Innovative Textile Ramp Helping Mobility at the Beach

With summer in full swing and everyone packing their bags and heading to the beach, I thought I might share a story about a small, seaside community in Nova Scotia, Canada using innovative textiles to help the vulnerable in their community access the beach.

Access to the beach in Inverness, Nova Scotia has always been limited to long wooden boardwalks criss-crossing the coastline to allow beach-goers access to their wonderful sandy beaches. These walkways are invaluable to the wider public, providing sound footing and direct access onto the sand. But for the disabled or elderly population in the community, their journey was much-restricted as wheelchairs and walkers couldn't progress further onto the sand. Anyone who has seen a child's pushchair or stroller struggling through the sand knows only too well how limiting this can be.

However recent investment in this small community has meant that new beach-friendly wheelchairs and walkers, with wide tires and durable parts are providing an invaluable service to the vulnerable public.

However it was the large, rubber mats that were laid across the sand that made access possible through the softer sand, bringing users closer to the water. Woven from a tough plastic 'yarn' in an intricate mix of patterns, this functional yet striking woven mat is offering an innovative, textile solution. On closer inspection it is also wonderful to note that the clever design combination of an adapted honeycomb structure, twills and plain weaves means that any sand that builds up on the mat quickly sifts through the structures to eliminate build up of debris on the surface. Clever!

As a designer interested in the impact of textiles on the community and my small contribution to the industry as a whole, I am delighted to see how weaving can have a positive impact on society. It is especially rewarding when I discover these unexpected 'gems' on my travels abroad as these experiences often filter into my design consciousness and may later inform another project that crosses my path.

If you would like to follow more of the story, please have a look at the local broadcast on CTV news here:

https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/new-equipment-at-a-nova-scotia-beach-creates-accessible-environment-1.4027983

In the coming months I hope to share other stories with you that cover equally diverse topics. There is such depth to the subjects of weaving and textiles and I can't help but see the world through a series of pattern and texture!

Enjoy your holidays!

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