Inside The New Shopping Bag: The Leftover series – Foekje Fleur

From time to time we ask users of The New Shopping Bag about their life. In the light of our new ‘Leftover’ collection, a collection entirely made of leftover fabric from previous collections, we are doing a series of ‘Inside The New Shopping Bag’ in which we focus on creatives and makes that reuse material to create something new.

In this edition we give you a peek in the life and mind of Foekje Fleur, the designer well known for her brilliant and colourful bottle vases. Recently Foekje worked on a soap dish/grate (as she calls it herself), made from recycled plastic soap bottles that were collected by the residents of Rotterdam.

Describe yourself in three words.
A restless soul.

Where are you now?
I’m in my brand new studio, watching my chickens in the garden. Whenever they walk by, my heart skips a beat, they’re so cute.

Tell us something about you and The New Shopping Bag.
I got my first bag around 2006 and have bought a new one about once a year ever since. Not because they were broken – I still use all of them – but because a new bag in fresh colours looks and feels so good. I’m sure no other IT-bag can beat that.

Tell us something about Susan.
Susan’s very caring. When I worked in the Susan Bijl store, Susan and husband Vincent would make the lunch; a three-course organic meal for everyone working there. You have to remember that a typical Dutch office lunch is a simple cheese-sandwich, brought from home!

What role does sustainability play in your work?
It’s my foremost motivator; I hope my work will somehow contribute to a better world, or at least not make the situation worse. For example my most recent project; a soap dish/grate made from recycled plastic that promotes (home detergent) soap bars in order to use less plastic bottles.

What ecological measures would you take if you ruled the world?
I’d ban plastic packaging. My own plastic consumption annoys me a lot, it’s so hard to avoid it at the supermarket. For my latest project, I’ve been looking into plastic recycling and see that it’s possible, however packaging is pretty difficult to recycle – there are so many different types of plastic that need to be sorted, and even worse – all of them need cleaning.

Don’t get me wrong, plastic’s brought many positive things to the modern world and added loads of comfort to our daily lives. But we took it too far when we started using it for packaging everything. I’m sure we can still really reduce our use of plastic and with modern technology and techniques, we can come up with other, better solutions.

For example, I recently started ordering supermarket deliveries at home, which is pretty efficient by the way, and started paying a deposit for the plastic crates that are picked up with the next delivery. Wouldn’t it be perfect if all packaging were handled this way? The logistics are already in place and up and running!

How do you brighten up your existence?
I’m a pretty serious person; taking it easy doesn’t come naturally to me. By surrounding myself with nice materials, colours, odd objects, toys, art etc., I create my own moments of distraction where I can relax, sit back and simply enjoy them. I guess this makes me a materialist, huh?

What part does colour play in that process?
Colour ‘s extremely important, both in my work and in my private life. I try to pick colours in such a way that they can influence our mood, subtly: they shouldn’t be too bright, they shouldn’t take over. In my work I use colour secretly, as a trap; I try to hide serious subjects under layers of pretty colour.

Which music have you been listening to recently?
I’m lazy when it comes to music, I just open my FunX player and switch between the reggae, hiphop and Rotterdam channel. I prefer listening to spoken podcasts such as Radiodoc, 99% invisible and anything by David Sedaris.

What is your biggest loss?
Whenever I learn a new technique I get creative in a playful way. This is usually the moment when I create better work. Whenever I start to master that technique only a bit, I start seeing more difficulties and barriers, and lose the ability to make something spontaneous and wild. I’ll just have to keep on exploring new techniques forever I guess.

What is your ultimate destination?
My goal is to grow super old, together with my boyfriend Marcel, and watch the world become a more balanced place to live in.

Photography: Jan Bijl

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