Collection of handmade rugs, with fibres coloured using waste
There is an abundance of waste material available for experimentation at little to no cost. Recycling and upcycling waste from specific industries as a dyestuff, can challenge current pigment manufacturers and benefit the environment. This can also be adapted to the local market as generally, all drinking water companies have residues by filtering water, and the food, beverage, pharma and cosmetic industries have plant- based waste and by-products.
A collection of handmade rugs, with fibres colored using waste, such as coal and iron from the drinking water supply companies and other organic wastes from the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.
Objectives include recovering the value of currently ‘valueless’ waste in a functional, process-efficient and scalable way; creating high quality, durable rugs, as sustainable as possible at every stage of production; challenging current industrial textile color mass manufacture.
The Ignorance is Bliss concept began several years ago with a project of reusing industrial metal waste as a pigment to colour diverse materials, such as ceramics, glass and textiles. The project resulted in a limited edition homeware collec- tion and evolved through the years. Ignorance is Bliss is an ongoing complex project, which aims to upcycle waste and by-products to create interior and architectural products, materials and services. The ambition is to upscale the pro- duction, nevertheless keeping a balance with crafts. Produced items will hopefully become a thread connecting current reuse and future (blissful) awareness.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
I repurposed industrial waste into textile dyes, which were used to colour yarns for the collection of exclusive linen rugs. The drinking water supply and agriculture industries are the main waste suppliers for this project. They generate hundreds of kilograms, even tons a month of diverse leftovers. Hereby, those companies are facing difficulties to get rid of these vast amounts of waste. In the textile industry dyeing causes a lot of environmental and health problems due to the chemicals used in the process. The Ignorance is Bliss Textiles project aims to establish sustainable and circu- lar production methods.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Continuous in-depth research, experiments with numerous potential waste materials, and various techniques lead to promising results. The current colour palette displays a broad range natural colours of beige, orange, purple, brown, green, and black. Yarns are dyed solely using evening primrose, industrial hemp, mustard, and iron residue. The final rug design is a blend of organic and geometrical shapes resembling natural and artificial. Industrially generated waste represents the post-industrial revolution, but the dyeing methods and materials are healthy and natural, often using generational knowledge. One of a kind rugs are hand tufted by a skilled technician. The Ignorance is Bliss Textiles proj- ect facilitates change, encourages collaboration with environmentalists, scientists, manufacturers, and craftsmen and challenges current industrial textile color mass manufacture.
I collaborate with Ecolinum, a Lithuanian manufacturer, producing hand tufted eco-friendly linen rugs. Flax fibers, used in carpet making, are long-lasting, durable, hypoallergenic, and don’t shed, comparing with other types of yarns. The traditions of flax cultivation and processing in Lithuania have been going on for centuries. Lithuanians have given the flax a special place in their folklore and perception of the world.
In order to produce in bigger quantities, the yarn dyeing process has to be industrialized. The next step is to create sustainable and reliable dyes that can be used in industrial textile dyeing and applied to diverse fabrics. I wish to work with the scientific community as well as technical engineers and develop new manufacturing processes and formula- tions, possibly collaborating with an external textile lab.
Co-working is essential to the quality of the project. It is a win-win to find an open-minded producer that goes beyond the standard transaction-based model, but rather the relationship-based approach. It challenges producers to find solutions for the things they never did before, thus learning together.
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Agne is a material designer based in the Netherlands. She enjoys working with waste materials, transforming them into valuable products and methods, seeking interaction between design, society, industry and environment.