Freyja Sewell, a London based designer currently in the Design Museum residency program has been studying wool and its applications in design.  As a new designer Sewell is acting on every great opportunity that presents itself, she believes that new thinking and approaches are more important now than they have ever been.  Freyja Sewell was commissioned by the Design Museum to work on the brief ‘Thrift’ a concept that is important to Sewell.

Bags and bags of wool!

Managing the worlds resources to create a sustainable future is without question, a challenge.  Sewell relishes in such challenges and has been primarily focused on researching materials for the Thrift Project, throughout the development of the project Sewell has been consistently experimenting and refining sustainable and functional materials.  Wool is a sustainable  biodegradable resource, its naturally flame retardant, breathable, absorbent and the native British fibers are particularly hard wearing and durable.  Given the fantastic properties of this material Sewell began her research with wool fibers a by product of the carpet industry.

Wool! Its likely that you have seen this stuff before!  Probably around your neck!

Sewell was researching wet felting an ancient fabrication technique dating back to 600 BC, this was an efficient technique that did not needlessly consume petroleum based foam.  Although Sewell’s experiments in wet felting was successful she believed that more could be achieved.  Using bio-plastic derived from potato starch to bind the fibers together created a new material, a composite material. The material is created using the wool of UK breed sheep thus creating a particularly strong and durable material unique to Britain’s produce. Britain’s got some tough sheep!

The wool toastie

Have you ever seen a wool toastie? Well now you have, its not for eating though, its part of the development process Sewell employed to experiment with different materials.  Sewell is super excited about this Starch Bound Wool or SBW, the applications include thin, hollow structures to strong light boards.  The design applications of this material is something that Sewell is looking forward to exploring in the future!

The Toastie experiment continues..

Sewell is keen to further refine the material to investigate whether Starch Bound Wool (SBW) can be used in large scale manufacturing such as injection mouldings or heat pressing.

Design applications

The research served to fuel Sewell’s excitement more to continue developing this material and the applications for its use!  Could  we see a new generation of products using wool based materials, could we see an ipad made from wool? The isheep? The future will tell and we will be watching!

These fantastic creations by Swell have been made using the techniques she developed researching Starch Bound Wool, the sphere is of particular interested as its delicate shape and form have been made using the SBW method creating a strong, light and intricate object.

We hope you enjoyed the Wooly Design at the Design Museum article :)



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