A love of the ocean inspired South East Queensland’s Neddy Van Dyck to weave his way as a creative and environmentally aware entrepreneur. The 29-year-old marine scientist and former fisherman is using his knowledge and passion for the sea to create hand woven baskets and mats from retired marine grade ropes for his popular homewares business Rope Buoy.
Neddy came up with the idea when living in Western Australia with wife Emmie, who was studying medicine in Fremantle at the time. In between his work as a marine scientist and cray fisherman in the remote Abrolhos Islands, he would weave items with retired marine rope. “The crayfish haul and pot is worth so much money to the fishermen that the ropes used are retired after a season,” Neddy said. “The rope’s tough. It’s UV stabilised, it’s mould resistant, water resistant. It’s designed to live in the harshest environments you can think of. It’ll outlive me, so I thought it best to recycle it and put it to good use.”
So Neddy found a way to repurpose the rope, using the old maritime craft of rope weaving. First he was weaving items as gifts for his wife and to use in their home, but then the orders started reeling in … and they have not stopped since. “Since launching, I’ve woven hundreds of items and the business is continuing to grow. It’s very exciting.” Neddy grew up between Cedar Creek, in Brisbane’s northwest, and on North Stradbroke Island. It is his time spent on “Straddie” that fuelled his love of the ocean. His grandfather, Tony Durbidge, was a commercial fisherman and his grandmother, the late Ellie Durbidge, was a conservationist and artist on the island.
Now based at Currumbin, Neddy’s still close to the sea and has found a growing market in South East Queensland for his unique rope home wares. He continues to go back to his cray fishing buddies in Western Australia to source and purchase the rope.
However, Neddy’s not just juggling Rope Buoy and his current studies, a masters in Occupational Therapy. He and his wife welcomed a son, Alfie, in April this year. “Alfie sure keeps us busy, but fatherhood has been an amazing experience so far and I’m looking forward to teaching him the ways of the ocean,” he said. “I’m also happy to play my part in making sure we’re building a sustainable future for our children.”
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