From the designer who dislikes waste, Katcha Bilek presents her collection of stylish & versatile bags & belts, crocodiles & chandeliers, from upcycled, recycled & reclaimed materials.
Katcha began selling her upcycled inner-tube bags in Spain from the late nineties. Living in an out-of-service fire engine as she travelled across Europe, she was regularly found selling them out of the back to passers by!
“They were in demand,” she says, “because they were an intelligent alternative to animal skins, and boring high-street copies and people realised this. The bags and bike tyre belts are robust and versatile – perfect for living on the road, and for an urban lifestyle too.
I think because they are design-led and hand-crafted, people were attracted to them – my methods cut out industrial machinery and any chance of unethical practices. Plus, each piece is completely unique – you might cut the same design from an inner-tube, but the final result will always be slightly different.”
Her designs have an intrinsic element of relaying environmental issues. “Promoting awareness of the environment and of the raw resources and materials we consume daily are essential components in all of my creations.”
Katcha continually expresses her love of design, beauty and originality through transforming discarded materials and objects she finds on a scavenge, fashioning them into useful, well-designed pieces.
Katcha Bilek has also designed some popular upcycled tyre sculptures. But, in true Katcha style, not just any ordinary sculptural design – these are life-sized crocodiles from unwanted tyres!
Her full collection can be viewed at the coexist gallery on Stokescroft, St. Pauls, Bristol. Beware the crocs.