On the 24th February 2018, several pieces of plastic and micro plastics were retrieved from Meanporth Beach, Falmouth. I used these pollutants to formulate a colour coordinated photograph. *influenced by Hannah Tofts*
By doing this I was able to achieve a disguise for such a grotesque matter. It takes a lot to grab the attention of the public, especially when working with something like plastic waste. However creating a colourfully organised photograph can do some wonders. My intentions are to create a set of attractive designs inspired by the plastic collected. This will then be placed on to garments thus manipulating the public into wearing rubbish and creating awareness. All rubbish collected was later recycled in the proper manner!
These are a few general statistics about plastic pollution worldwide and Uk based, hopefully this will explain why it's so important to create an awareness about this devastating issue in order to move forward with changes!
It is estimated that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced to date.
And 6.3 billion tonnes is the estimated amount of plastic waste generated, of which 9% is recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% accumulated (landfills or natural environment).
All of the plastic collected was from beaches meaning it's either been washed up from the sea or directly littered onto the beaches thus adding to the amount of plastic washed out to sea by the tide.
Almost 7,000 people took part in the 'Great British Beach Clean' in September 2017 - A project that removed 255,209 pieces of litter from 339 beaches. For every 100m of British beach, there are over 200 plastic or polystyrene items.
Around 480 billion plastic bottles were sold globally in 2016 - That's 1 million bottles per minute OR 20,000 per second!
PLASTIC WILL OUTWEIGH FISH BY 2050
Plastic in the oceans is estimated at 150 million tonnes - roughly a fifth of the weight of the fish.
All of this information was gathered from the Telegraph.co.uk
Other people involved in the awareness and clean up of our beaches are organisations such as 'Surfers Against Sewage' and the 'Cornish Pollution Coalition' here you can find a longer list of organisations involved.
As well as photographing the plastic found I began photocopying a select few in order to create B&W designs.
I started to focus on a particular piece of rubbish found. It looked as if it had come from a plastic bag. From this I created B&W negatives in order to make a silk screen for printing the design onto fabric. A lot of feedback I received from this shape was that it had a very abstract resemblance to the UK. Which is ironic because it's derived from something that will eventually kill the UK as well as the rest of the world.
There were a few issues with the fabric prints, this was due to the fact that I had, had my design made onto an illustration screen rather than a fabric one. This meant the holes within the silk screen were a lot more defined and smaller, thus restricting the amount of paint let through. The result of this was some very faded, washed out prints, luckily a few were salvageable with some extra strokes of paint. I ended up leaving this design at this point and not taking it any further but this was only for the time being, I will eventually look at improving this design and trying out some more prints.
This was another initial idea that was shortly dropped. From the original photograph of all the rubbish I drew out a full B&W outline piece which was later scanned into photoshop. Whilst in photoshop I looked at possible colour themes and layering with tonal shades. Although I wasn't a fan of the overall composition there were still a few shapes I wanted to try out for potential design ideas.
This 3rd design idea was made up of the same pieces of plastic, arranged into a different composition. I decided to take this idea and try out some of the colours themes on fabric. Most prints were on plain, thick calico, however for the yellow fabric I tried something different. I took the calico and naturally dyed it with 'turmeric.' I think yellow is a great colour which is why I plan to make one of the garments with yellow fabric. This natural dye attempt turned out great, however it wasn't the yellow tone I was aiming for. I was looking for more of a mustard yellow and this one was a little too vibrant.
For my first trial test garment I printed and sewed a Fishermans smock. I didn't have a pattern to hand so it was done purely by trial and error. I made a few adjustments to the design by changing it from a block print to just an outline, this made the design more minimalist and elegant. Two prints in I came up with the idea of adding a slogan thats truly in your face...'FUCK PLASTIC.' I knew this was going to be a one off smock so I put the discreet message aside and tried a more powerful, direct approach. If only I had got the sizing correct this smock would have been perfect.
I wasn't happy with how literal the designs were looking. If my aim is to manipulate the public I need to focus on the more abstract shapes of plastic. With this in mind I designed an A1 print using a variety of oddly shapes pieces of plastic. I drew it up onto a large piece of acetate and instead of using a black marker like I normally do I wanted to try something different than a solid black colour. Instead I used black acrylic, creating painterly strokes with the design. Once I had made it into a silk screen I really got to see how the marks look and they work great. This time I had my screen made onto the correct type (fabric) making it suitable for my garments. *inspired by Alex Steele*
I came up with 3 main colour themes matching the background colours to the Linen used to make the garments. Yellow, Blue and Beige.
For the yellow I kept it simple with a single print in a slightly lighter tone of yellow.
For the blue I plan on doing an overlapping double print using 2 different tones of blue (light and dark).
And as for the beige I designed something completely different by using 2 different tones of vibrant pink. I think it actually work really well having such a bright overprint because the background is so mellow and calm.
As well as playing around with colour ideas I looked at how well the design will work once repeated several times.
I know I plan on keeping the garments discreet and appealing but on the side I've been thinking about creating some posters or wall hangs with aggressively, direct messages using the same designs with the added 'FUCK PLASTIC.' *inspired by Lily van der Stokker*
For the fabric of my jumpsuits I decided to use 100% linen, the reasoning for this was because of its loose and light manner when worn. Out of the choices I had these were my most favourite, I absolutely love mustard yellow, but also felt the beige and blue were perfect in representing earthy colours and had a close link to the land and sea that is currently under attack by plastic.
I came up with a few different design ideas with the linen base colours in mind. I intend on keeping most of the designs quite subtle and mellow but at the same time I also really wanted at least one to have a vibrant and jazzy style.
I was so happy with how these turned out! There were a few hurdles to get over (pockets and gussets) but once I knew what I was doing I seemed to fly through the making process. As the main fastening I used dainty wooden buttons placed onto the shoulders. I was careful to avoid any plastic in the making of the 'FUCK PLASTIC' jumpsuits.
I managed to capture the subtle effect I was going for in that I designed a fashionable and wearable garment that conveys a strong message towards the current plastic pollution crisis.
I plan to continue to make these jumpsuits and make more people aware of the damaging effects plastic is having on this planet and its wildlife.
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