I create unique solutions to problems.
Waste is a particular passion of mine because it’s a luxury we, as a society, cannot afford. Only a couple of generations back, this problem didn’t exist. My grandparents lived on a farm and taught me that everything can be turned into something else and nothing should be wasted. Up to this day, one of my most prized possessions is a quilt that my great grandmother made from scraps of old clothing.
I grew up in a small town in Western Canada. My neighbourhood had a lot of families with kids and me and my siblings were best friends with everybody. We had quite a feral childhood and were allowed to roam around freely. Our family spent a lot of times outdoors and often went camping. I have wonderful memories of sleeping in a dome tent, swimming in a lake and doing cross-country skiing… My childhood is the main reason I became an environmentalist.
Growing up surrounded by this majestic beauty, it came as a shock to learn that things are different in most of the world. When I was 16, I got a scholarship to finish high school education in Hong King. The contrast was stark: I never lived in such a high charged consumerist society or seen urbanisation of this scale. When you have so many people living in such a close proximity, all the problems multiply. This was when I decided to always work on environmental problems because, frankly, I don’t think there is time for anyone to do anything else.
I met my partner, Elvis, when we both were living in Asia; we had one date and moved in together almost immediately. Our personalities compliment each other perfectly: I express my ideas verbally, but it’s his design talent that turns them into physical objects. Elvis is very organised, ordered and great with logistics – without him, I would always be locked out of the house and, probably, bankrupt.
We both believe that every object deserves a second life. I had an old ring that I inherited from my grandmother; it was missing a jewel and would only fit onto my ring finger. Elvis repaired it with a pearl from my old earring and gave it to me when we got engaged.
We lived in London, then Bournemouth, but I missed seeing the stars at night, so we kept looking for a place to settle. In 2010, we found an old mill in Kent, which was an answer to all our prayers.
We could never afford it done up, so we redecorated the entire place ourselves, using only reclaimed materials. It’s amazing, what people are happy to give away for free and how creative you can be with found objects! When friends ask if we plan to insure it, we often joke that it would cost more than we spent on the place so far!
We don’t really have a work/life balance – we have a life that we share and enjoy together. A lot of people are hesitant about working with their romantic partners, but I have the opposite view on this. I was lucky enough to find the nicest, kindest, funniest, coolest, most intelligent and interesting person, so why would I go and spend most of my time with someone I don’t like half as much as I like Elvis?
Two years ago we rescued a dog, Monty. When we brought him home for the first time, I couldn’t stop crying; I was just so happy, my life seemed too perfect to be real.