The Art of Scavenging « Canning Town Caravanserai

The Art of Scavenging

We are not a charity. We are upcylcers! The materials we use are those that don’t have any commercial value – they must not be for sale or trade. We are always on the lookout for unused materials, not because of low quality but because of a premature commercial death.
I am a scavenger. I have to put my hands on materials that at the end of their commercial life, and before the structural quality is effected (shredded, cut into pieces or exposed to the weather). This window of action is very tight and the targets are skip yards, demolition sites and any temporary structure using new timber (For example: exhibitions, building sites etc.)
When I visit a place that seems promising, my first intention is to meet the right person. Who is responsible for the materials, but most importantly, who is more likely to help us. In my experience, they are not always the same person!

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

 I always recommend meeting people, showing a face, a smile and all the pro-activity of a builder! I must always be clear and confident about the project,  as the context of ‘Flitched’ is not common to everybody and could be confusing. The confidence has to come with a solid speech.
I have less than 2 minutes to explain; who I am, what the Carvanaserai is, the #Flitched building, what we are doing and why we are doing it, and then another 10 seconds to give an idea of what we are looking for in terms of materials. The trick is to give an idea of what we need without being fussy and getting straight to the point. If I am too exigent in terms of length, section, quality, it would be too much information and the challenge to find the right materials might seem impossible. It is good to leave some uncertainty… but not too much! If I am too vague and say that anything would help, I end up with small sections, short lengths, and damaged elements and there is no room on the #Flitched site for that!
One key that will open doors and minds: “We do with what we have, we don’t look for what we need. How can you help us? ”
by Antoine Carrier
@carrier_antoine