While we stock globally recognised brands, we also love to support local makers here at the coop. One of which is The Phantom Workshop. The Phantom Workshop is the brand created by Rachel Gretton, our very own co-op member. We tore her away from her desk in the online team to ask her a few questions:
WHAT SORT OF THINGS DO YOU MAKE?
The idea behind the Phantom Workshop, was that everything created in it is either upcycled, recycled, repurposed or remade. Not everything is bicycle based, although the majority of it is. As the remit of ‘recycled’ is pretty wide, I end up making all sorts of things, from handbags to dreamcatchers and even sprocket monsters!
WHEN DID YOU START THE PHANTOM WORKSHOP?
I’ve always been a bit crafty (in more ways than one!), so have always been drawing or making things. I actually have a degree in design crafts gathering dust somewhere! The first recycled bike thing I made was when I upgraded the chainset on my mountain bike, and simply thought that there had to be something else I could do with it rather than just throw it away. Bizarrely the first idea that popped into my head was to make a chainring oil-burner! That was more years ago than I care to count, but I still have it and use it. I received so many compliments from everyone who saw it, that I started to make more. Then people started bringing me their bike bits and asking me to make them something out of it!
For years I dabbled making things, going to the odd market or event, doing commissions etc. I have slowly started to make more and more, and then I moved house! Suddenly I had a craft room for just making, and now that’s where all my spare time is spent just seeing what I can make out of random bits! A friend once gave me the challenge of making something fabulous out of a pedal spindle, and I have to admit I’m struggling on that one still, but plant pots, jewellery, dreamcatchers and plant jewellery are just some of the things I’ve come up with.
WHERE DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME THE PHANTOM WORKSHOP?
The Phantom Workshop was born when my young son asked why Mummy keeps going into the phantom zone? A huge fan of Batman, particularly the lego version, his 3 year old mind had decided that the ladder up to the loft, where my craft room is, simply had to be the phantom zone up there! (You need to see the movie!) The name stuck, and The Phantom Workshop came into being!
HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM?
I make everything by hand, and as everything is a retired part, that includes the gruelling cleaning process which feels like it takes forever! The parts are all from retired bikes or parts which are heading for the scrap heap.