It's baffling to see the amount of rubbish left behind at festivals; most of it not even rubbish, but perfectly good tents and rubber wellies, discarded without a moment's thought. What to do with it all? Francli has the answer, with the Fresh Fields Project.
One of the major blights about large festivals like Glastonbury is the amount of waste that's left behind. Tents, tent poles, wellies... these hardwearing materials are abandoned without a second thought, but creative and imaginative eyes see they have great potential for a longer, purposeful lifespan, rather than being chucked in landfill with a shrug and an "oh what a shame".
Franki Baseley and Alison Goodman from Falmouth-based Francli studio and interior product maker Felix McCormack saw this potential and collaborated to form the Fresh Fields Project, turning the festival jetsam into beautiful things of use. We grabbed Franki for a chin-wag...
What was the idea behind the Fresh Fields Project – why did the concept grab you?
Resident Glastonbury artist and environmental activist Kurt Jackson decided to bring together a group of designers and makers, including Francli, and task them to use their skills to find a use for the waste materials left behind after big festivals. We had been looking for a durable, leather-like material to work with so were really excited at the idea of manipulating discarded wellies. It was challenging but so much fun to be allowed to experiment with the different salvaged fabrics. Together we created a line of security accessories for outdoor use (such as camping at a festival) made entirely from objects left behind at Glastonbury 2011.
What grabbed us was the chance to experiment and the opportunity to promote upcycling and ethical design attitudes. The end of festivals is the perfect analogy for how wasteful we can be; piles of unwanted objects and materials, not because they're unusable but because their owners can't be bothered to lug them back to the car after a heavy weekend. The Fresh Fields Project is all about highlighting this problem and offering a simple, lighthearted solution.
What do you find so satisfying about reusing materials?
The best bit about reusing materials is not just the sustainable aspect but the spontaneity – how they direct the design process, forcing you to approach each project differently. For example, the Fresh Fields Project started with wellies and tents and it wasn't until we started to understand the characteristics of their materials and how they can be manipulated that we could begin planning what we could make from them. It's quite an organic process, one that sounds limiting but it opens up design opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise discovered.
Tell us more about Francli – what's important to you?
We're inspired by rural craftspeople and makers; those who lead a creative, outdoor lifestyle. By sharing their experiences of design, craft and outdoor activity, we find solutions for contemporary work wear and accessories.
We operate outside the realms of whimsical trends, focusing instead on function, quality and longevity to promote slow, sustainable and localised fashion.
We like to connect with nature. We strongly believe that an active and productive outdoor lifestyle is creatively stimulating and is a value intrinsic to every element of what we do. We aim to work with environmental awareness and strive to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible. We are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to save energy and prevent waste.
We recognise the power of collaboration and the excitement and motivation that comes from creative discussion. Working directly with other professional crafts people helps cultivate innovation and quality within our work.
We value products that are made in Britain. Handmade and locally sourced products have become too rare. We champion traditional and contemporary craft skills and locally sourcing materials to do them. We also appreciate slow design, focusing on functional and durable clothing with a timeless, minimal aesthetic, rather than short-lived fashions and throwaway trends.