2018 Christmas Fairs

We’ll be taking some of our textiles and our Urban Camouflage leggings to a select choice of local Christmas fairs. If you’d like to come and say hello, discuss potential projects and try our gorgeous yoga leggings (www.urbancamouflage.design) here are the fairs we’ll be attending:

Friday 5 October, 9am - 4pm:

Cancer Research UK Christmas Fair at Damerham Hall, Hampshire, SP6 3HD

Wednesday and Thursday, 10 and 11 October:

The Dummer Christmas Fair, Wednesday 5.30-9pm, Thursday 9.30-3.30pm, Basingstoke, RG25 2AR

Saturday 10 November, 10.30am - 3.30pm:

Willberry Christmas Fair, The Standerwick Centre, Standerwick Market, Frome, BA11 2QB

Saturday 17 November, 10am - 2pm:

The Godolphin Christmas Fair, Milford Hill, Salisbury SP1 2RA

Sunday 9th December, 10:30 - 4:30pm

Dorset Vegan Christmas Festival, 21 Kingland Road Poole, Dorset BH15 1UG 

Look forward to seeing you there x




The window film

Having spent almost a year researching ways of installing my designs on window film, and finding friendly suppliers who will work with me to create windows that are as beautiful as possible, we are now in a position to offer the Meadow film on demand.

Only this week we’ve been working on a lovely bay window. What a change the design makes! Did you know that if we can see a long view it reduces our heart rate significantly, and if we can see trees and plants as part of that long view, our heart rate drops even more. What a joy to be able to offer, instead of a net curtain or a grey opaque film, a view of the outside, enhanced by natural images and shadows.

Do message us if if you’d like to know more.

Bay window displaying Meadow design window film
After

The trials of trying to use recycled fabrics: Who knew ethical was so hard!  

So, when I started designing Urban Camouflage leggings, my hope was that I could produce a line of sportswear that was beautiful, luxurious, healing and carbon neutral.

  • The beautiful bit is what I was made for - I’ve been painting botanical paintings my whole life, professionally for over a decade, and have studied a Masters Degree in Textile Design.

  • The luxurious, slow fashion, bit was possible through a long search for a quality manufacturer who created a great pair of leggings that you wouldn’t have to replace, using employees who were recognised, trained and rewarded.

  • The healing bit I really believe in, having spent years researching the benefits that nature and even pictures of nature can bring to our mental and physical wellbeing.

  • However, the carbon neutral bit has caused me a real headache.

Who knew ethical was so hard!

Having spent 18 months searching for a way of producing ethically manufactured sportswear, I can share the following knowledge:

 

Sportswear has to fulfil very high demands from the wearer; it has to: 

  • be really, really stretchy,

  • take dyes of bright and vibrant colours,

  • have an attractive sheen or slightly shiny surface,

  • not go dark when and where the wearer sweats,

  • be long suffering and hardwearing,

  • survive regular and thorough washing and tumble drying,

  • ‘wick’ or draw moisture away from our bodies, so keeping us warm in the cold and cool in the heat,

  • be affordable and be flattering

 

So, in my search for ethical fabrics that a small business could afford, I had considered:

  1. Bamboo, but the fibres are short. This means it looks and feels slightly like velvet, so printed patterns and images will look soft not sharp and the fabric wears thin easily as the fibres pull apart.

  2. Cotton, which has a lovely breathable quality. However, it doesn’t like mixing with Lycra (or elastane / spandex which are the generic names for Lycra) so you get a baggy bum and baggy knees.

  3. new exciting developments in natural fibres, produced using raw products such as milk (QMilk) or coffee grounds (S.Cafe). These are both gorgeous fabrics and I’d love to partner with them in the future.

I next turned my attention to recycled polyester: 

Now, I know that recycled polyester is already being used successfully for printed leggings.   Yipee!!   However, currently, recycled polyester is kept in a big round bale, like the hay bales you see in the fields.   These bales are unwound from the centre and pulled out like a long sock.  Each bale is everso slightly different and when the fabric is pulled out of its bale cocoon, its form and structure starts to change.

 

As the opened bale starts to change, each bale has to be used then and there for one print run, of 3000 items.

 

Now these items can be leggings, or tops, or shells, or vests, but they have to be printed in one go.   Which, as I believe in slow fashion and only produce what I know will sell, reducing the Urban Camouflage carbon footprint and reducing wastage, means this is not an option for our business right now.

 

Well, this is where I am now, 18 months in, far better informed and much closer to my carbon neutral range of clothing.

 

The business is changing all the time, this is the place I’ve reached on my quest, so I’ll keep you informed of my progress towards our ethical future.

 

I’m going to keep talking, keep visiting and keep digging, so watch this space as it is my aim and ambition to create clothing that you will enjoy wearing and also be proud to wear.   Equally, if you know something we could use are happy to share your knowledge, please do!!  

 

The sooner Urban Camouflage can be carbon neutral the prouder I’ll be and the sooner you can receive your totally ethical Urban Camouflage sports kit!

How Nature Keeps Us Well

At the same time as more and more of us move to the cities, research is showing that humans respond positively to the shapes, colours and landscapes of natural surroundings and negatively to urban ones.

 As nature is heavily involved in the balance of our mental health, this leaves us with a problem.  The benefits we gain from being within and around it are being lost to us as we squeeze into ever growing urban hubs. But we can reverse this change, through good design of our buildings, spaces and cities.

 Five ways it has been shown that nature can improve our mental state:

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 1.     In our spare time:

Walking through woods lowers our heart rates by the same amount as a hug or stroking our pets. A 20 minute woodland walk has even been shown to make us more considerate and generous to others.

2.     In hospitals:

Patients with bedside windows looking out on leafy trees heal a day faster, are discharged a day earlier than those who don’t. They also needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer complications than patients who instead saw a brick wall.

3.     At school:

Children in classrooms with a view of trees and a natural landscape can concentrate for significantly longer than students without a view of nature.

4.     At work:

Office workers with green views from their workstations were more satisfied at work and had more patience, less frustration, increased enthusiasm for work, and fewer health problems than those with bare walls and no plant life to see.

5.     In prisons:

In a US study in a correctional Institution, some prisoners in solitary confinement were shown moving images of nature such as streams, tropical beaches or forests, while some were not.  Those prisoners sent to solitary confinement with no access to these images recorded more outbursts, whereas those able to see the images displayed calmer, more stable behaviour.

6.     In our public spaces:

Access to green space has been associated with less brain ageing.   The decline in cognitive score after ten years, in 60,000 Britons, was almost 5% smaller in people living in greener neighbourhoods.

7.     And this one is really shocking:

10% more green space in our living environment led in one study to a decrease in the number of symptoms that is comparable with a decrease in age by 5 years.   This means that you may live five years longer with access to green spaces and nature than those people with just ten percent less access to nature than you.

 It’s hard to over-estimate how important nature is to us, in every way.  We need to look after it, for ourselves today, as well as for our children and our futures. A simple way we can do this is to make sure we are visiting our green spaces as often as possible, looking after them, protecting them, staying familiar and staying in touch.

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For references please ask for a copy of my Masters research paper:

“Is it possible to design a piece of visual artwork that provides all the health benefits of views of nature?”