Being environmentally and socially responsible is part of our brand DNA. We always seek new innovative ways to try and reduce our pollutants. With that in mind, we decided to donate our unused swatches and fabrics to Atelier Retailles, a Montreal based paper-making company who upcycles fabric scraps into fine paper.
We had the chance to interview Sophie, founder of Atelier Retailles, for an in depth understanding of how our fabrics were used in their procedures in creating paper.
What is Atelier Retailles?
Atelier Retailles is an inclusive and experimental workshop for developing an artistic practice that explores paper-making. Here, fabric scraps are transformed into fine paper, artists are welcomed and accompanied in the development of large-scale projects, and courses and training are offered to both the initiated and the neophyte. Here, paper is made by hand.
What pushed and motivated you to start this business?
I discovered paper-making in university and wanted to continue exploring with this medium afterwards. Not having found a place in or around Montreal that offered access to the specialized equipment needed for this practice, in 2018 I founded Atelier Retailles to work with other artists to make paper in a responsible, local and exploratory way. My motivation is to share my knowledge of the medium and develop my expertise through collaborations, like with Maison Tess, and diverse projects.
Can you explain to us what are the procedures in creating paper?
Making paper has four main steps:
We sort, cut and weigh the textile material needed to make the pulp. Then, filled with water only, our specialized machine does the grinding work necessary to transform the fabric into a uniform pulp.
Using specialized molds and deckles of different sizes, we form the sheets one by one in a large basin of water and pulp. We lay them one on top of the other, separated by a large cloth, creating a pile of waterlogged sheets.
3.Squeeze the water out of the paper
Using a large hydraulic press, we squeeze the pile of wet sheets to extract the maximum amount of water.
We transfer each sheet one by one to a flat drying system equipped with a fan that allows the paper to dry slowly until it is ready.
Why did you choose to work with Maison Tess.?
Maison Tess shares the same values as we do: eco-responsibility, transparency, slow and careful manufacturing of its products: it goes without saying that we collaborate with local companies that also do their part for the environment.
What does sustainability mean and represent to you?
It's the only way to live and that's it. If a practice is not sustainable or is harmful to the environment, it has no place in our operations. At Atelier retailles, we make a conscious effort to reduce and eliminate residual materials from our production line and work environment. We reclaim water multiple times and have a fluid work system that allows us to move from one production run to the next without washing equipment - reducing waste of water and resources. We work with local textile materials that would otherwise have been sent to landfill, turning an industry's waste into paper. We collaborate with local and sustainable design companies for our tools, our furniture, our packaging, our raw materials: circularity being at the center of our daily practice.
What did you love about working with our products?
The colors! The colors of these fabrics are so vivid and the dyes are so good that the process of turning them into paper was a charm. Really beautiful materials, for us it is a luxury to work with these fabrics!