Reused bamboo kayak build

Bamboo kayak: from firewood to floating!

LOCATION

Danshan Chishui, Siming Mountains, Ningbo China

ABOUT THE PROJECT

This isn’t a step- by- step guide to building a bamboo kayak, as if anyone wants to build one, you can basically make it up as you go along- that’s what we did!

We had a couple of temporary bamboo structures to dismantle (click here for Bamboo Pod #1 and Bamboo Pod #2 coverage), which had been a design and build exercise for students. This left us with a lot of weathered bamboo to play with, so we decided to make a kayak.

Dismantling Bamboo Pod #2
Dismantling Bamboo Pod #2’s base

Video: cleaning dismantled materials

When bamboo has been exposed to nearly a year of rain, snow, sun and wind, it becomes very hard but quite brittle. For the curves we needed for the kayak however, it was fine. There are numerous ways of making the joints- peg and dowel, hemp/ plant-based epoxy lugs, etc. but time was a factor for us and this was only a prototype, so we used plastic zip ties, insulation tape and steel fencing wire.

Cleaned dismantled materials ready to be re-used
The upside- down kayak- in progress
Taping sharp edges
Final shape of the frame
Hung frame ready to be wrapped

The skin, again for expedience, was cling film (aka Saran wrap). This is cheap, lightweight, and self-amalgamating to a degree so all we had to do was wrap the whole thing a few times, then cut a hole in the deck to get into the kayak. It was a quick and relatively easy process. We hung the frame between two trees and just span the whole frame to wrap it. We’d estimate the total amount of plastic in this build to be in the order of 100 grams or so, so it’s not ideal but not too extreme.

Video: wrapping the skin

Wrapped kayak, ready to be tested

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

A more sustainable build would be to use the joining methods outlined above and a natural covering- our version 2 will be skinned with hemp cloth, which is of course not even slightly waterproof, impregnated with epoxy for waterproofing. The native Americans would use birch bark, which we don’t have access to, and the Inuit would use animal skins (which we’re not convinced of the sustainability of in our context, since we have different constraints).

First trial on the water, bamboo paddle was yet to be made

We’re not kayak specialists by any means, and we’ve never made one before, so naturally enough- mistakes were made and lessons were learned. With Matt’s 86kg+ (ahem!) weight, the freeboard was too low, about 40-50mm (this is the height from the waterline to the top of the deck, where water could slosh in). The next one will be taller and more voluminous. However, it was stable, tracked straight (despite the deck being a bit warped), and light to paddle.

Ben tested it with the bamboo paddle. Pic courtesy of Milly

Video: Milly had a try. Video courtesy of Ben

Big thanks to Cai-cai, Lucky and the Persimmon team whom always welcome and facilitate our crazy ideas. Persimmon in Danshan Chishui is our second home in China. We cycle/hike/camp often around this area, it is 60km away from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China where our China home is. Easily accessible on our bikes.


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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KALA x Gwen: Turn and re-use glass jars into soy wax candles

Giving your used glass jars some extra life!

At this beginning of 2021, we are celebrating craftsmanship by initiating four collaborations with local artisans in Ningbo, China. One of the four is Gwen, a Ningbo based candle maker. We are launching our joint initiative to re-use glass jars. I am pretty sure you will echo this sentiment of not enough projects to re-use the empty glass jars (apart from your favourite jam, pickles, sundried tomatoes, peanut butter, and many more). Well, I do.

It all clicked when I met Gwen (阿滚), the idea of giving more life (many more because you can keep sending them to us!) to these glass jars seem to resonate with both of us. In particular, it also ticks this idea of small steps towards more sustainable living in the most attainable form, the design language that KALA uses in each of our product. Now allow us to present the initiative we have been brewing for the last week or so.

Add Mia’s WeChat to get the delivery details and confirm your order. You can send us your jars (ideally labels will have been peeled and cleaned), and we’ll do the magic. You might want to wait for a bit as we’ll do them in batches of 5 jars to do it more efficiently. Prices can be found in the graphic below and delivery back to you is included.

An introduction about Gwen can be found in subsequent article.

Also if you have been practicing this DIY in your leisure time, do feel free to share to us your DIY tips. We would love to hear from them.

Important note: only for Shanghai and Zhejiang areas. Unless you have a big batch (>10) coming to us, it is not exactly environmentally friendly to ship them from all over the country- perhaps consider saving them up and doing a bulk order with your friends!

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English :  https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/awUP2E4j81Ll1SGBUsJnag

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/58wkn2k00SSiLSXxul36zQ


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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KALA x Pan Xiao Xing: “Cro-net” bag

ABOUT ‘CRO-NET’ BAG

In a previous article (click here), we introduced the nature of our collaboration. There is a wee bit about Pan Xiao Xing, how we met, design processes including our prototyping stage. In this article I would like to reveal a glimpse of how the final products look. We were thinking about bold colours to distinguish from other produce net bags. The bamboo handles serve as homage to the other KALA products which are mostly made of bamboo or other natural materials.

Using chain stitch (abbreviated in patterns as “ch”) technique using a 7mm diameter needle, these chains allow V stitches to occur. The three-dimensional form is achieved through crossing the stitches. Made of cotton yarn, the stitched mesh has a stretchy property. This in turn creates a unique affordance for the produce bag. They stretch as we put in more weight. The bag is ideal for medium and larger- sized fruits as the openings are bigger than usual net bags and as such, they are less recommended for smaller items such as mini carrots or cherry tomatoes without putting them in another small produce bag (ideally paper or washable cotton), as they will find their way out of the bag.

