Zawadi aka Coleen O’Brien

As a Creative, I enjoy applying my art-form to making a range of patchwork bags, hats and some clothing; wooden and paper beaded jewellery…even expanding into interior design such as paper flooring!

Exploring and incorporating the process of patchwork ignites my imagination each time I embark on a creative project that uses reclaimed resources! It’s usually a very pleasant surprise how the end product actually turns out. It generates a real sense of satisfaction knowing I have made something unique, simple, yet beautiful, from unwanted materials, while lessening the amount of waste that may have otherwise been added to landfill.

The message behind my art-form is that there are so many amazing things we can create – that we can re-craft and build – by embracing and utilising throwaway materials on a much greater scale… from beads to buildings!  And that with practice and experimentation, we can turn re-crafted objects into marketable products.

During my late twenties, I was compelled to make a radical change in my life, which proved fruitful as it taught me how resourceful and creative I am. Stepping out of my comfort zone and diving into unknown territory motivated and inspired me to discover skills I never knew existed.  During this eight year travelling experience I got to know myself better and began to build confidence in my Natural Talents, becoming more self-reliant as each new skill evolved. I began creating out of a need.  It is said Necessity is the Mother of Invention; this statement rings so true in my life.

The two educational institutions in particular that have supported my passion for textiles and fabric art are Montego Bay High School For Girls and more recently Create Your Future Project. At Montego Bay High, I really felt supported by the Needlecraft teacher and this gave me the opportunity to thrive in class. I was an A student. I feel this same level of support and connectedness at Collage Arts.

During a very challenging period while I was married and my children were young, we found ourselves homeless.  After facing rejection repeatedly, we decided due to the need to build a shelter and house ourselves. This shelter emerged from using the local natural and waste materials.  This lead to my discovery that you can utilise shredded paper to make flooring. We have evolved into a new paper flooring technique using brown wrapping paper, white glue and varnish. Leaving your floor with a beautiful and durable finish!

My designs have won awards such as Unltd and British Female Innovators and Inventions Network (BFIIN). I project managed our communal garden space which I transformed into an Award Winning Eco-Garden with my collective The Evolution of Natural Talents (TENT). The space was also designed and built with reusable materials such as tyres, pallets and reclaimed wood; items of which were donated from B & Q and other local companies.  The end result was a front page feature in Sanctuary Housing magazine.

Previously, my products have never been for sale; only used as examples for promoting my message. However, this may all be about to change! I have recently accessed Collage Arts/Talent Match’s Wood Green Urban Regeneration Course where I will have the opportunity to learn how to use Social Media to market a Community-Led Campaign.

In addition to this, I will be attending Create Your Future’s Micro Production and Marketing Course and next year, I intend to organise an event in Celebration of International Women’s Week.

My long-term goal is to do a crowdfunding campaign for my own Social Enterprise to fund the building of TLC (TENT’s Learning Centre) using similar but more advanced natural building methods. TLC’s aim is to provide a space of learning that teaches the Art of Living a more Creative, Conscious and Self-Sustaining Lifestyle, helping to contribute towards re-building our communities home and abroad.

I’d like to finish by sharing our Statement of InTENT:

All the items made with inTENT are unique; no two products are exactly the same! I take pride in their authenticity. This is the essence of TENT; transforming waste materials into something unique, beautiful and durable. We live in a throwaway society – from people to things – TENT however is about Re-educating, Restoring and Re-building!

Rustical Designs

Creative Life Coach


Tel: 0208 350 9717