in Why I do what I do... Tags christmas design ethical fashion Fashion gifts julia Sustainability sustainable
Why I do what I do… Katcha Bilek
There’s always an exciting artistic buzz in Bristol, and particularly around the colourful Stokes Croft. In the initially unassuming Hamilton House, is a whole host of studio spaces for the creative Bristolians from Illustrators to Puppeteers and Fashion Designers. This brings to me to Katcha Bilek – paving the eco-road to sustainability one bag at a time. I won’t give the game away – read on to find out just how she does it!…
Why I do what I do:
I’m a creative person and an ideas person, and I’ve always made new stuff out of old stuff. I used to live on the road in an old fire engine that I had converted, and it was then that I got into making handbags out of old tractor inner tubes. This satisfied my creative needs in a number of ways: I love design, 3D design especially. I like things to be useful. I hate waste. And I’m concerned about ethics and sustainability, as all humans should be.It turns out people loved the handbags and it’s now my bread and butter. They love the uniqueness of each product, and that it has meaning. I use the design label to spread awareness of ethical and eco issues.
Where I do it:
I’ve been based at Hamilton House on Stokes Croft, Bristol for over 6 years. It was a derelict old office block before local action group Coexist stepped in to set up what is now a thriving centre for creative companies and social enterprises. With over 200 tenants, the offices are now home to an eclectic mix of architects, designers, film producers, and record labels amongst numerous others working in a variety of industries. It’s such an inspiring place to work, it can even be distracting with so many interesting people around. So many collaborations have come from being in this supportive community.
What drives me on:
I’m inspired by forms. I like the creative challenge of turning a discarded object into something new. I’ve worked on such varied projects over the past years: for Bristol Green Capital, making furniture out of bike parts, and with the charity 1625ip, as an interior designer for young people with no money. I find that far more exciting that being given loads of money and buying whatever I fancy.
What I’m working on:
Well, Christmas is our busiest time so I’m literally knee deep in innertube deliveries and keeping stock up of all the designs.
I had a dream about a new design a week ago and once the Christmas rush is over I’ll be playing around with that. It’s a completely different style to any of the items in previous collections so if it works out I’ll work on a collection to go with it.
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