We all have special items in our home that we look at fondly because of their provenance – the story of how they came to us, or possibly because of our influence over their creation. Having a hand in creating the items in your home can be cathartic, enlivening and fun. What’s more, you appreciate the finished product because of the effort that has gone in to making it.
This piece has been inspired by one of the eco-entrants from this year’s Designs of the Year, a sustainable building material called ‘Grow It Yourself’ – a mushroom-based modelling kit designed by the team at science company Ecovative. The product contains mycelium – the root-like structure of a mushroom – which acts like a natural glue. This is bound together with crop waste like seed husks and corn stalks to form a plant-friendly bio-plastic. Water is added to rehydrate the product which can be immediately used in moulds or stored away. At the end of the product’s life cycle it can be composted and harmlessly returned to the soil as a nutrient.
Inspired by this eco-entrant, G4AS have compiled a list to help you create stylish pieces entitled home creations.
Carve and Whittle
The name Barn the Spoon is synonymous with London’s woodwork scene. Carving your own spoon can be a therapeutic, peaceful, almost meditative experience and will help centre your appreciation on the smaller things in life; small things like a spoon. Once you have completed a day with Barn you will leave with your very own functioning spoon and even better, the ability to make one yourself at home. Founder and woodworker Barnaby Carder runs day classes that can be booked through the Green Wood Guild. A day’s class is £160.
Arrange and Place
Plants are natural healers and their presence in our home aids concentration, reduces stress levels and can even, unsurprisingly, have a beneficial impact upon our health. It therefore comes as no surprise that people are increasingly seeking ways in which to incorporate plants into their decor. An easy way to promote a calm environment once you close your front door is through the introduction of plants in terrariums. These delicate compositions can be made utterly bespoke as they are designed by you, and what’s more – if you use cacti they are very hard to kill – for those who struggle to find the time to water houseplants. Ro Co hold 2 hour classes at FARM:Shop, Dalston where you design, plant and leave with your very own terrarium. 2 hour workshop, £49.
Love and Nurture
What better way to complete a dish than tearing off some home-grown herbs from your windowsill and sprinkling them on top? A final flourish that adds volumes more flavour and appreciation for what you’re about to put on the table. There is no excuse not to find room for a small pot of herbs somewhere, be it a windowsill or even a rooftop, as Infarm showed in their tomato plant installation at Bagel Brothers, Leipzig, which saw them hang tomato chilli plants from the ceiling. For a starter pack that includes five herbs, recipes and compost discs, try the Herbalicious Herb Growing Starter Kit, £13.94.
Smooth and Shape
Another way to introduce home-made pieces into your life is to fire your own pottery. Fashion mugs, teapots or even a bowl in which to keep your herbs and have an incredibly useful but personal object, painted just as you wish. The finished product, possibly skewed and a little lumpy, will be made all the more beautiful and endearing because of these imperfections. Ceramicist Akiko Hirai follows the Japanese tradition when creating her ceramics by allowing the way the clay dries to dictate how it’s fired. Her courses are run throughout August and focus upon teapots, texture and carving. A day’s course is £300.
Cut and Stitch
Completely rejuvenate old pieces of furniture and reinvent your space with a session of upholstery. You can jazz up the dullest of chairs with brighter, bolder, or simply more elegant fabrics and in doing so, you also change your room. The Goodlife Centre near Waterloo run courses that last from a day, where they teach you to re-upholster a foam seat, to a week where you bring your own chair. A day’s course is £175.
Words by Jess Bancroft.