Three of Kevin's Green Heroes

The Green Heroes part of Grand Designs Live has become one of our favourite parts of the show. It’s a place where innovation is on show, and the often incredibly clever solutions demonstrate the best of human behaviour.

1. MusicCloth, a hand-woven cloth made of discarded cassette and video tapes

The tapes, which are collected for various sources, and which would otherwise be considered a waste material due to the metallic coatings. It’s woven in a basket weave pattern, which gives it stability and durability and each has its own unique colour and pattern.

MusicCloth - cloth made from old cassette tapes

The resulting material is lightweight, sound absorbing and highly water resistance and has a multitude of uses from the practical to the ornamental, as this picture shows. Also on the stand was a tote bag made from the material, which you can imagine would be super strong and of course, much better than the plastic bags that are still so evident. For more information see

A picture using MusicCloth

2. Eoacoustic material, that’s noise-canceling and based on spruce needles

Yes, intriguing but as Kevin himself likens it to standing in a remote pine forest and experiencing the magical silence, which can be recreated with this product. It’s a name that’s unpronounceable though, which may not help, but the thinking behind it is sound (sorry).

The panels are a natural porous material that absorbs sound reflections, regulates humidity and temperature, and creates a comfortable and healthy atmosphere. You can still see the shape of the needles, and their natural texture remind you of what they’re made from.

eoacoustic materials

There’s much more on their website: and it’s well worth a look, prepare for your mind to be blown!

3. Moss Tiles which encourage moss growth to improve air quality in urban environments

They help absorption of carbon dioxide and so addresses and environmental issue faced by people that live in cities. The tiles are made of terracotta and would be installed on exterior walls in public spaces. The multiple indentations and textured surface are designed to help the moss thrive.

Moss Tiles by Poppy Pippin
naked and mossed moss tiles

These are my favourite so far, not only their design when they’re naked terracotta, but also their touchability when the moss grows. I agree with Kevin, who says they’re “cool, green and tactile.”

There’s more about the tiles, and other projects on the Polly Pippin website:

So all quite different, but all innovative, clever and inspirational. I’ve some more to share from this part of the show, but as you’d expect, there’s also plenty more photos to edit.


Love This #84: Spools and wooden shoe forms

This month’s Love This post is also from last year’s Grand Designs Live and was right alongside the lovely radiators I shared before. You can just imagine my joy, and MOH’s despair as he tried to move me along without leaving with either any of these, a radiator or even any of the tiles.

Sometimes he has a tough job… But luckily for my purse he’s often there to do it.

Though these wooden spools or bobbins, would look great wouldn’t they as a ornament? And not just in a craft room, although they’d look great there I think they’d work in almost any room, and bring their character to the space. I”m sure they’d be a talking point too.

Wooden spools
top down view of the wooden bobbins

I managed to leave without any, but I’ve made a mental note - and now a blog note - to add them to my virtual wish list. If I see any when I’m out and about that are reasonably priced then leaving them there might be a completely different proposition. I think I was distracted though, by these.


Wooden shoe forms. I’m well known for being a bit of shoequeen, so it makes sense to be curious about these too. They are fascinating and beautiful in their own right, and again would make an unusual addition to a display area. And they really do make you think about how shoes are - and used to be - made.

The lights too are where it got interesting, as that’s where MOH and I swap roles. He would easily have left with even more than these - we saw plenty of vintage lights at the show - and that’s even before we saw this one:

A vintage industrial light

We both almost wavered, but practicality - and lack of space - won again. For now.

Geometric and encaustic tiles at Grand Designs Live

I’ve said before that Grand Designs Live, and in fact any show is a treat for the senses, and can provide complete overload as well as the inspiration you might be after. Or both. And sometimes, like anything, it takes a while for the brain to process it all. There’s so much to see, that it means very tired legs at the end of it after trying to see everything, and MOH will tell you I try my best to see just about everything.

At times though there’s things that just make you stop and smile. And yearn for a Victorian style property that has a short path in the front garden that could be tiled, or better has the hallway that you could lavish tiles such as these on.

Terracotta tiles inset with yellow flower motifs

But first, let me tell you about encaustic tiles - a term i’d not heard of before. They’re simply ceramic tiles where the pattern is made of different coloured clay, rather than being part of the glaze. Usually they have two colours, but can have up to six colours, and the image below shows some good examples of these, and they’re stunning aren’t they?

encaustic tiles to rival those from Portugal

You’ll probably have seen them before though, even walked on them I’m sure, as they’re often embedded into designs with geometric designs.

A traditional pattern using geometric and encaustic tiles

And of course, there’s plenty of designs. This one definitely has the feel of a patchwork quilt pattern - I wonder what came first, the tile pattern or the quilt?

Star tiles that almost look like a patchwork quilt

And if you’re thinking that all of these are very traditional, then think again. This smaller pattern has a much more modern feel and in a modern setting, say a bathroom with a crittall-type shower enclosure and black fittings would look stunning, and bring the traditional and contemporary styles together.

A smaller pattern brings a more modern feel

They also give the tiles I’ve shared from Porto a run for their money too, don’t they?