Makers with a Mission Autumn 2018

By Esther Ellard

Makers with a Mission

Supporting makers has always been at the heart of what we do. Our Makers with a Mission residency gives early stage creatives and start up’s an opportunity to explore their practice on their own terms. Whether they need time to explore and test material processes, iterate designs or develop a business model. This residency is an opportunity to get started as a professional maker without committing to high overheads. 

Our focus is on Makers who are value driven and are looking to challenge society’s ideas and behaviours through the things they make. They might be exploring disruptive manufacturing processes, design for climate change or innovating within healthcare. All projects have an ethical, sustainable or social agenda at their core.


Active Air Footwear

– What is your current mission?

We are developing a product that helps to reverse the damage of air pollution by directly filtering the air at ground level through the soles of your shoes. ActiveAir footwear allows people to be part of a collective culture by making micro-contributions to cleaning the air around them.

– Why is this mission important now?

London is regularly exceeding the legally binding pollution limits set by the EU. Whether commuting to work or school; jogging or walking; the noxious gases and particulates penetrate deep into our lungs, posing a significant health risk. ActiveAir asks what if everyone in the city could make a positive impact through an active micro-contribution towards removing pollutants directly from their surroundings.

– What inspires you?

Our team it’s structured by a diverse range of creatives, engineers and scientists that have different ways of working and an intricate mixture of references. Collectively we work to develop interfaces / products that make society aware of environmental needs and its social challenges.

– Why do you make?

We believe that the multi-disciplinary approach of fusing science, technology and design is the most effective way to overcome important environmental issues. A symbioses between speculative design, material innovation and technological knowledge allows us to create challenging products that will provoke a change in consumer choice whilst raising awareness at the same time.

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

Makerversity is the perfect creative hub for a project like this to be located on, allowing us to be part of a major network with an innovative business environment. Being part of Makerversity with it’s great facilities will allow us to dedicate the time that we need to develop the wearable prototype and run specific experiments to test product efficiency.

Website


Slowe Club

-What is your current mission?

My mission is to improve the quality and quantity of women’s sports coverage through creatively engaging content. At the moment, 4% of sports coverage is women’s, so there’s a long way to go to achieve any kind of parity with men’s. But I know that there’s an audience of fans and I want to make a home for them. My underlying mission is to increase participation levels of women and girls in sport, and for anyone who feels like they aren’t an athlete to feel included in sport.

-Why is this mission important now?

It’s important as part of the wider, long overdue conversations that are happening around women’s equality at the moment – there are many ways to help this cause, and I think sport is one of those ways. It’s an industry that’s extremely far behind in demonstrating equality and yet sport is such a unifying experience which is baffling to me.

– What inspires you?

I’m inspired by anyone who is making with a mission at whatever scale because they feel they urgently have to. I’m constantly inspired by talented, strong-minded women around me that teach me how to be better and how to support others better. I’m inspired by people who have been fighting for change for decades without giving up, and I’m inspired by people challenging norms with creative solutions. Mostly I’m inspired by the good in people.

– Why do you make?

Making is so human, it’s a way of us recording progress and signifying what we stand for and what’s important to us. If I didn’t make to challenge something, I’d become apathetic. I have to make stuff to feel OK in the world!

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

Over the residency, I want to be able to prove that SLOWE can be a financially viable business, and that the women’s sport audience is ready, hopefully through some collaboration with other makers. And I’m excited to meet other makers who have wildly different missions, because you often learn the most from those people.

Website


Kniterate

– What is your current mission?

Kniterate wants to democratise fashion manufacturing, making it diverse, inclusive and local. We bring an industrial technology into workshops, with an easy to use digital knitting machine that allows you to turn your designs into clothing.

– Why is this mission important now?

The fashion industry needs a shake-up, and due to its structure and inertia, it’s unlikely that change will come from within. As with other domains of digital fabrication, access to new tools and technologies offers an opportunity to make this happen from the bottom-up.

– What inspires you?

We come in all shapes and sizes but, despite technological progress, the clothing most of us can buy is still a collection of uniform styles being mass produced.

We want to provide widespread access to the means of garment production and bring radical change to how the industry works. Our goal is to empower independent designers and customers with technological tools to drive that change.

– What is your aim during this residency?

We want to share our project and vision with the people of the city of London. For the last year members of the team have been working hard in China, preparing to manufacture and ship our knitting machine. Before we begin to churn out machines, we want to introduce Kniterate to the wider public, listen to what the have to say about it, and give the machine some use in real life conditions.

By being within a community of makers and at the heart of London, we aim to gather energy and momentum and build on our goal of making Kniterate an indispensable piece of the digital fabrication toolkit.

Website


Heleen Sintobin

-What is your current mission?

