I am retracing my relationship with plastics which began with my father who studied chemistry in the 1950s to become a plastics technologist. Plastics were an ever present but invisible in our family home; as a source of income, as vital tools that appeared to make our lives easier and as a continual ‘modern’ habit.
The artwork, patterns and coastal microplastic arrangements I make, reflect back to the viewer what we value and when we valued it, guessing and imagining what purpose or function the original pieces performed in a previous life.
The flat lay images also highlight the ingenuity and brilliance of so many who have designed and conceived objects, products and solutions in industry since plastics were first invented in 1907; and it is this same human creativity that we will need to solve the current waste crisis we have.
I am interested in the colour, tone and the qualities of these man-made materials. There is a wonder and vibrancy present in the plastic flotsam I find during my beach cleans which mirrors our own lives, if we take time to look and to feel it. Circles are continual and universally found in nature so I feel they are the most poignant shape to re-represent the waste we produce that we once valued so highly.
Recently I have been collaborating with a PhD student at Hull University, turning her microplastics data from the Mekong River in Thailand into a flat lay images. We aim to engage people in a new way to share what scientists are discovering about the natural world and to further develop discussion about plastic usage and behaviour.
We cannot change the world by simply looking at it, but we can in the way we live within it