I have become my own manufacturer. As a result of researching synthetic and organic plastics I have gained an insight into how large and global the applications and problems with plastics are. Looking at alternatives to synthetic plastics I began making my own ‘bio plastic’, producing plastic from natural ingredients on a domestic scale and becoming more aware of the production process involved. Although it is different from cheap mass manufactured plastic it has the same basic principles of production, process and application.

Hand Crafted items have the ability to tell a story about how they were made and who made them. They require knowledge of process and tradition. By hand making each of the individual pieces I aim to convey the understanding that these materials should be used by the consumer market with care and consideration. Hand crafting is an important component of the work. The slow process of making each piece and carefully assembling them is reflective of the time, effort and resources that go into the manufacture of all biodegradable plastic.

The suspended sculptural form of stitched handmade bio plastic, working with the organic nature of the material and taking inspiration from the appropriation of nature in form by artists Andrew Krasnov, Mark Dion and Annette Messager, the delicate assemblage and suspension of the work identifies with the qualities inherent in the material. Lit from inside and above, the sculpture is situated in the space inviting the audience to walk around the work. The hand stitching detail is visible with the transparency of the material and openings allowing a view into and through the piece.. Physical products used in manufacture form part of the installation, the presence of the ingredients creating a visceral response in the viewer. Freshly made plastic in the space further enhances the physical presence of the material. Illuminating the ingredients places importance on their presence in the room. These aspects inform of the elements required to make the material.

The installation includes a video projection made in a style that refers to the culture of instructable videos, where you can learn to make or reinvent. This piece informs the audience of the skills and labour that are necessary to produce biodegradable plastic and the scale of production possible by one person in a domestic setting. In a population of over 7.5 billion people this level of manufacture is an indicator of how many resources are needed when production reaches industrial scale.

By learning about a material through making, the value in the process of production informs a respect for its end product. This is not to suggest we all become our own makers but that we acknowledge and respect the effort that it takes to make. If we had to make all of the things around us, nothing would ever get made. It is my intention that viewers will be able to gain a better understanding of bio plastic which is becoming widely used on the consumer market.

Used in a careful and considerate way biodegradable plastic is a positive and necessary step away from the use of non renewable resources but switching from non degradable to biodegradable in the disposable manner consumers have become accustomed to is only the transference of habits, not the change in behaviour necessary to resolve issues around consumption levels. Although this material is made out of renewable and biodegradable ingredients, the growth, harvest, processing, manufacture, packaging, shipping and disposal are all still contributing factors in ecological damage making it an unstable solution for a growing population of consumers.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

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