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Upcycling junk into art

Design Junkies contestants – Craig Guy, left, James Wright, Kate Cameron-Donald. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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Over the past six weeks, Kate Cameron-Donald turned used car parts, timber from an old barn and leather from an unwanted handbag into beautiful pieces.

Now that her stint on TV show ‘Design Junkies’ has come to an end, the Masterton designer has her sights set on launching her own line of furniture and homeware from her studio on Ngaumutawa Rd.

Although she hasn’t come home with the crown,

Cameron-Donald said the show was an “incredible experience” which she hoped had given her the exposure she needed to continue pursuing her passion.

“It’s scary putting yourself and your work out there for public viewing like that,” she said.

“I feel a bit of relief but also kind of sad.

“The whole show has gone by really quickly and it feels funny to have it all over with.”

Although the reality show was a competition, Cameron-Donald said all the designers bonded straight away, which made the experience a little less stressful.

“We all banded together and decided to help each other out and not get too competitive, which I think took the producers by surprise.”

She was particularly thankful for the support and friendship of the series winner, Leilani Tunnage, and said she was “stoked” her fellow-designer will attend the Milan furniture fair.

Kate Cameron-Donald’s kea painting from the final challenge of Design Junkies.

Among Cameron-Donald’s designs was her week two winning photo prop held by a ballerina and made from used car parts.

It is now being auctioned for charity on Trade Me with the other weekly challenge works. Proceeds from Cameron-Donald’s designs will go to Alzheimers New Zealand.

Her design for the final challenge, which aired on Thursday, was a five-piece furniture called ‘Flight of the Kea’.

Among the pieces was a bench seat covered in individually-cut leather which she upcycled into feathers.

“The leather was a mixture of offcuts from a leather manufacturer which would have been tossed out and leather from old furniture pieces,” she said.

“It served as a starting point for the whole design and the colours of the leather dictated the rest of the pieces.”

The wood for the furniture was timber from an old Wairarapa barn.

“I sourced all the materials locally,” she said.

The final design also included a painting of a kea, which took her over 60 hours to paint.

Cameron-Donald’s final designs are available for tender, either as a set or as individual pieces via her email [email protected].


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