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Introducing Lizzy, Director of Made From Scratch

Lizzy is the inventive director of Made From Scratch, as a member of Bloqs since 2019 the MFS team have gone from strength to strength. We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her and her experience using Bloqs.

How would you describe MFS to people that might not have heard of you yet?

We create sanctuaries for the imagination. We design and build unique playable landscapes, and empower communities with design and carpentry skills to shape their own environment. We collaborate with artists, architects, planners and schools to weave play into the urban landscape. 

Last year you celebrated 10 years in business, what are some of your greatest milestones and favourite projects to date?

So many! Building a wheelchair-accessible treehouse, collaborating with Foster+Partners on two massive design & build playground projects in schools in West London, and the recent creation of the new story garden in Discover in Stratford.

Probably my favourite was an authentic journey with a Hackney client over several years, as we created 7 unique playable landscapes for them across 3 schools. This resulted in a positive transformation of their view of childhood after the intervention of our builds combined with our training in Risk and Play, and in turn, encouraged us to be more innovative and daring in our future designs. 

So what inspired your transition from textiles and theatre to creating MFS and getting you to where you are today?

I did 3 years of carpentry city and guilds at Hackney college, whilst doing bits of assisting on festival/ set builds, landscaping, and freelance costume and textile projects. I loved the individual creativity, vibrant innovation of costume and festival work, but those worlds at their core are also contained planned obsolescence, waste, and inherent inequality by only being accessible to a few that can afford them. At the time, I was also working doing play work on a mobile adventure playground with a fold-down pirate ship that travelled across Hackney to bring free play opportunities right into the heart of estates. 

My former business partner and I had a holistic and considered approach to playground design & build that was a departure from the all-male, old school, traditional way of working that I had started building in. So, we set up MFS with the mission to create "Sanctuaries for the Imagination" not limited to physical structures but examining the WHOLE landscape of play.

She left a few years ago to pursue working with younger children, and with Llew who I have been lucky to work alongside for 10 years, we focussed on the digital side of things to innovate and improve our design, material methodology and expand our mission, without compromising our ethical values. Now with a solid, super multiskilled workshop team, led by Marilo and Sinead and the power of the new Bloqs the MFS team are ready to take on any 2022 challenges!

When did you first come to Bloqs? And what made you choose us?

We first came a few years ago and loved it straight away. We booked a medium bench for a week or so and were immediately impressed with the vibe and facilities. And that was in the old building!  After increasing the volume and scope of our prefabricated structures in an effort to reduce the length of our on-site builds, we made the leap to being full time in the old building last spring, then we were happy to bag a top long-term spot in the corner in the shiny new building. The range of machines is great obviously, but the family of Bloqs is the real deal. 

What do you like most about working from Bloqs?

The sense of possibility. There is so much we don't know- in terms of machines we are not yet familiar with, or techniques to master that will change how we work in or design in different ways we don't even know yet! Using the CNC last year was great to make our sputnik sphere, and we looking forward to the joy of an internal high fit-out space if we need to make another spaceship. The cafe is superb, and the fact Bloqs is on the canal for a chilled glide home on the bike is great too.

How do you feel Bloqs caters to your needs?

It was brilliant when making the Discover project to leap between the metal/paint/textile/wood sections of the old building, All the various elements for that were made at Bloqs, then transported down to install in Stratford. The new workshop access is a dream compared to the old one, so we are hoping the fabrication/transport/install process is even smoother than before.

It’s still challenging, the efficient management and use of space in expensive ol’ London. Especially since our work is quite large, we hope this investment in space and time to improve our prototypes and prefabrication but still allow time for on-site magic will work well for us.

One more thing, can you tell us about any goals you've set yourself for this year?

Two years ago, I won a Churchill Fellowship award to research playgrounds and landscapes - partly as a healing response for traumatised communities in Japan and Scandinavia (and to check out Japanese joinery!) Then Covid struck, and all travel for the programme was stopped. I'm hoping this year they will allow us to travel, and I can go!

So, one of my goals this year would be to do overseas research, but whether that happens or not we know we can still have an impact here in a similar way.

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