Her graduate project, CIRCULAR WILLOW incorporates all the values she has built up through her BA focusing on designing for purpose using Cradle to Cradle production methods and materials. CIRCULAR WILLOW began with the waste bark from a local basket weaver during lockdown that she took through a variety of processes to become a useable yarn, able to be dyed with natural materials. From this she designed multifunctional pocket aprons using layered weaving techniques and her willow yarn to enable craftspeople to be more mobile while working. The pockets are made from bast fibres, linen, hemp and willow yarn, and dyed with onion, iron, nettle, logwood, and turmeric, meaning all samples are 100% biodegradable and sustainable.
This design can be used in a domestic sense but is aimed to carry tools and materials to encourage crafts people to work in outdoor rural and cityscapes. COVID has made us more aware of the importance of locally made products and with Michaela’s project she wants to bring recognition to this and encourage it further, post-pandemic. Seeing the work of craftspeople in open spaces will make people more aware of the products that the local craft industry have to offer. Not only is it beneficial for designers to work outdoors and for their work to be connected with the surrounding environment, but it can become an extension of their studio with materials and natural systems that can accompany the process of making.
Being confined to spaces have changed the way we use them, appropriating them for a variety of activities. For design and craft, we have turned our homes into studio spaces, but why not the nearby woods, park or beach.
When photographing one of her woven pieces being used as a backstrap loom and tool holder in the busy streets of London, she was approached by people wanting to know more about the loom, how it works and if they could try. Sustaining craft is important and by working in public spaces we are exhibiting the skill and passing on a process that may be forgotten if not.
CIRCULAR WILLOW stands for sustainable materials, sustainable processes, and sustaining craft.