May 7, 2010

Meet The Maker - Velvet Bean

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been working with burlap for almost a year now creating pieces for family and friends. It is through their love and support that Velvet Bean was born in August 2009. Their continued encouragement has given me the creative freedom to develop additional repurposed products to Velvet Bean’s ever expanding product line. From shipping coffee sacks across the country right through to packing customer orders, their help has played an integral part in Velvet Bean’s growth. Quite simply, I could not have done it without them.

What can't you live without?
I definitely couldn’t live without my morning coffee or my handsome cat Sash. He’s always close by, sitting on top of a pile of burlap sacks and keeping a close eye on things which make him perfectly suited to his role as product tester. That’s about as close to animal testing as Velvet Bean gets!

Describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Velvet Bean cushions are made with love from burlap sacks which were once used to transport green coffee beans all over the world. Each burlap sack is handpicked by me for its own unique personality. The sack’s next purpose in its life cycle is based upon its individuality and is focused on highlighting the sacks best features. The sacks are immersed into a warm bubble bath and left to soak the stresses of their previous life away. They are then air dried, cut and sewn into stunning feature pieces just waiting to take pride of place in your home.

Describe how your product is ethical, natural, organic or fairtrade?
According to one website, approximately 800,000 tons of burlap is sent to landfill annually and that figure is just in the US. Whilst burlap is made from 100% natural fibres and biodegradable, we’d rather see the sacks repurposed and kept out of landfill. At Velvet Bean we’re reducing landfill, one coffee sack at a time.

What first made you want to become an artist/producer?
To take a dirty burlap sack which most people would never consider bringing into their homes, breathing new life into it and transforming it into a unique accessory that features in their homes really has been both challenging and rewarding. It truly is satisfying knowing that something you have created is sitting proudly in someone’s home.

Any new products or flavours in the works?
There are quite a few repurposed products that I’m working on. I often finding myself gazing at objects and wondering what they would look like draped in burlap. You’ll have to keep an eye on the website for their grand debut.

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