As a maker and designer I work on the boundaries of crafts and design. I started wondering about the future of crafts and wondered if traditional practices should evolve and adapt in order to survive. I started looking into postdigital artisanship, a movement of makers which is rooted in crafts and uses new digital technologies from a craft perspective. In other words, the constant and natural process of retooling creates a toolset and skillset in which digital and analogue tools and mindset are blended. My mission is to explore this way of making and to implement it in my own practice My research will be in the area of leathercraft, which has a very traditional and rich history of making. I want to experiment with the CNC machine on thick sole leather.

-Why is this mission important now?

Designers start to understand the impact of the digital revolution as it happened a while ago. Now the time feels right to start unpack and hack in order to fully understand and create ownership of digital tools. I believe that engaging digital tools in traditional making processes is a natural way of evolving for traditional craft practices. The material side on the other hand also humanizes the digital and technology aspects. I am very excited to work in this field where technology and craft blend and I am looking forward to combine insights from both sides.

– What inspires you?

I am inspired by machines and the process of trying to understand how they work. Often misunderstandings create happy accidents or weird hacks. I am also fascinated by tacit knowledge of craftsmen  and the intimate relationship they have with their tools.

– Why do you make?

I make in order to understand what I am doing. My hands drive my mind and the result triggers new ideas. This process fluctuates between concept, materials, technology, storytelling and experiments.

– What are you hoping to achieve through this residency?

During the residency I will do more extensive research on the CNC in relation to sole leather in order to fully understand the potentials which allow me then to ‘hack’ and see the machine and leathercraft in innovative contexts. I am especially looking forward to be in a multidisciplinary environment and meet a bunch on inspiring people to exchange knowledge, ideas and hopefully do some collaborations.

Website


Dennis Boateng

– What is your current mission?

If its in-Use it can be re-Used, I’m a sports and leisure enthusiast turned environmentalist. My mission is to convert discarded pallets and wood waste from local markets into made to order branded furniture.

– Why is this mission important now?

The nature of recycling is essential, as waste has a substantial adverse impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites across the country. The procedure of recycling reduces the need for raw materials to be utilised, aiding in preserving our rainforest. My focus is on developing a social enterprise which emphasises the circular economy. The objectives of the circular economy are for products, packaging, wood and various materials to have an afterlife, supporting environmental policies and lowering waste accumulated in the UK.

– What inspires you?

Not only will the project intend to convert pallets and wood waste into furniture. Our social objectives endeavours to channel a percentage of created furniture procured from local markets to tenant management organisation. (TMO) Only a small number of local authorities and housing associations provide mainstream furnished tenancies. Most schemes are small in scale, and many of them are experimental. The positive outcome of furnished housing will benefit a broad group of people in a range of different housing circumstances. Meeting these lofty objectives while developing a sustainable social enterprise excites and inspires me.

– Why do you make?

I hope to create a system that allows me to sell furniture built from wood waste and pallets and give wood which would previously have been discarded a reuse afterlife. Also, for the development of the project, I aim to create a niche platform that allows customers to go on the website and customise the design of their furniture.

– What are you hoping to achieve through this residency?

I would ideally like to be in a situation which enables me to scale this model across various other council boroughs which have local markets. The aim is to develop an operating model that allows me to create bespoke pieces of furniture tagged with where the wood initially derived from, such as ‘Made in Brixton’ or ‘Made in Lewisham’ branding.  Also, I believe customisation is the rising trend in the furniture industry, and over the next six months within my residency, I aim to focus on developing a platform that enables customers to customise they’re own made to order furniture on the website.

 


Candyce Dryburgh

– What is your current mission?

I am a design researcher and baker whose projects are often driven by materials. It is my mission to explore and develop a way to make longer lasting and locally produced bannetons. A banneton is a type of basket used to support the shaped dough during proofing and before baking and is a key in the process of making bread.

– Why is this mission important now?

There is a cry out for objects to be made from more reliable sources and materials. As a practising baker I make use of bannetons every day and currently there is a big conversation amongst the baking community around how the quality of the wood pulp banneton has dropped over the years. Focusing on current UK waste systems, my mission is to bring the banneton back, stronger and more local than last year.

– What inspires you?

I am inspired by materials, and how we can use them to explore issues and encourage solutions. I see design as a tool which can be used to question and explore our current ecological and social environments, enabling more people and different voices to get involved.

– Why do you make?

I make to explore and develop, its part of my investigation process. I also use making as a tool to get others engaged in issues that I believe are important. Through the use of workshops and interactions people have an opportunity to use making as tool to examine and investigate what they feel is important too.

– What you are hoping to achieve through this residency?

I am not setting out to solve the banneton crisis, but I would like to create the ideal banneton that comes form the bi-product of a local waste stream. At this point, I don’t know if this is a fools errand or a global solution, but I hope that through this process I can create some engagement in the materials we rely on and what we can achieve if we reach a bit further away from the norm.

Website

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Posted By Esther Ellard
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