Charis has established a reputation for designing & making quirky yet functional works of art from trash, well some people would call it trash, Charis turns it into Treasure!
The work she is most proud of to date are her mannequin lamps, and other useful body parts. There are many more idea’s where they came from, she is ever evolving & so is her work.
Charis been given the title ‘The Salvage Sister’ by Channel 4, she is the salvage expert & designer on their new prime time four part TV show ‘Kirstie Allsopp’s Fill Your House for Free’ which starts at 8pm on the 23rd July 2013. Tune in to see Charis Skip diving, salvaging, reclaiming, bartering & up cycling.
The Salvage Sister is extremely passionate about saving furniture, textiles & raw materials from landfill, she does this by making the undesirable & unwanted desirable again. She uses her eye for colour, pattern, shape, design, her creative flare & self taught know-how to drag the old & haggard into this Century.
Charis was first seen on our screens in 2011 as the presenter & designer on The New Reclaimers on UKTVhome, which was a makeover series with a difference. The raw materials, furniture & home furnishings used in the homes were sourced much cheaper than their usual RRP. Charis found these items by buying second hand from reuse centres, charity shops and discounted & discontinued lines. She also up cycled old unwanted items of furniture & home wares to give the family’s the beautiful, yet functional rooms they had always dreamed of.
So how did Charis come to be The Salvage Sister I hear you ask…
Charis’ father was born in 1936 and grew up through World War 2, during food & textile rations. This had a profound effect on Mr Williams who grew into a very waste conscious man, and has been known to ration toilet paper, among other essentials… not his most liked trait by his teenage daughters as they grew up! He also ran his own painting & decorating business which where Charis learnt a great deal about DIY & giving interiors a professional finish.
Her Mother, Mrs Williams started up ‘Revamp Fancy Dress’ in a back street of Brighton’s cosmopolitan North Laine when Charis was just five years old. The destined Salvage Sister accompanied her Mother to several car boot sales every Sunday looking for vintage & retro clothing, shoes & accessories. They also went on regular trips to Amsterdam to find one of a kind vintage 1960’s & 70’s clothing & platforms to hire in the shop. Charis gained her bargain spotting eye & learnt how to barter with the best… her Mum.
The family also dressed themselves & their home in items bought from boot sales, charity shops & on their travels. Charis has never known any different & is often found hunting around boot sales & charity shops in pursuit of beautiful quality items that were once expensive. She say’s ’’Anyone can buy something cheap and substandard cheap… the trick is to find an expensive good quality item cheap, that is what I love, that is what makes me tick’’.
Charis ran a reclamation yard in Brighton from 2008 to 2010, although the yard differed from most reclamation yards which usually cater to the older, historic & rare-er building materials with high monetary value. The business picked up unwanted building materials for free from massive contraction sites across the South East, such as Berkley Homes. These materials had been over ordered, which is common practice in the construction industry as they have to account for damage & theft. When the development is completed the left over materials are in the way & actually cost the firms money to dispose of, so they were happy for them to be removed free of charge & for Charis to resell at a discounted amount. This saved local builders cash & saved the materials from landfill. The construction industry represents almost 35% of all the waste produced in the UK each year, that’s around 100 million tons of construction waste annually. And around 13% of that are brand new materials that have never been used.
Charis realised how many resources were being wasted while running the yard & decided to campaign for awareness. She was contacted by Tern Tv to film The New Reclaimers in 2010 & jumped at the chance to get her message out to the UK.
The future for The Salvage Sister
“I see myself as an ambassador for reuse, I want to change people’s wasteful behaviour & our throw-away culture, I want rid of flatpack furniture that isn’t made to last. I know I can make the world a more beautiful place by encouraging reuse & up cycling, I want to show people they can have a beautiful & unique interior on a budget & I want to show them how they can do it themselves & save the environment just by making a few simple changes.”
Charis has plans and idea’s for many more reuse television series, in the UK & further afield, and they’re not just focussed on interiors, watch this space because the Salvage Sister will stop at nothing, this is the first step into a bright & promising future.