November Thoughts From Annabelle Filer, SCIN Creative Director

Synthetic/Personal DNA 

Last week we had a great discussion with packaging expert Keith Barnes , Chairman of The Institute of Packaging and on the Council of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining or Iom3. He has an incredible materials knowledge and was telling us about a company that is able to put Synthetic DNA onto our personal products for the ultimate in personal security. This tagging has completely fascinated me. 

Part of what we do at SCIN is take a material and look at it laterally. Sometimes this is extremely exciting and others, possibly a bit batty. But it got me thinking… We naturally all started talking about the possibilities of securing your luxury possessions such as your watch but what if this could be used for other security? 

Could you take this, for example, to a school environment? Supposing a child being bullied could have a synthetic DNA on their blazer or shirt and if physically bullied, the perpetrator would get this passed onto them. At the end of the day, anyone with that child’s synthetic DNA could possibly be picked up using UV or simply by passing through a UV light? This probably calls up many objections but interesting idea don’t you think? 


The Green Gym 

A few weeks ago I spent a superb morning having a fairly fierce workout. For 2 plus hours I did squats and pull –ups, lunges and biceps. At the end of my time I and a number of others in the Boot Camp had cleared quite a lot of Heathland of Silver Birch Sapplings that would have prevented the Heath from growing. This aerobic workout was thanks to an invitation from James Latham plc the timber distributors who sponsor the National Forest. It was the perfect few hours; convivial company, hard work and good environmental results. I realized that for the hours spent in the gym, there is an opportunity to explore other ways of getting fit and this is one very rewarding option.

So, here is a call to all and especially the trainers that motivate; Why not establish The Green Gym? – an opportunity to combine a run/workout with work on the land I spent my time at Hicks Lodge, Willesley, Woodside Leicestershire and in the 1980’s it had been a mining landscape, denuded of habitation. Today it is a nature reserve with walks and cycle tracks, and fishing. There is no evidence of its former servitude. It is clean and bright and growing into a beautiful spot to enjoy. Big thanks to Latham’s and in particular the National Forest for including me and opening my eyes . I am glad that I burnt a few calories and stretched a few muscles pulling up Saplings.

Anthony Roussel launches his surface design brand; Atelier Anthony Roussel

For the London Design Festival 2014, Anthony Roussel launches his surface design brand; Atelier Anthony Roussel. This is his long-term vision since his debut as a jewellery artist in 2007. He incorporates his signature wood layering technique to create beautiful intricate surfaces for high-end interiors.

Since graduating from the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, Anthony has gone onto establish himself as a leading emerging British designer. He has won some of the most prestigious awards and exhibited internationally. His work is in private collections as well as museums. He has been featured in Elle Decoration, Vogue, Marie Claire, Wallpaper, Architectural Digest, The Financial Times & many more.

The Atelier is based in London. We welcome the possibility of working with prospective clients on exciting surface led projects. We tailor a service aimed at the individual needs of a client so that each commission is unique. Our aim is to work harmoniously with existing architecture and interior design by responding to an environment with stunning surfaces. We design our patterns in-house and then apply them to wooden panels in sculptural relief form. We will also be  releasing furniture and lighting.

As a jewellery artist, Anthony’s creative process dealt with adorning a body, the atelier essentially continues this way of thinking by treating domestic and commercial spaces in the same way.

Atelier Anthony Roussel aims to be recognised as a leading British design brand, innovatively working with wood and cutting edge technologies. Sustainability and ethical supply chains are a defining aspect of our brand principles

Labopull: a new life for old sweaters


Sonja de Monchy and Alice Egler, are two French designers that are passionate about color and textiles. Labopull is the result of their search for new and exciting materials. It is the reflection of deep look into recycling and a proposal on how to connect creativity to the environment.

The starting point was to find ways to reuse discarded wool garments; sweaters in particular. The knitted wool is given a new life, by reshaping it into sound and thermic insulating material for interiors and furniture. Labopull is a “sweaters laboratory” that works in three directions.

  • A materials library that classifies various material principals and contains two product collections
  • Bricks for space divisions or wall coverings
  • Floor and wall tiles


The two designer´s aim is to enhance the natural properties and qualities of the material, through the transformation process. They concentrate particularly on yarns such as wool, mohair, cashmere, angora, and surface qualities such as stripes, jacquard, knits and tones. They also like to play around with sensorial properties like density, softness, elasticity, capillarity, thermal and sound insulation.

Labopull: old sweaters transformed into felt

Labopull: old sweaters transformed into felt

The final product was limited by the donated garments condition. The size and color of the sweaters was imposed and proved to be a challenge to overcome. However, due to all these limitations, the creative process produces great graphic & formal results. A beautiful harmony is created combining the colors that came from the out-of-fashion garments, while tie and dye effects enhance the whitest tones. Playing with the stripes created from the darkest & lightest tones offer a graphic effect with a strong decorative appeal.And the gradient effect brings out the knitting details and strong capillarity property of wool fibers.

Labopull is an innovative project that reminds us of the beauty that is held in our waste, and the amazing potential of a «design thinking approach» in our consumption society.

