From something old to something newHome » Blog » Holly Jean Brooker » From something old to something new
Tanya Gordon makes beautiful homewares and accessories from unusual materials for her label NZFinch. Our eco-living blogger Holly Jeans finds out what inspires this uber-talented Kiwi girl and how she creates her designs
Tanya Gordon is a Kiwi girl with an eye for fashion and a heart for reducing waste through transforming used materials into unique and inspired pieces.
Her label, NZFinch, includes eco bags and satchels made from discarded coffee sacks, as well as screenprinted pillows crafted from pre-used blankets. Wallets, scarves and necklaces are also on the list and feature unique eco-surprises such as lining made of satin nightwear.
Tanya sheds some light on how NZFinch came about:
Our story starts when I began my studies at Auckland University doing a Bachelor of Visual Arts. The first year was such an eye-opener into what art is and can be. This, combined with being a poor student and working at the local video store for minimum wage, led me to look at using found and secondhand objects within my artwork. Trash yards, emporiums, inorganic collections and thrift stores became my playground, changing my outlook completely. My love for reusing and recycling also comes from being sentimental – enjoying the history that an object has and the story that it tells.
What kind of 'raw materials' do you look for?
The business started with a gorgeous secondhand purple tartan wool blanket, bought for $10 from the Salvation Army. I made it into a cushion and appliqued an image of a deer onto it. Since then, we have been largely focused on using secondhand fabrics and reworking them into something new. Tired woolen blankets make great cushion covers, and discarded coffee sacks are remade into bags and wallets.
Our own wardrobe isn’t off limits either! Old denim jeans get cut up and made into cushions and cute purses, lined with gorgeous soft satin from a pair of pajama pants. Nothing gets thrown out before it has been stripped of everything that can be reused! Buttons, zips, pockets, fabric, and even old dresses are reworked into scarves and necklaces and it is such a welcome challenge to have to find a creative way of reusing something.
Is there a real trend towards living green?
It’s working in our favour that vintage and secondhand goods are in fashion, and there are definitely people out there who are more likely to buy our products because they have been ‘upcycled’. At the end of the day we just love breathing new life into old things, and if our work can inspire someone to go home and do the same, well, that would make us so happy.
Holly Jean Brooker is owner
which provides New Zealanders with untreated raised garden beds,
nutritious soil and outdoor furniture.