Tuesday, 8 November 2011

it's time we talked tyres.

jake wilson craw is a craftsman, entrepreneur and general man-about-town, recycling bicycle tyres into belts, bags and other accessories. we caught up with him to inquire where he got the idea from, other products he’d like to turn his hand to and also got some cycling tips along the way.

poxymash: what inspired you to work with tyres?

jake: i came back to newcastle with the idea to learn new skills, and ended up both volunteering at a bicycle recycling charity called recyke y'bike and learning leatherwork. with many worn out unusable tyres otherwise headed to landfill, i decided to put two and two together. it started with belts, then I started making purses,satchels, saddlebags and sculptures.

poxymash: how long does it take to make a belt?

jake: if i broke down all the steps i think i could get a
belt done in an hour. i tend to do them in batches while watching bbc iplayer, which slows me down a little.

poxymash: what is it that you like about working with the material?
jake: tyres are actually a pretty horrible material to work with, you sometimes have to wrestle with them to get them to do what you want. i suppose i like the challenge, and thinking up new ways of working within the limits of something tough, thin and circular.
poxymash: do you intend to work with any other materials in the future?

jake: i've done a few things with leather recently, which is a lovely material to work with. i'd like to make luggage- i have a penchant for old suitcases, big tea chests and the like, but I'd need to develop some woodworking skills before that i suppose.
poxymash: have you seen any other exciting examples of sustainable fashion recently?

jake: a friend of mine makes dresses from material she finds in charity shops. she made one from a thunderbirds duvet cover that was particularly splendid. i own a pair of cycling spats that are made from old boat sails.they're practical and look dapper.

poxymash: finally, if you could have any bicycle in the world what would it be, and what would be suitable attire for a ride about town?
jake: i've a fondness for old racing bikes and bianchi. so maybe a bianchi pista. though i really like the attention to detail and ingenious features you get on vintage bikes, so maybe an old bsa town bike with a self lubricating chain. i'm thinking of winter here. as for attire, i'd rather crash than wear lycra. i'm fond of the message behind the tweed run and one of the best things I've ever seen is a cycling cape by dashing tweeds. It has reflective thread woven into it, so in headlights it glows a check pattern. it's sadly out of my price range, but a man can dream.

to see more of jake's work visit : http://www.etsy.com/people/ooManAboutTownoo

[callum dickson]

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