Friday, March 27, 2015

The Office of Tyre Tube Rubber Recycling *

I was listening to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin on the radio the other day - he's just released a book called "the Organised Mind" - and one thing he touched on was how we are wired to put things into categories - no matter how weird and wonderful those categories are. Our minds are by their nature bureaucratic.

I'm in  recovery mode after the frenzy of crafting for the school fete environment stall almost left me limp with RSI,  but I also wanted to share some of the good and not so good things we made and was wondering where to start.  Categories seem as good a place to start as any.

So today, as CEO of the Craft Commission, head of the Department of Environment Stall, I'm letting you into the Office of Tyre Tube Rubber Recycling.

The truth about tyre tubes or
Rules and Regulations of Rubber:

1. You can get them for free from CERES or ask your local bike shop.

2. They need lots of cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning and wiping.

3. They can be sewn on the sewing machine with the help of some silicon wiped on the rubber and the needle.

4. Do not attempt to knit the tubes. Really. Just don't bother.

The assistant director of the Office of Tyre Tube Rubber Recycling, lovely Chris Black, had the mindbogglingly genius idea of doing macramé with the tubes. It was such a perfect collision of material and form - and worked a treat. We simply used cable ties for the macramé "knots". Unfortunately we didn't get a good photo of them and they sold so quickly it was as if we had dreamt them.

I had a few craftastrophes with the tubes. I extended the idea of the macramé to a bag.......which looked good but the cut off cable ties are sharp and scrape your hand whenever you get anything from the bag. Sigh.
So I might remake this bag and tie knots of rubber instead. Because it looks good!

My other craftastrophe was the knitting episode. Really. The less said, the better. Shhh!

Here are some things that did work with the rubber - necklaces using the curve of the tyre and the printed text on the tube.

Tassels and

loop earring.


Next year I want to make wallets and more bags.

The Department of the Environment Stall have a pinterest board (which kind of gets us back to the bureaurocracy of the brain, doesn't it? All those boards? Named and categorised?) for our recycling ideas if you are interested!

*title of this post inspired by a book I just finished called "A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists" by Jane Rawson. Excellent book!


  1. It was an extraordinary coming together of genius, creativity and technical inspiration Julianne and Chris - what a knockout outfit you two!

    1. Couldn't have contemplated any of it without your inspiration and guidance St Kasia Patron Saint of all things Improvised, recycled and Innovative!

  2. Maybe if you lubed your knitting needles and the "yarn" first. Although that would make a very slippery top. Your bag is incredible, too bad about the scratches, but I'm glad you've though of a workaround for that. Everything looks fantastic. You amaze!

    1. Sometimes a concept is better left a concept Melanie! And knitting rubber is one of those!

  3. I've never seen rubber looking so good J!
    You could line that gorgeous bag with something bright and flashy...or would the cable ties rip the fabric?
    I love the 'macrame' hangers - no wonder they sold out.
    You girls are very clever. The school fetes I've been to over the years could do with parents like you on their team x

    1. We made some good stuff Kylie! Rubber macramé is great fun!

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