Argentinian-born maker Natalia Lombardo is the face behind Felt shop Velo. Settling in Aotearoa four years ago, after four previous years of traveling the world, she now makes Wellington her home and base for producing her beautiful, unusual and eco-friendly jewellery.
galleryWhat do you make?
I make jewellery and bags out of upcycled bike inner tubes and reused fabrics.
How did you get into your craft?
I’ve been working with different upcycled material for years but around three years ago (while researching for the Sustainability Trust on how to reuse unrecyclable materials) I discovered inner tubes and started playing with them. Now I’m loving it!
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied Film and Clothing Design, so not in particular, but I think it gave my design skills that help with my craft.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Bike inner tubes of course, and at the moment I’m playing with combining them with felt as well! My main tools are cutters and individual hole punches, and at the moment I’m very excited to get some new and varied geometric-shaped punches, that will be arriving soon!
What inspires you? Music and daily life, images of beauty.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
It’s all about sustainability, and about creating beautiful things with reused materials; repurposing thing that tend to be considered trash, and saving them from the landfill by giving them a new life.
Describe your workspace:
At the moment it’s at home – and I’m loving how sunny it is in the mornings. I like having all the tools at hand so it tends to be a bit messy, and always full of little bits of rubber from the cuttings.
Five words that describe your mind:
A catalyst for endless possibilities of colourful chaos.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
The best is when they’ve bought from me at a market and later on they order from Felt as gifts for their friends and family.
Recommend an album: Transfiguration of Vincent, by M. Ward.
Anyone that stands against social and environmental injustice and tries to make a change for the best of all.
A favourite quote: Well recently I’ll say… “Think globally, act locally”.
Do you have any pets?
Well I share the house with friends and one of them has a dog friend that lives with us as well, so we get to play a lot. He comes and visits me at my work space all the time and he’s good at encouraging me to take breaks.
What was the last handmade item you bought? A screen printed shopping bag.
If you’d like to meet Natalia you’ll find her at the Underground Market at the Frank Kitts park in Wellington, rain or shine from 10am till 4pm every Saturday until 17 May – and of course you can check out her gorgeous work in her Felt shop anytime.
Natalia has very kindly offered one lucky Felt blog reader the chance to win this pair of striking upcycled inner tube earrings. Just leave a comment below, telling us what inspires you about Natalia’s work and why, and you’ll be in the draw. The draw will be made on Friday 11 April and is open to New Zealand residents only.