Wondering what to do with all those bits and pieces which surround you in your studio, probably has the answer.

There has been a growing interest in “do and make do”, partly because of the global recession, but also the established eco credentials of recycling.  Sadly, much of what has been recommended is slightly ‘worthy’ or a little amateurish.  Enter, which is neither.  If you have ‘stuff’ and would like to see it transform into something elegant, useful or just quirky, take a look at what Co-oproduct terms “...a revolution in making”.

Artists and designers are extremely good at thinking outside the box.  It drives their practice, stimulates research, instigates some remarkable results and fuels creativity.  But it is not the prerogative of the trained creative.  Sometimes the rest of us just need a push or some generous (practical) advice.  That is what Co-oproduct does, and very well too!

Co-oproduct is a CIC (Community Interest Company), co-founded by Tracy Cordingley and Jamie Billing, which, through its website, acts as a showcase for the creative reuse of household packaging and everyday waste material.  The results are simply spectacular, innovative, and beautifully presented.  This is a packed site, which is easy to navigate and full of advice on how to reuse materials through open product design.  Both co-founders are product designers and academics and their attention to detail shows through here.

Visitors can select a material (metal, film/foil, shells, cable, plastic, etc) or a category (furniture, technology, jewellery, lighting, household, etc) and find reuse suggestions.  There is an indication of the skill level involved, illustrated tutorials on how to make it yourself (MIY), information about the designer or author who came up with the product and an opportunity to “buy it now” if you don’t want to make it yourself.

There is something remarkably generous about the framework Co-oproduct uses.  When the rest of the world is suing and counter-suing itself, fighting about product piracy and ownership (all firmly embedded in trying to make as much money as possible and stop others from using your ideas) (think Apple v Samsung!), here you are given a choice.  Love the product and buy it directly, or make it yourself, adapt the product design along the way and come up with something which might be slightly different, but does what you want it to do, using the materials you have available.  This is Blue Peter on steroids*.

Not all products on the site are ‘buy it now’, but each gives you a step by step guide to making them yourself.  As a CIC, this is not about maximising profit, but stimulating open product ideas.  Giving designs away might just be the revolution in creative thinking we didn’t know we wanted. Co-product also offers an education service made up of talks, workshops and lectures to schools, colleges, universities, commercial institutions and conferences.  If you want to change people\'s perception of, and attitude towards, household packaging and everyday waste materials, this is a quality place to start.

Take a look around - and revisit on a regular basis. If you have a reuse product or project idea, let them know.

*For non-UK readers of a ‘certain age’, Blue Peter is a long-running children’s TV program on BBC TV which regularly makes things from bits and pieces in the home.  I was brought up making pencil holders from washing-up liquid bottles and sticky-back plastic.

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Nottingham - UK - where we are made!

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