We continue our series of posts interviewing “recycled art” crafters & artists. This week, we interviewed Jennie Burke from the brand FANTOME as she make beautiful accessories from recycled bike inner tubes. If you think you deserve to be featured in the next interview, please, drop us an email.
Tell us a little more about you? Who you are? Where are you from?
My name is Jennie Burke. I’m a quarter of the brand FANTOME (the little daughter of this family affair :)) and a half of the band KLINK CLOCK (rock duet). I’m from France. I spend my time between Paris’ suburbs where I live and produce my music, and Bordeaux where our FANTOME’s workshop is.
Why do you craft?
Why shouldn’t I? :D I love creating things, can’t do anything against it.
How did you learn?
I always needed to occupy my hands and my mind. Craft is doing both, hurray! My parents are always crafting, they give me the pleasure of it since I’m young! I also attended for some time a French fashion university, but couldn’t stay, didn’t move enough. Sometimes I really want to create, sometimes I’m just curious to know how to do something and somedays i have to fix or do stuff… DIY!
Since when are you working with recycled & upcycled materials?
Teenager, I started to collect everything. Every small piece of paper, every piece of fabrics, every little jar, every little nice piece of wood… and started to make fluffy dolls, animals and guitars: The FluffyJack Dolls.
I stopped wearing leather since 5 years, due to the animal treatment I don’t agree with. It’s not an easy thing. Finding shoes and bags can be a real treasure hunt… You always begin to buy less things because you don’t find what you’re looking for, because of the material, or because of the style.
The inner tube is a very good alternative for bags and accessories, it’s elegant, easy to wash, and for the « re-use » part, it was completely out of mind to use new inner tubes. Our planet is covered with trash… we definitely wanted to do things the best way we could. So we collect the inner tubes near our Bordeaux’s workshop, where everything else is done : washing, sorting, storage and sewing!
What are the specify of working with inner-tubes? Any advice to our reader who would like to work also with inner-tubes?
All our products are made with bicycle inner tubes, which is very different from trucks inner tubes (cars and motorcycles in France don’t use it anymore): it’s thiner and lighter, but difficult to sew ! It took us a while to tame it :) But you can also use it to fix parts together, more like a rope.
Where did you find used inner-tubes for your creations, are they free or did you buy them?
We collect it directly at the repair shops for free. If it wasn’t, FANTOME would not exist. It needs too much preparing time before starting to cut and sew. We can not afford to pay the material, our bags and accessories would be too expensive !
Why the name « FANTOME » which in English means « Ghost »?
We are a french brand and every FANTOME is 100% made in France so we wanted to choose a french word with the spirit of « second life » and which sticks with the dark color of the material.
Have you ever thought to make accessories with other recycled bike parts?
Of course! Giant wheel-dream-catchers! But we have already so much things to work on with FANTOME, we will see this later! We use it in two different ways: the first one is the « sewing » one and we use it for all our bags, cases and purses etc… The second one is the « wickerwork » and we use it for all our baskets.
How would you describe your style? Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
I like our articles to be functional, simple, completely urban, a bit unisex and a little punk by nature.
Vivienne Westwood: never too late!
Amanda palmer: never too creative ;)
Jon Almeda: never too little ;)
What are your can’t-live-without essentials?
A train (or whatever) station and a water stream nearby, cats, good music, the sun and avocados.
What sorts of things are inspiring you right now? Where do you look for inspiration?
People and all what they do are inspiring me just about every day.
We live in such a mass-produced, buy-it-now society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
To learn, create and teach. It’s a simple way for our society to improve. It forgot that it needs both « knowledge » and « know how ». We should try to live slower and better.
What are your tips for people who’d like to start crafting?
Start! Whatever you do, it’s going to be unique, fun and rewarding :) and if it’s not, try it again!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Cheese and beer!
What is your favorite thing to do (other than crafting)?
It depends on the mood … playing music, go for a bicycle ride, go to concerts, read comics, cooking, cat cuddling, hiking, and doing nothing :)
Anything else you would like to tell to the « recycling community »?
Everything is possible thanks to you, curious and conscious crafters! Feel free to share your project with me on facebook, instagram and twitter, it would be a pleasure to discuss about it :)
Have a nice crafting time!
Thanks a lot Jennie for this interview! :)
To find more on the brand FANTOME: