Friday, 24 September 2010

Making lemonade out of lemons

Richard Lang and Judith Selby
I recently came across a lovely new blog (well, new to me), Plastic Forever. The two authors, Lang and Selby, have spent the last eleven years collecting plastic from their local beach, Kehoe in California. Not just collecting it and storing it, but making art from it. The upshot of this is that (a) their blog is full of really beautiful and striking images, and (b) their art is now being used to promote plastic awareness, advertising the US Coastal Awareness day at the end of September.

Lemons and lemonade
A very cool project, but they are not alone. Plastic beach art is cropping up everywhere – which is almost certainly a reflection of the increasing problem of plastic waste on our beaches. More and more people are starting to notice it and be drawn to it. The images, sculptures, and displays that result are beautiful and bleak, simple and intricate, inspiring and worrying. Here are just a few examples.

Steve McPherson
My colleague, G, saw a postcard advertising an exhibition of Steve McPherson’s work whilst on holiday, very kindly thought of me, and brought it back for me to see. According to his website, he’s been collecting discarded plastic items and fragments from the Kent coast for over 15 years.

Georgina Maxwell
My mum is responsible for bringing Georgina’s work to my attention. Based close to my own home in Cornwall, she has, again, been collecting and creating for over a decade, and has plenty of colourful, striking, and attention grabbing ‘trash’ to show for it.

Tuula Narhinen
I met with marine scientist Richard Thompson in the spring to find out about his research into marine plastic, and he very kindly gave me an art magazine showcasing Tuula’s work, which varies from jewellery made from mermaid’s tears to strange animal-like sculptures, ‘Frutti di Mare’.

Diana Boulay
Diana is based in Canada which, along with Lang & Selby in California, Tuula in Finland, and the two British artists, just goes to show how widespread the problem is. And I’m sure there are plenty more artists out there making use of similar finds.

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