Des nouvelles de notre projet de circularité textile

News about our textile circularity project

If you follow us on social media, you will probably have seen images of our experiments in progress! Alongside the creation of our clothes, we continue to make headway with our textile recycling project, which is important to the whole team. So here's an update on the development of the project, our ideas and what's coming soon! To find out how the project came to be, read or re-read this article (https://atelier-b.ca/en/blogs/blog/un-projet-deconomie-circulaire).

Playing with colours

Sorting our scraps following our manufacturing productions is a laborious task. We receive our off-cuts all mixed up in large bags and we first need to sort them. Since our garments are cut using a computer-assisted robot, the layers of fabric are vacuum-packed for precision. Inside the bags we find paper - to place the pattern pieces - and thin plastic - to remove the air. Once these materials have been removed, the cuttings have to be separated by colour. It's time-consuming, very dusty manual work, but it's crucial for our fibre reclaiming process!

When the colours are separated, they are sorted with remnants of similar tones. We work with the fabrics as if they were paint pigments and turn them into recipes. Once we have the right amount of scraps to turn into pulp, the transformation begins!

Different fabrication models

Over the last few years, we have experimented with a number of techniques to create our objects using textile pulp. Some require state-of-the-art equipment, others are traditional or handmade. Rather than choosing just one way of doing things, we've concluded that the best thing for us would be to implement several techniques that meet different manufacturing needs. In fact, these processes mirror our garment production. Some of the pieces we make are sewn one at a time, in a traditional way, others in small batches, and some, like our basics, in manufacturing conditions where the volume is greater. These three production methods (one-offs, small exclusive productions and mass production) will be used to make different types of products as part of this textile circularity project.

Artistic exploration

Since last fall, like a breath of fresh air in our daily lives, we've decided to take more time to play with materials, without waiting for them to be marketed. We freely explore the possibilities, sometimes taking poetic detours. Playing with concepts allows us to discover new potential. We're experimenting with marbling, superimposing colours and adding natural ingredients to alter the pulp. We also draw inspiration from techniques such as Kintsugi (visible repair of ceramics) and Kami-ito (paper thread) to develop our ideas. These techniques are both part of Japanese traditions because, let's face it, the Japanese are masters in numerous craft techniques. That's why Catherine and I are going on an exploratory research trip to Japan this spring. We can't wait to share all this with you in May!

The next steps

Our first production run of hangers will finally be available this summer in a multitude of colours. We are currently testing finishing methods to make them smoother and softer. We are also working on a collection of moulded objects that will be produced in small series next fall. Expect some intriguing pieces, both decorative and utilitarian. We hope to present all our research and experimentation in the form of an exhibition next year, both the exploratory pieces and the moulded products. We will be sending out an invitation in due course! 

Thank you to our team and to the SODEC and Recyc-Québec for their ongoing support of our research. 

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