Oarsome enterprise: Canvas Works

Canvas Works draft logo

Canvas Works is an innovative social enterprise programme wholly owned by Oarsome Chance.

We use donated sails, canvas materials, ropes and much more, crafting them into ‘upcycled’ products such as wallets, bags and much more.

In our fully equipped studio, students have the opportunity to be involved with the design and construction of products through our educational programmes.

This gives Canvas Works, the perfect platform to provide the opportunity for young people to learn new skills and see a commercial enterprise in operation.

The design and manufacture of our Canvas Works products is led by our expert canvas specialist, Pablo Madrid.

Here’s some more about Pablo, his work and inspiration, in his own words:

“My name is Pablo and I'm the sail maker turned designer behind the bags and accessories from Canvas Works. I have over 15 years of experience in the sail making industry which has honed my canvas making skills. In that time I have worked for some of the top sail making companies in the South Coast region of the UK.

I found my way into the industry as I was fortunate enough in my early years to spend every summer windsurfing in Tarifa in Spain with my family. This is where I first came across a sail-loft and saw canvas workers repairing and making windsurfing sails. I was fascinated to see them using colourful sailcloth with big and loud industrial sewing machines, slotted into gigantic work benches. This inspired me to convince a sailmaker to teach me how to design and build my own windsurf sails, and I never looked back.

It gives me great satisfaction now to see the young people at Oarsome Chance become intrigued by the work I’m doing in the Canvas Works studio, in the same I was all those years ago. To be able to pass on some of my skills and enthusiasm to them makes my work with Canvas Works even more rewarding.”

Find Pablo on Instagram: @pablo.the.sailmaker

RNRMC logo

Canvas Works has an ongoing partnership with the Royal Navy & Royal Marine Charity, producing a range of bags from upcycled Royal Navy life rafts.

The new range is made almost entirely from decommissioned Royal Navy life rafts that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

“Our collaboration with RNRMC around the new RNRMC x Canvas Works product range is so exciting on many levels. Not only is it a fantastic charity partnership, a way for the two organisations to support each other’s goals, but also a way for both charities to raise funds, while also doing our bit towards protecting the environment.” Paul Napthine, Oarsome Chance CEO

The range launched 27 April 2023 at a special event at Boathouse 4 in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (click here for the news story) and the money raised from the collection will be donated back to the RNRMC and Oarsome Chance.

The brilliant product range is now available to buy on the RNRMC online shop - see below.

buy the range from the RNRMC online shop

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about Canvas Works, or are interested in what Canvas Works could make for you, drop us a line at [email protected].