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Sustainability

Our Studio

Eco Friendly by Design

To read more about our build process, click here.

The studio is built sustainably from the ‘jackpad’ foundations-totally concrete free made from recycled plastic and recycled steel, to the SIPS structurally insulated panel system walls, floor, and roof which exceed all current building insulation regulations. the studio does not requite heating for the majority of the year, we use a small portable heater in the depths of winter to add a boost of heat in the morning which lasts all day

Inside, energy saving bulbs are used throughout the studio and our instant water heater heats only what we use on demand.

Have you seen our amazing floor? Rather than the usual plastic coated laminate flooring we chose to use reclaimed parquet blocks which our Kris laser etched with oystercatcher birds. You can read a blog post about the floor which includes pics and a video of the work in progress. Please do visit the blog post, but to whet your appetite here is a pic of some beautiful blocks before they were laid.

We always say that we wanted our studio floor to be a ‘friendly’ floor, the sort of floor that doesn’t mind, and indeed looks better, for being scuffed with sand from shoes and boots. The very antithesis of a ‘no shoes house’, a welcoming space that can take a bit of sand, a splash of tea, or a splosh of paint. We hope we have succeeded!

Continuing the friendly and recycled furniture and fittings theme, we sourced display units from local charity shops, and our work tables are made from recycled teak from a laboratory and pallets left over from the studio build. The sinks and tray storage units were re purposed from a local school and we have even sourced a balance bench from a school gym which sits in the large window holding local literature, driftwood, and sea glass.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Making a difference one piece of paper at a time!

We make sure we do everything we can in the studio to save energy and cut waste whilst encouraging our guests to get involved.

One of our more obvious waste reduction efforts is our Greywater Toilet, adapted by Laura. Using recycled kitchen worktop, cake stand, copper pipe, and aquatic tubing, clean water usually used to fill the cistern is diverted to a handwash basin, draining into and filling the cistern, recycling the water. Many of our visitors love the novelty and the eco credentials of the toilet – it is not unheard of for someone to use the loo and then enthuse about it to their friends, bringing them by the hand to come and see it. Here is a video we made showing it in use…

 

We also compost all compostable food waste including, coffee grounds and tea bags. We serve ground coffee in cafetieres and like to think the resulting coffee grounds help to keep our hydrangeas blue! Here’s a snap of our hydrangeas from a photography course to show composting chemistry in action.

Our paper waste is made into hand made paper sheets and is used  in the back of frames, the rough textured handmade paper contrasts nicely with the precise laser paper cuts or shiny smooth fused glass folk make on courses.

We do not use plastic or paper cups, or plastic bags, and indeed hold a printed bag workshop where participants can print and style their own bag for life.

Visitor information; as well as offering traditional leaflets at our front gate we offer an eco-friendly and hi-tech solution for passers by to learn more about us. Folk with phones that have NFC (Near Field Communication which are most Android and Windows phones – sadly not iPhones) can simply tap their phone onto one of our contact points and zap straight to the information they need. We also take our information point cards ‘out on the road’ so to speak, to events and exhibitions, where they are useful to reduce the number of printed leaflets distributed. They also create a bit of a buzz and excitement as they are such new technology. Magic!

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Promoting, Supporting, and Protecting the Environment

Reaching out to make the Wirral a more lovely place to be

We hope that by making, exhibiting, and selling works made with and inspired by beach litter we can draw attention to the issue in the best way we can. To that end Sue makes bowls of fabric coils with sea-worn plastic sewn into their layers. Her first bowls were inspired by the Tidal Surge which saw record high seas in the region and many local and national areas flooded and damaged by the sea. We were lucky enough to escape damage here at the studio but Sue set about creating something beautiful from the aftermath. You can read all about the bowls in this blog post, but here is an image of the work in progress.


We first met the LOVEmyBEACH gang at a North West Coastal Forum conference in 2014, we loved their straightforward approach to improving the bathing waters of the North West of England. We signed up for their accreditation scheme and are proud to say that we not just meet ‘LOVEmyBEACH’ accreditation but exceed the requirements. We also display stickers about flushing, wastewater, and solid waste disposal in our toilet.

We now also champion the cause in our local area, hoping to educate and encourage others to become LOVEmyBEACH businesses, schools, and organisations. Whenever we have a school group visit us we make sure to not only base our activities around the fundamental environmental principles, but to also make sure each teacher goes away with a printed schools pack and checklist to work towards their own accreditation. Usually by visiting us schools are able to tick two or even three of the required five parts on the accreditation checklist.

Check out this disgusting fatberg!

A sample school half day trip to Shore Cottage Studio would include a supervised beach clean, activities around eco-dyeing fabric with plants, spices etc. with reference to changing the colour by acid (vinegar) and alkali (washing soda) as well as fixing colour with iron (rusty nails) and or protein (milk). Students would undertake experiments around what to, and what not to flush with; baby wipes, toilet paper, and cotton wool- creating ‘fatbergs’ with oils and warm soapy water and non flushable items. Sessions end with pupils making their own flotsam weaving with eco dyed recycled fabric strips and (pre-cleaned and sorted) beach litter. We then make a wall hanging display for the school out of the individual weavings.

