Soilair studio produces hand-knitted colourful fabric strips into heart-warming household products. By “Upcycling” unwanted fabrics her aim is to reduce the pollution caused by the disposal of the waste material. Soilair Studio enjoys playing and matching colours with her zero waste products and will be selling cushions, heat proof coasters, drink bottle holders and cat’n’dog beds.
We asked Soilair a few questions about his work...
You come from a design background, what made you want to start working with fabrics?
I saw an example that transformed a ragged t-shirt into pot mat in a Japanese magazine and I thought there must be more fabrics that can be done in the same way. I started by asking alteration stores if they had any unwanted fabrics but the result was not satisfying at all. It took another 3 years until I found the fabric strips from industrial waste. They come in greater quantity and can be designed into competitive products on markets.
How did you decide on the name Soilair?
Soilair is a combination of “soil” and “air”. Hopefully by what I have been doing, our generation and beyond can have a better environment to live in: cleaner soil and fresher air.
Please can you introduce to those that haven’t heard of up-cycling before what it is and why it is so important to make use of these waste materials. What would happen to the waste materials otherwise?
Unlike recycling that reverse the waste to its somewhat original state (i.e. paper, glass,…etc.), upcycling is to beautify and give function to the materials using certain skills and techniques to transform them. The result is often unique, fresh, and most importantly useful. If these pieces of fabrics aren’t up-cycled the waste materials would be destroyed by burning or burying which can cause massive pollution.
Now people are becoming more aware of the environmental issues and want to reduce their impact on the environment. What advice would you give someone wanting to reduce the amount of waste they produce?
Reduce one-time use products, i.e. bring your own shopping bag and tupperware.
Shop only what you need.
Be creative and transform waste, i.e. plastic bottle into flower pot.
Buy and use upcycling products!
How can people make more of a conscious effort when considering purchasing a product? Can you recommend any other great local businesses that are producing zero waste products in Taipei?
I really recommend Zen Zhou and Pick Food Up.
The excessive use of plastics has brought sorrow to the earth, and choked the oceans, but nature and animals don’t have the power to protest.
Zen Zhou hopes to begin by changing our own lives and habits: using health-friendly and environmental materials to create a low-plastic environment, one step at a time.
Pick Food Up扌合生態廚房
PICK, FOOD, UP,
We are saving surplus ingredients and making wasted food tasty. The journey of food is not only a straight path from farm to table but also the contribution of the entire planet and human being. That’s why we have to take care of more than just the food on table. By focusing on the food behind and after tables, we are trying to make the existing food production chain become a more sustainable system. We create tasty and quality dishes out of surplus food, making it as a creative solution to fighting against environmental issues such as food waste and climate change. Surplus food is thus endowed with new values than just brought up for charity.