Jane Atfield – Recycled polythene chair (1996) was made entirely from recycled plastic bottles
Laura Marsden – uses recycled plastic bags to create hand made lace installation pieces and wearable art. She juxtaposes a 21st century synthetic waste product with inspiration from nature and historical costumes to create delicate but sculptural works. She refers to the pieces as ‘Eternal Lace’ which “intentionally refers to how long it takes plastic to decompose”. Laura Marsden says
“I’ve always been inspired by historical costume, and traditional hand stitch and manipulation techniques of fabric. I like to reference historical costume/technique and then rework to create contemporary pieces. Instead of traditional yarn I use plastic bags. I think it’s important to acknowledge the past to progress and explore new methods.” (Marsden, 2018)
She is particularly inspired by Elizabethan ruffs which, given the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was 460-415 years ago, gives a sense of the time scale involved in the decomposition of plastic bottles at approximately 450 years. (This New Statesman article discusses the biodegradability of so called biodegradable plastic bags)
Textiles Environment Design (TED) – Say on their website that:
“Over the last ten years TED has been developing a set of practice-based sustainable design strategies that assist designers in creating textiles that have a reduced impact on the environment.”
TED’s TEN (criteria for designers and makers to follow):
- Design to minimise waste
- Design for recycling/upcycling
- Design to reduce chemical impacts
- Design to reduce energy and water use
- Design that explores clean/better technologies
- Design that looks at models from nature and history
- Design for ethical production
- Design to replace the need to consume
- Design to dematerialise and develop systems and services
- Design activism
I realise from this that I forgot to add in my brainstorm about sustainability the importance of the consumer thinking “do I really need this?”
Leon Kaye’s article ‘Clothing to dye for’ (12/8/13) found here was very thought provoking. Clearly I missed off water waste off my post about sustainability too, the scale of the problem is shocking. Whilst the majority of people want the cheapest garments they can get, there is little financial incentive for major retailers to invest in expensive new technologies which will drastically cut water waste.
The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites is an interesting experiment to attempt to build a £3.99 toaster from scratch. The realisation to the extent of materials, their procurement and refinement, and the number of processes that goes into the manufacture of the toaster (as an example of modern products) makes the final costs absurd. The only way this can be financially viable is to produce these (and their constituent parts) on a global scale. Given that mining is no longer financially viable in the UK, the materials are obtained from less economically strong countries ie where wages and costs are less, are we as a Western Society exploiting other cultures? With cost of living rising globally and aims to ensure that so called ‘third world’ countries obtain similar living standards as their ‘first world’ counterparts, will we be prepared to pay more for goods to ensure that workers get fair wages? Or will we still expect to buy ultra cheap clothes and goods? In the end, who will pay the price?
Marsden, Laura (2018) extract from conversation via Facebook chat.
[All links were accessed on 11/3/18]