Friday 23 January 2015

Upcycling with Out of the Dark

This season, Bubble has teamed up with High Wycombe's Out of the Dark (OOTD), a charitable social enterprise which creates unique, upcycled furniture.

Founders Jay and Jade Blades employ disadvantaged young people, teaching them how to restore, reupholster and completely revamp unwanted pieces. The charity will be helping to furnish our February show - and, when Jay offered to hold an upcycling workshop for friends of Bubble and Speak, we jumped at the chance!

But who to invite? We swiftly assembled a crack squad of creatives, including Kid Style Junkie's Suzanne Peters, Little Scandinavian's Bianca Wessel, City Kids' Victoria Evans, Natalie Lee of Style Me Sunday, illustrator Sophie Crichton, Upcyclist's Antonia Edwards, Collezioni's Peppe Orru, stylist Fran Lee, photographer Sonya Hurtado, and interior designer, writer and blogger Ashlyn Gibson.

The workshop was held at Shoreditch's Pitfield, a cafe, shop and gallery brimming with unique homewares. In this suitably creative setting, Jay and OOTD craftsman Luke set about teaching us how to upcycle an old school chair.

After a crash course in painting and upholstery (top tip: don't staple your fingers), it was time for the really fun bit - choosing our chairs, and beginning to revamp them!

We painted our chair frames (armed with plenty of wet-wipes for drips), before using super-strength glue to attach padding to their seats. 

OOTD work with donated fabrics, and had brought along a range to choose from. Each creative selected a piece of material, which would be used to cover their chair seat - although upcycling veteran Ashlyn had come equipped with her own. 

Then it was time to bring out the big guns - staple ones, to be exact! Supervised by Jay and Luke, we made a start on attaching our fabric to the seats. It was very fiddly, but using the air-powered guns proved a lot of fun (so much so, in fact, that B&S got a bit staple-happy, and had to start again!)

Nevertheless, most of our creatives were soon stapling away like OOTD professionals - and even had time to add a few finishing touches. Ashlyn's chair featured an in-built whoopee cushion, while illustrator Sophie's was a colourful work of art. 

What do you think? We were seriously impressed with their unique creations - from Suzanne's chic monochrome seat, to stylist Fran's expertly accessorised piece (complete with retro badges). 

The 11 chairs will be on display at Bubble this February - and, if you like what you see, you could even take one home with you! We'll be putting them up for grabs in a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the wonderful OOTD. 

Fancy owning a stylish OOTD original? You can register for a ticket to the show here. We've got our eye on that whoopee cushion chair, though..

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