Why we all need to: Think Plastic - materials and making
An exciting new collaboration of Art and Science, Think Plastic – materials and making, encourages us all to consider the urgent need for humans to use plastics more responsibly. Through works of art, jewellery and contemplation of plastic in our everyday lives, it presents plastic as a precious and often misunderstood product.
Two years ago, when ceramicists Lorna Fraser and Carol Sinclair decided to look at the environmental impact of porcelain usage and ask if alternative, less environmentally damaging, materials were available, they soon started to gather other specialists to be involved in a new project.
The result is a provocative exhibition, not preaching, but begging us all to consider how, why and when we use plastic.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh taxonomist Dr Peter Wilkie, researches the tropical tree family Sapotaceae, which produces a natural plastic.
Fiona Pilgrim is an artist interested in the material choices artists make.
Carla Edwards is a jeweller already using plastic resins in her work.
And, tapestry weaver Fiona Hutchison is a keen sailor who observes how plastics impact the seas around us.
With a small initial grant from Interface the group has been working with Professor Mike Shaver, of the University of Edinburgh Green plastics laboratory, and his students Hatti Chisnall and Emily Macdonald.
This exhibition represents the mutual journey over two years and how artists and scientists have engaged with the complex and, at times, impenetrable subject of plastics, the many different types, their use and their impact on the environment.
The exhibition is also about how this amazing, but controversial, material influenced their thought processes, handling and, ultimately, their art.
The focus is on encouraging us all to think about plastic and our relationships with it. To consider adjusting our own choices to minimise the impact on the environment: to see plastic as a valuable product and combat the disposable attitude towards it.
Running in the John Hope Gateway, until Sunday, May 17, the project is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Friends of RBGE, Interface, and Professor Michael Shaver’s Green Materials Laboratory at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Manchester.
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