Rachel Bending is the creative force behind Bird Textiles, and is a pioneer in environmentally conscious and sustainable work practices. Originally from the UK, she studied textile design at the famous Glasgow School of Art in the 1990s, and then emigrated to Australia in 2001.
Rachel first established herself with a business called Slingfings in 2002, which used recycled and reclaimed vintage fabrics, and was powered using solar panels and an old car battery. Slingfings was recognised in 2004 as Australia’s first climate neutral business.
Rachel then went on to establish Bird Textiles in 2006, which has as one of its core values to use the most up to date environmental practices and materials as possible. It currently uses all solar power, and has a 100% climate neutral business practice. Besides the energy they consume in-house, they also take into account the energy used in areas outside the business, such as fuel used in inward freight of raw materials and the distribution of the finished products, and negate this by purchasing renewable energy in wind farms and solar plants.
All the textiles for Bird are designed in Byron Bay and handprinted using water-based dyes on certified organic cotton. They now also produce a range of garments, homewares, and giftwares, and these products are all handmade using solar power. And earlier this year, Little Bird, Little Bird was launched, which makes bespoke and limited edition organic children’s wear.
Besides her businesses, Rachel Bending is also an educator, giving seminars, studio visits, and guest speaking on numerous panels and symposiums. And she became a new mum last year, AND has built her own straw bale house in Byron Bay. Phew!
Notably, garments from Slingfings and Bird Textiles were purchased by the Powerhouse Museum for their permanent collection in 2006. Bird was also selected by Austrade to represent Australia at event G’Day USA in 2007.
Rachel and her businesses have had significant media attention over several years, including Time Magazine, Marie Claire, and Home Beautiful. It is utterly deserved and I congratulate her on her amazing achievements.