It is something we want to hear your opinions about, so please make sure send us your thoughts about the bag via email ( [email protected]) or drop a line to Mia via WeChat (QR as follows).

You can also find this writing in our official WeChat account.

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/GL1xazlSTvsnluQksv2dew

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Uk-T6E2aKd58w0TZ9quYZg


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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KALA x Pan Xiao Xing: about the collaboration

The first of four KALA collaborations with local artisans in 2021.

I met Pan Xiaoxing (潘小星) at the Ningbo Coffee Festival in December and she was one of the vendors. I don’t possess skills related to knitting needles (or crotchet hooks), it always piques my interest. This was not long after our KALA brand in Indonesia (run by my baby sister) did collaborations about personalised Christmas hampers with a crotchet maker, a macrame maker, and an artisanal baker. Suddenly it clicked. I showed Pan what we do in Indonesia, our special Christmas theme crotchet work, and we exchanged contacts.

The honour is KALA’s to be collaborating with her and we also want to learn from her. The intricacy of crotchet to create three dimensional objects amazes me. Selected products from Pan will be available on the KALA platform.

Cro-net on prototyping stage, we tested on fruits and vegs

We also want to practice good collaborative work and share the idea of co-creating. Together we create new products which reflect both design principles and directions, be they KALA’s and Pan’s. For instance, our first co-creation is the crotchet produce bags with bamboo handles and shoulder straps. We call them “Cro-net bag”. The produce bags are great substitutes for plastic bags for groceries. Cro-net is distinctive (made of crocheted natural materials which are worked by hand) and you can switch between the bamboo handles and shoulder straps easily according to your needs. And this bag, I am sure, is just the beginning of our collaboration.

Cro-net highlights KALA’s small steps to promote more sustainable living and at the same time it highlights Pan’s exquisite crotchet techniques. They are handcrafted, each one of them by Pan. Final products options are blue and green.



Pan hand crafting Cro-nets (the Crotchet Net produce bags)

ABOUT PAN XIAO XING

The brand was created in 2013 and it started with coffee and craft shops. As a hobby, Pan likes to make all kind of hand crafts including weaving, wood art, cloth art etc. She likes to hand create. In the last two years gradually the brand becomes a full-time artisanal studio in her hometown Taizhou, Tiantai County.

Pan is taking us to the journey on how to make Cro-net, from a simple sketch to finished products:



Step-by-step making processes

Due to the artisanal nature of the product, we are launching the first few through Mia (Wechat ID: miatedjosaputro), or scan her QR code as follow. Available in GREEN and BLUE. They are also available in Weidian.

You can also view this article in our official WeChat account:

For English : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/y-oxoCoZ10oUQ7dthldmtA

For Chinese (中文) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/IDZqyHlnVzy72PjmuMfm-A


ABOUT KALA

KALA was founded by Mia and Elza Tedjosaputro, in May 2020. KALA provides high quality stylish home decor and accessories that highlight a few simple attainable changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. There is always an Indonesian touch ensuring we empower our craftsmen and promote Indonesian culture and craftsmanship. KALA’s specific design language is the use of natural materials and artisanal, with a sense of play of texture and product functionality. We are based in Indonesia and China.

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Merry Christmas 2020!

How time flies! Aksen and KALA (our product design line) would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. What a year been for Aksen, through the ups and downs. But we maintain a high spirit in this festive season. I hope you are spending it with your loved ones, and have a fantastic 2021!

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Batik for Christmas

Batik uses a wax-resist dyeing process to produce patterns and colours, is a traditional Indonesian craftsmanship/ After an online training with Luki a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make something Chrismast related to put my knowledge into practice. Fast forward a week, I managed to visualise my design in three countries: the UK, China and in Indonesia. Printed locally in each country and shipped domestically so it is more environmentally friendly.

The two design have turned into: fleecy blanket, canvas panting and summer scarves. Here is what I received in China, felling chuffed to wear my own design. Design by me for KALA, our product design line.

Merry Christmas!

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KALA: Christmas Hampers +62

Delivery in Indonesia (+62) only.

Hi all, not to scare you off the upcoming Christmas vibe. Just putting it out there in case you need to work on your gift ideas.

KALA is subsidiary brand of Aksen, and it is our product design line. KALA focuses on the use natural materials with Indonesian touch, promoting attainable yet sustainable lifestyle in form of day-to-day products. We design, produce and work with our team of artisans in Magetan.

For our Christmas line, we curated distinctive 5 basic sets allowing for highly personalised hamper sets, in collaboration with 3 local artisans (a baker, macrame maker and crotchet maker).

Basic set (starts from IDR 75k per set) + add-ons you can choose from the list.

Any queries, via WA please drop a line at +62 812 1115 5532 or via a direct message in IG: @kalaartdecor

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Aksen Tiny House: Questionnaire

In Aksen’s design practice we are questioning a lot of what we know as ways of living in Indonesia. We look at customisable first houses, in the spirit of tiny houses. Most suited for individuals (but not limited to) between 20-30 years old. When maximising limited space takes priority. Personal preferences can be your design parameters which we are building an understanding systematically. If you have 10 minutes to spare, please contribute to our survey (only for Indonesians).

Update: on behalf of Aksen, I would like to say massive thank you for those who spent time on answering our questionnaire. We hit our target (and more) in less than two days. This would not happen without help of the community. We now close the data collection earlier than we planned. A sincere thank you from Jessica and myself.

 

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