Labopull floor tiles

Labopull floor tiles

Labopull: the bricks are used as office dividers

Labopull: the bricks are used as office dividers

The Wonders of Paper Yarn

Traditionally Japan has been master in the craft of paper, however the production in Japan had begun to decline in the last century due to the high demand for newer man made fibres. 

But paper yarn is making a comeback as the design world is constantly looking for materials that have a crafty feel, are natural and that exude warmth and quality.  Paper fabrics are well loved for their breathabilty, functionality, lightness and beauty. I love the texture, the look and the feel of paper as yarn. 

Here are some interesting projects out there using paper yarn:



After years of experimenting and experiencing the unique qualities of paper, paper yarns and paper twines, PaperPhine was founded in 2009 by LINDA THALMANN. Paperphine strives to find interesting ways to bring paper to the spotight, by reviving old techniques and adding innovation to the design.

One of her recents works, is a stunning combination of lovely merino wool and her georgeous paper yarn. Together she felts them to create an original felted piece with texture and character. Her original idea was to upholster some stools, but as it usually happens during the creative process she ended up with a wide range of beautiful surface structures.

How did Linda achieve this effect? First she put the paper yarn loosely onto the wool, before felting. Expecting the wool to swallow the thin paper strands, she was surprised as she soon found out that the paper actually hovers at the surface, and as the wool shrinks it pulls the paper in interesting patterns.

The result is a different and textured material that also is also sturdy and warm. 

Felted merino wool and paper yarn by Paperphine

Felted merino wool and paper yarn by Paperphine

Felted merino wool and paper yarn by Paperphine

Felted merino wool and paper yarn by Paperphine



Artist Ivano Vitali turns recycled newspapers into strands that he then twists into balls of yarn. No other process is need to produce his working material. Ivano makes his textile art and fashion by crocheting the paper yarn using his custom-made wooden knitting needles and hooks. They can be as long as 8 feet. In his own words:

I twist newspapers into threads with endless combinations of thicknesses and colours. These threads are gathered into skeins, reels and balls, and then, using traditional techniques such as knitting, crochet and weaving are crafted into unique, unrepeatable works, both poor and precious at the same time.
Ivano Vitali - Gomitolo 2005  Corrire dei Piccoli 1970    Paper ball Ø 30 cm - Yarn Ø 1 cm

Ivano Vitali - Gomitolo 2005  Corrire dei Piccoli 1970  

 Paper ball Ø 30 cm - Yarn Ø 1 cm


Woodnotes uses paper yarn in a contemporary way for functional textiles. This material is used in all of their unique and timeless products. They reflect the heritage and tradition of the Finish culture and design by using its characteristic raw materials; wood and paper. Founded in 1987, by textile designer Ritva Puotila and her son Mikko Puotila, their search is for “ simplicity, harmony and functionality”.

Woodnotes’ paper yarn products are biodegradable, and their white paper is produced without chlorine gas. The dyes used to colour the yarn contain neither halogen-organic compounds nor heavy metals. It has has been spun from durable heavyweight paper that can be recycled or burned to produce energy. Paper is both hygienic and safe. Due to the density of the fibers, paper yarn collects neither dust nor dirt – an important property, especially for those who suffer from allergies.

Seaborn.. Design Ritva Puotila  

Seaborn.. Design Ritva Puotila



HABU TEXTILES is more than just a brand. The care and the attention given at every stage of the process of making their yarn is reflected in the unique and beautiful products that they create.

 They believe in making “slow” materials, unconventionally pretty, and delicate, they bring soul to the fabric made from it. It is more than a look, it is a lifestyle.

HABU has travelled and searched for years for the right materials. They are rare to find and unique, that´s what makes them so special.

Their paper yarn is one of their specialties,taken from the long Japanese tradition. Sandwiched  between the linen paper is a nylon core that makes the yarn strong and durable.  Depending on how it is used it can create a variety of effects.  It can be transformed into garments but also great for accessories such as handbags.

Paper Moire. "It looks like a snow flake when knitted in a large needle."

Paper Moire. "It looks like a snow flake when knitted in a large needle."

Windhoek sound insulation tiles

Windhoek is a sound insulation tile. The insulation is brought to the wall´s surface, controlling the acoustic of the space creating a fully functional piece of surface design. But Windhoek also takes you on a colorful journey that will awaken your senses .The raw textures that decorate the tiles are full of life and emotion while the rhythm of the prints will actually make you want to dance. It will make you feel you are taking in a little bit of Africa, there is an undeniable energy coming out of these tiles.

Marta  Velasco Velasco, an artist and designer, developed them inspired by the landscape of Namibia. She soon learnt that recycling and reusing are a part of their tradition and set off to develop the Windhoek Sound Tiles with recycled denim sound insulation, a material usually installed in wall cavities, hidden from view. The challenge was to use this sustainable material without that being the main characteristic of the product and readapting it in a different context without looking out of place or losing its properties.

The malleability of the material has been explored further, with possible alternative uses including furniture design and fashion.

The personality of her bespoken tiles is achieved by screen printing  patterns picked up by the artist as she learnt more about the Namibian culture. This is how she describes it,

Windhoek project is a journey through extreme landscapes, bizarre post colonisation traces, people with extraordinary costumes and abandoned German towns in the middle of the Namib desert, all wrapped with almost magical stories about the diamond mining in the early 20th C.
Windohoek tile
Windohoek tiles 2