Matter to Material
Shedding Matters started as my final major project at the University of Plymouth whilst I studied for my 3D Design degree. Matter into material is a concept which has inspired a lot of my previous work. (I have used kiwi fruit skins to make lampshades, and flowers to make room dividers!)
To me, a matter is a substance which is neither useful nor valuable, meaning often the matter is waste. An often overlooked material, snake shedding was my focus throughout my final major project. The snakes distinctive scales, colour and texture provide a material which is not alike to others. The shed of the snake is an exact replica of their original skin, leaving a pattern and pigment which is completely original.
Using this fragile matter, I have created a series of fashion accessories that highlights the potential of this unique, but also wasted and beautiful material. Within the fashion industry, leather remains a classic material which is used to create high end luxury items. However, the way leather is obtained; in this case snake leather, is usually very cruel.
Snake shedding is a material which is produced around 3-4 times a year per snake, rivalling leather which is one piece per snake. Shedding, although it needs to be layered, it a more readily available material, as once the snakes grow, the shedding becomes larger and more useful to create a material with. The snakes have a better quality of life and so the shedding will ultimately be more useful in the long run.
Since graduation in September 2019 I have been included in both my local newspaper, the Plymouth Herald, as well as on the BBC news.
In July I also exhibited at New Designers London where I was shortlisted by the hotel company Belmond, and then interviewed by New Designers.
Why I need help...
I have been developing my products in my bedroom since leaving university, and have been focusing on mimicking leather by experimenting with different thicknesses and layers. So far, I have made cross body bags, clutch bags, sunglass cases and card holders.
I collect the shedding from both local businesses and people around Plymouth that own snakes as pets. The shedding sometimes comes either whole or ripped into smaller pieces, and also in balls which need unravelling.
I need more space as I am struggling with the storage of the snake shedding, and also the space to make my products! Although my products aren't yet ready to sell, they are very close and I believe having a studio space will accelerate the product quality very quickly.
What will the money raised be used for?
The rent is my biggest expense at the moment, and due to not being able to sell straight away, I would use the money raised to rent a space in my local area to initially make, and then sell from. I will also need to invest in a new heavy duty sewing machine as mine, which is a basic starter machine, is not practical due to the amount of layers I am sewing through.