Have the audacity to think big
“After the astonishment, came the questions: why, how, when and then curiosity had just set in motion the small engine of finding solutions.”
In my work I always answer personalized requests and custom orders. The goal of requesting a designer’s services is to obtain non-standard products that match the needs of the customer. I am usually called to provide my services as an interior designer, seamstress or textile artist.
During the winter of 2019, I received a call for a rather special request: “Could you help us make a soccer net with recycled jerseys? After the astonishment, came the questions: why, how, when and then, curiosity had just set in motion the small engine of finding solutions.
BMO, the main sponsor of the Montreal Impact soccer team, initiated a project for fans by swapping their favorite team’s old jerseys for brand new ones. Thinking wisely, with community sharing and local development values, BMO wanted to give the fans their jerseys back in another form. They had the idea to transform the old jerseys into soccer nets and give them to Montreal parks to allow young players to develop their passion for the sport. This idea made its way up to me.
Thus began this great experience that took me out of my comfort zone and brought me into a field of exploration very different from my usual work. The singularity of the project itself, the challenge it represented and the values it supports won me over. My knowledge in the sphere of design and object creation, as well as in the field of textiles, allowed me to initiate the research process with ideas for solutions to propose.
After the first tests and trials, I provided samples made from different techniques. One of the samples was chosen to develop the most appropriate technique for this transformation. When we work on a creation that we have never done before, we can think of a way of doing things, but only when we make it do we truly see if the idea holds the road. Then come the surprises and difficulties that we did not think of.
After the first conclusive trial, it is necessary to think about the project as a whole and ask questions about how to achieve it. The amount of material needed, the time required to complete the project, and the necessary space will cause the project to continue or to fail. It’s one thing to make a small sample, it’s another to make a real size soccer net. A reduced-scale prototype of the net enabled the product to be seen on a larger surface than the initial samples, test the manufacturing method and correct the errors.
To make several nets, even by hand on an artisanal scale, we had to make special tools to work in larger quantities and a little faster. I then developed the design of the nets so that they could fit two types of soccer goals we can see in the parks of Montreal. The making of each of net required several jerseys and hundreds of hours of work. I had to teach the production method to a work team, mostly fashion students.
The unveiling of the first nets took place on July 16 at St-Donat Park in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal, where two nets were installed on their magnificent soccer field. Additional nets will be installed in other parks eventually.