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Building Mountains: an artwork for ‘Joey’s Cafe’

Rope is more than a tool. It travels with us, we lug it up to the mountain and we trust it (and belayer) with our lives. Part of the loved kit for climbing, part of the checklist. The climbing rope we get through the doors at Dirtbags HQ is retired and sent to us for lots of different reasons. Becoming frayed after lots of use, too long unused, renewed as part of an activity centre’s/climbing wall’s safety check. Rope needs to be new, and safe.

Joe Beaumont contacted us after retiring a rope that meant a lot to him. Understandably, handing over something for someone to chop up and sew was a hard choice. A 40m fall onto this rope had marked the beginning of a long road of recovery and rehabilitation for him, it had become a symbol and reminder of Joe’s journey and his incredible achievements since the accident. He wanted a commissioned piece to grace the walls of the new chapter in his professional life; a good old bricks and mortar cafe.

Learn a little about Joe’s climbing rehabilitation from his award winning film, Little Chamonix…

Joe utterly embodies his ethos ‘healing through happiness’ and we were delighted and touched he had come to Dirtbags to create something special.

The wood was taken from reclaimed scrap pallets. James sawed, sanded, measured and laid the pieces onto a plywood base. The same for the mountain tops, which were then covered with a lime wax for a white sheen.

The rope was washed (well!), cored, then stitched together to form a sheet of ‘fabric’ to use. We cut the fabric to match the shape of the sky and mountain tops, then affixed the pieces. With small triangles of hardwood for the trees and a handmade teeny tiny washer and wire bike, we placed them alongside the blue rope lake in the bottom left of the picture. James carefully made a frame to tie it all together.

Rather than becoming a rug to, in time, wear out, the mountains of rope will stand pride of place serving as a reminder of how fragile life can be, and how to live and enjoy every moment we have.

Photo: Chelsea Clarkson
Photo: Chelsea Clarkson

Want to visit the new Cafe? Check for updates and opening times here

Joey’s Café – Castle Mills – Aynam Rd – Kendal – LA9 7DE

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Philosopher’s Backpack

We have teamed up with Jane Yates, a lead practitioner for global learning, to create a teaching tool that has a history. Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a learning programme where children are encouraged to think for themselves, and to create their own philosophy out of their responses to the Philosopher’s ‘kit’ presented to them.

Learn more about Philosophy for Children


Research in P4C provides evidence that it not only increases thinking and listening skills, but also skills of communication, self-esteem, confidence, behaviour and engagement with learning across subject areas

Jane Yates

Sounds good to us.

An ethical backpack as a visual prompt and to carry the tools needed for exploration into philosophical thinking is needed. This is where we step in!

We have designed and built a small backpack using only recycled materials for this purpose.

The Backpack features:

Embroidered lid

Straps reinforced with climbing rope.

Recycled canvas tent and fabric offcuts from local manufacturers.

Buckles and webbing repurposed from life jackets, tents and rucksacks.

Colours may vary.

Read more…

Contact us to enquire