About us

We are Rainbows and Brown String – me, Heather, impractical and sometimes unexplainable; him, John, practical and sometimes organised.

We have both spent a huge chunk of our lives as part of the effort to reduce poverty across the world and now, through the work of Rainbows, we are trying to support efforts to find a sustainable way of living on this wonderful small blue dot.

Heather Budge-Reid
John Kirkwood


I’m never happier than when I have a camera to my eye and I’ve been lucky enough to work all over the world — leaving only footprints, I hope. Here we concentrate on Plants and Places and you can find photos that we are currently exhibiting and that are available for sale in a variety of print and greetings card formats. Pull up a chair and enjoy.

Creatively adding value

Question: When is wool not wool?

Answer: When it is landfill!

So, what to do with the bits and pieces? I prefer to let them guide me into making something useful and/or beautiful — hopefully both at the same time! I call this creatively adding value — although it just may be an excuse for hording every inch of wool I find. I hope you will be inspired through our blog to do it yourself or join a creative space session to get you started. Visit the ‘creative’ section of our shop to find that special something. We try to only buy glue and cotton thread from new, and we use recycled packaging to for all items that are posted.

Retailing retro

Question: When is a jug not a jug?

Answer: When it is landfill!

We aim to make available to you the beauties that the world has already invested energy and resources into. We aim to preserve the environmental investment made in the objects of yesterday by reusing and admiring them today. We believe in the reduction of our environmental impact wherever possible. We know that our planet faces environmental ruin and that ‘new to you’ is much better than discarding the resources that were invested in these wonderful things when they were first made. Do please visit our online shop or catch us at a local market, and follow our trials and tribulations through our blog.


Question: When a garden is not a garden?

Answer: When it’s ignored.

Some of us are lucky enough to have a small patch of earth to call our own. There are lots of books and television programmes to help us learn what to do, but we often need a more location-specific approach or more personal support. I’m particularly aware of this in Scotland, where elevation, direction and soil type are crucially important in deciding what to plant or how to address the challenges your garden faces. We aim to provide inspiration through our gardening blog and gardening know-how sessions.

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