We have been involved with The Big Dee Day since 2014 where we hosted a beach clean for folk from Natural Resources Wales The Environment Agency. Both sides of the River Dee came together to make a pair of flotsam weaving wall hangings which now hang in their workplaces.

The annual Big Dee Day clean-up is organised by Cheshire West and Chester Council, Flintshire Council, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales, it celebrated it’s 10th anniversary in 2016. We hosted an event for the anniversary with year six pupils from a local school, who took the Eco-message so much to heart that they even walked to and from the studio!

We also work with Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the Wirral Country Park Rangers on community events including a free workshop for their Summer Seaside Fun Day; families dropped in and learnt about water quality via play-doh dog poo making, cuddly toy rat picnic, ‘drain-wise’ what not to pour displays, and hand painting a string of ‘better beach bunting’ sewn on the day itself for display at the Wirral Country Park. Other events with this team have included, two Living Seas events, and The Big Arty Beach Clean.

For the first Wirral Wader Festival, November 2015, we provided a warm indoor space for birders and birding partners. Bird themed craft workshops included – Saturday: printed wading bird wrap scarves, and Sunday: laser cut wading birds greetings cards. We repeated the popular laser cut cards drop in workshop in 2016

We are also trying our best to promote sustainable transport, our access statement includes a variety of transportation links for visitors including public transport such as trains and busses and the ‘Bike&Go’ bicycle rental scheme from West Kirby station and the Wirral Way cycle route.

Supporting the Local Community, Economy, and The North West Region

Supporting Local and Buying Local Keeping the Community Together

Home, Health, Happiness Fair, 2016
The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton was the venue for the first Home Health and Happiness Fair, organised by the team behind the hugely successful and award winning Fabulous Frost Fair. We held a stand with our promotional video and example works, as well as giving a taste of a workshops by running an interactive session using Lego bricks and letterpress printing – visitors could make their own monogram prints, using Lego plates and flat tiles. We now run this as a taster workshop at the studio, but was developed specifically as a way of taking our workshops to fairs and events, where our other courses might not run due to safety constraints or logistic problems.

Wirral PA Network
With other members of the Wirral Visitor Economy Network, we either attend or host the PA Event – a networking opportunity for PA’s and tourism businesses. A mini hamper is given to each attendee – as well as special offers and we contribute a homemade gift (eg. a laser cut paper piece in a frame, fused glass earrings in gift box).

Attending the event is a brilliant way for us to make contact and network with other businesses, and to increase our knowledge of other services available to our customers. Hosting the event in June 2016, which allowed us to show off our studio and location. We made canapés based on the refreshments we serve to our course attendees, and ran a letterpress printing workshop in one end of the studio using Lego tiles.

Wirral Heritage Open Days 2016
Organised by the Wirral History and Heritage Association, the Heritage Open Days are an opportunity to celebrate historic architecture and culture. We opened Shore Cottage Studio and displayed a range of documents relating to our home, Shore Cottage. We found nautical maps, tithe charts, articles, books, and photographs. The most popular were photographs of our renovation of the house and images sent to us from folk from all over the UK that have a personal link to Shore Cottage.

Soroptomists’ Beach Cleaning
We regularly host the beach clean ‘after party’ for the Heswall and District Soroptomists group. They will organise a beach clean and leave the bags with us for collection later by the Wirral Country Park Rangers. They come to the studio for tea and cake and general cleaning up. Shore Cottage Studio will often perform its own beach clean on an ad-hoc basis, but we love a chance to root through the Soroptimists’ bags to see if there are any art worthy litter items!

Local Schools and Colleges
We have also gained a reputation to being welcoming and adaptable to schools with additional needs pupils. We have hosted sessions for three separate schools from the North West with pupils on the autistic spectrum who have each brought a small class for a tailored workshop. Being a one roomed studio that is not routinely open to the public we can very easily make small adjustments like turning off our cuckoo clock to minimise noise and unexpected bird based interruptions! Prep for life work experience students with specific learning difficulties are often placed with us at the studio, placements are for six weeks (one day a week) and students are able to spend time with us setting up for courses, making handmade paper for use in workshops, changing displays, and even helping out on course days with refreshment preparation and general ‘front of house’ duties.

Supporting Local Businesses
We welcome visitors from throughout the UK and mainland Europe who stay in local hotels and B&Bs and eat in local restaurants. Some will bring family members who do not participate in the courses and who instead enjoy visitor attractions in the area that we signpost with literature in the studio and on our interactive map.

We always source suppliers locally where we can. This includes sourcing our printed marketing materials from Gud Design in Oxton. Our fabrics from Calico Laine, Neston and Abakhan, Birkenhead. Our acrylic from Brimark Signs Ltd. Birkenhead. Card and foam board from Goulds in Heswall. Specialty woods for engraving come from Hill Barn East in Thurstaston. Our studio itself was built by Cheshire based SwiftOrg. Many of our furnishings and fixtures were sourced from Charity shops in the area as was all the crockery and cutlery we use.

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