Upcycling is such an important part of my life, both for Maker’s Meadow as a shop and within my home life. ‘Going green’ is a journey for me that will continue for the rest of my life and it makes me so happy to be able to reuse and remake items for another use. Today i will show you the journey of the malt sacks i use to create our shop items from origin to product, including a little bit of info on malt and brewing. I use any waste materials the Geeves brewery supply me with and any new item always brings on a spur of inspiration and imagination as to what i could use it for.
As i have said the malt sacks i use come from our local brewery but before that they come from Fawcett & sons Maltsters, in Castleford, West Yorkshire. A maltster prepares the grains/malt for brewing, they do this by first soaking the grains and then drying them out using hot air, this changes starch in the grain in to sugars which in the brewing process will be turned into alcohol. The grains are then packed into sacks and delivered to the brewery
When brewing a mixture of grains are used to give different characteristics to the beer. The grains are added to what looks like a giant pot called a mash tun, they are slowly added to it along with very hot water, this is called mashing in. They are left in there for an hour+ till the sugars are extracted into the water (now called liquor) and this is transferred to the next part of the brewing process.Once the mashtun is empty of liquor and the grains have been washed to get out the remaining sugars, the malt is put back in to sacks. Our brewery gives these sacks to a local farming college for composting and to a local venison farmer who feeds his deer with it, making sure there is nothing going to the landfill. They then collect the malt sacks and give them to me at Maker’s Meadow, reducing their waste further.
The first step before making a product is the worse and that is cleaning it.Soapy hot water and alot of elbow grease generally does the job. I then cut out pattern pieces from the sacking, using it just like i would a piece of material, as well as any other fabric pieces i need for the design. I then construct the product using mainly my sewing and overlocking machine, as well as some glue and hand stitching. Each product can be completely different, depending on the sacking design position, color and any warping so each piece is unique.
I then photography each product and list my items on Etsy or Folksy. Once a customer orders an item i package it in recycled brown packing paper , sewing together the edges after inserting my business cards, a few freebies and special offers. I then trot down to the post office and send it off, happy that some one has brought from me a handmade and eco friendly product. Its not just malt sacks that i reuse though, i also use the packets that their hops come in for my cool bags, plastic wrap for packaging, and i get oodles of string which i will be using i a new project ( i’ll keep you posted). If you want to know more about brewing check out CAMRA for a guide and to see the rest of our products check out our Etsy or Folksy shops.
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