Guided by Slow Design principles, we believe that the integrity of the process is as important as the quality of the end product. We carefully source everything that goes into our products, and favour natural and organic materials that are environmentally sustainable. In terms of manufacturing, we prefer small batch production and try to recycle waste materials into new products. A sense of social and ecological responsibility guides us in working directly with crafts people, small-scale workshops and NGOs.
If the time spent researching and developing our products has taught us anything, it is the importance of questioning every step along the way. In doing so, we often find that there is no such thing as an ideal manufacturing process. Even so-called ‘ethical’ processes and materials often have their disadvantages or limitations. It is important to take the time to understand the nuances and wider context when making our choices. We are always striving to find the right balance and this often means allowing for the necessary time required to get there.
We love working with natural dyes, for instance, as they have many advantages over conventional synthetic dyes. But we also know there can be a downside to them as well – they generally require a lot of land and water to grow. So it’s a question of scale. It wouldn’t be feasible for natural dyes to replace synthetic dyes completely as there is simply not enough land available. This is why we also choose to work with GOTS low impact and azo-free dyes, as well as natural dyes, in our products.
The choice between handcraft and mechanical processes is another example. We value the skill and dignity of artisanal work, but we also believe that technology and mechanization have an important role to play. Both handcraft and mechanical processes have their strengths – it need not be one or the other.
At Studio Tolsta we believe in diverse small scale production. We pay great care and attention to the details of how a product is made, in the hope that it will be with you for a long time.