card when it arrives at the studio.
  • Save plastic packaging to be reused on larger orders.
  • Wrap fabric in pattern paper rather than tissue. Bonus for customer and cuts out single use packaging.
  • Offer rotary blade and thread spool recycling recycling. Im still working on the thread spool recycling but you can send your rotary blades to me and I will recycle them.
  • Use of card boxes or biodegradable postal packaging.

  • Switch to paper tape and sticker. (once current supply runs out)
  • switch to sustainably sourced energy for heating the studio.
  • Paperless receipts.
  • Compost all unwanted card (bonus to my veg plot!)
  • Making scrap bags to sell.
  • Paperless gift cards

Thats all Ive done in the studio so far and it may seem like a lot but its a way of living for me and always has been. I hope to continue on with my sustainable ethos, adding to it as my business grows.

Pop Up Shop – Red Stables

On Friday we decided to do our 1st pop up shop. It was held in the cottage market, Red Stables, St Annes Park Clontarf. What a beautiful venue for a for a market. The Red Stables as its is now called was the stables for Lord Ardilaun in St Annes Estate. The Cottage Market, is held inside the actual stable room where some of the original horse stalls are intact.

The Cottage Market, is held inside the actual stable room where some of the original horse stalls are intact.

St Annes Park is very dear to my heart. I grew up in the area, playing in the fields and around the follies as a child. As a Mammy I bring my children here to the park and playgound and to Olives for an Iceream treat!

The Red Stables has become the focal point for many locals. Grabbing a coffee or treat after their morning stroll, visiting an art exhibition,(which I’ve had several here) or popping into one of its markets.

Although this Friday was a bit of a miserable day weather-wise there was a constant trickle of people visiting the market. I was armed with hand sewing, magazines and a sketchbook, ready for a quiet day! Not so my legs ached by the end of the day.

Although this Friday was a bit of a miserable day weather-wise there was a constant trickle of people visiting the market. I was armed with hand sewing, magazines and a sketchbook, ready for a quiet day! Not so my legs ached by the end of the day. But it was worth it to meet so many wonderful visitors and crafters and some canine companions too!

“Great selection and expert advice. Picked up a few bits myself today.🙂👍” – Claire Mc Loughlin

Fabric Sold Per 1/2 metre
Fat quarters and Bundles

It was a very successful day overall and we will be back on Saturday 7th September for our next pop up shop. As before, if you have any request for particular fabric or haberdashery, just pop me an email (annmarie@craftystudio.ie) or dm via instagram or facebook and ill make sure to bring it along! See you at the next one.

New Years Resolution

Pheonix Park Walled Garden
Finished pieced quilt top, ready for quilting.

New yrs resolution done! A piece in an exhibition. Sorry a bit late blogging about it!!The exhibition was run by the Eastern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society. Held in Phoenix park visitor centre next to the walled garden. As soon as I heard the theme and location images of the beautiful walled garden came to mind. My husband and I often visit this garden during at all times of the year. Creating artwork and Gardening are my two passions. I love planting seeds, watching them grow and then getting to eat your produce! Yum!  I imagined the different vegetables that I would grow in each season. One for every season in raised beds surrounded by terracotta roped borders. 

Me and my entry.

I had never done foundation paper piecing before and when looked for a pattern I couldn’t find anything I liked. So I had to design my own, I don’t like the east life do I ? The fabric was a selection of stash fabric, fat quarters bought from green acre quilt shop and scraps left at the IPS Eastern Branch meeting. The 1st few designs did not go to plan. Spring onions looked more like cabbages and tomatoes like strawberries! But after a few attempts I got the hang of it!

Campervan Quilt

This is a quilt I started for my Dad when he was sick to keep him warm during his chemo sessions. I got the fabric in Annie’s Haberdashery in Wexford town, which is sadly closing its doors tomorrow, but will be opening its online shop soon. Its called the camper van quilt as some of the fabric has volts wagon camper vans on it. This is the feature fabric that inspired the quilt! The rest of the fabric I picked up in Hickeys Home Focus. Its done using the quilt as you go method, which wasn’t as difficult as I thought.

Unfortunately things did not go as we thought and he died before I got to give it to him. I did get to give him the matching cushion though which he loved and showed off to the nurses! I gave the quilt to my Mam and it sits proudly on display on her sofa. Patchwork has been a very healing pastime for me and has helped me though a tough year so far. He would have loved it and showed it off to every camper he met. Love you Dad and miss you loads.