Meet the Maker: Calluna Upcycling

Can you start off by telling us about you and your work? 

I’m Heather, I’m a single mum who hates waste! I originally started Calluna Upcycling to be able to recycle the event graphics that I was producing at Calluna Graphix, as I couldn’t bear to throw away what was essentially just fabric…! I made the fabric into fun new items and give them a new life. When covid restrictions lifted and exhibitions came back I was too busy to do the sewing myself, and now have 9 ladies all working flexibly at home to make our super creations. 

What or who inspires your creativity the most? 
The actual fabric has a massive influence over my designs – Sometimes we have really thin flag material come in that makes beautiful linings and draws nicely to make the top of drawstring bags. Sometimes we have thick PVC that is super sturdy, so makes great structural items like storage boxes! But my kids have a big impact on my designs too – they are forever asking for custom items that then end up in our product range. 

How important is it for you to the support the community? 

Huge. I truly believe that everything I achieve should also benefit the people around me. 10% of every sale goes to the Severn Hospice (charity no 513934). My sewers are all local ladies who need fully flexible working due to personal circumstances. I donate fabric to local schools for use in their textiles departments and for their stages when they do performances. I donate spare tote bags to local charity shops so they can raise money in their shops. I’ve done talks in local schools on how to be more eco-friendly. And I’m currently working on a project creating a waterproof sleeve for sleeping bags to protect rough sleepers in cold months.

How does sustainability for into the values of your business? 

Again, this is of massive importance to myself and my business. We are obviously saving graphics from going into landfill but every element of the way we work we have scrutinised to see if we can do things in a more sustainable way. None of the fabric is wasted – the logos and parts we can’t use is shredded and used to fill our door stops, gonks and stage weights. All our packaging is plastic free and composable. We only print on recycled card and paper. And when our customer no longer wants their product for any reason, we are happy to have them back to shred and add to our stage weights. We never want the fabric to end up in landfill! 

What will people find to purchase when they visit you at Shropshire Artisan Showcase? 

A collection of much-loved accessories! There will be water bottle holders, bags, boxes, pencil cases and much more! All have a “I used to be a banner” or “I used to be an exhibition stand” on the outside to shout about its previous life. They are all handmade with care and affection. 

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