The last blog focussed on the amount of plastic we use and the harm it is doing, so this week I thought I’d lighten the tone a bit and talk about something more fun. Now the aim of course, is to stop finding pieces of plastic on our beaches, in towns and in the countryside but while we are finding it, it can be fun to do something productive with it.
For those of you of a certain age who remember as far back as The Wombles, voiced by the wonderful Bernard Cribbin, you’ll recall that they ‘made good use of the things we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind’.
Now I can’t claim I make use of all the rubbish I pick up from beaches and the verges of my village because most of it just needs to be in a bin. But I have started to set aside the more colourful and interesting pieces of plastic to use in litter art. The term litter art is pretty new to me so you’ll be forgiven if you have no idea what I mean.
Litter art is just that, making some art out of the litter we find. Having started @litterwombles and following lots of like minded people on Instagram, I have come across many accounts where people are producing some incredibly lovely pictures made up with the pieces of plastic they are collecting. The main account that caught my eye was @smartie_lids_on_the_beach.
Just to mention the reason for their name, finding Smartie lids is a pretty exciting find in the world of litter picking. Not only are they colourful and nostalgic, but they have letters embossed on them making them quite collectible. Frightening fact though, these lids haven’t been used since the packaging changed way back in 2005 so while finding a lid is a highlight of a beach clean, it is a fact that you have found a piece of plastic that is at the very least 13 years old and can date back to pre 1990!
So back to this amazing Instagram account and the artist Michelle Costello. These images instantly caught my eye as I’m a magpie for colour and when I saw them I just thought what a great idea, to make something so beautiful from the plastic she had found on Cornish beaches.
So this this got me looking at the little bag of colourful plastic we had collected and kept thinking possibly we could try our hand at being creative. At first we just laid it all out to see what we had which in itself was surprising to see the multitude of colours.
As you can see we have a Smartie lid (albeit with a duck on it rather than a letter), a Coca Cola bottle lid and quite a few cotton bud stems.
Who knows how long some of this has been floating around in the sea and how far it has travelled! The stories it could tell!
So being inspired by so many other creative types, I thought well lets give this litter art thing a go and see what I can come up with although my resources so far are a bit limited, I have to say it was so much fun trying to create images with these items, some work better than others but here is what I have come up with so far.
Not too bad if I say so myself! It’s a great way of using the rubbish you collect and you can actually mount them in frames and sell them – yes there is a demand for this sort of thing.
More than anything, I found it really fun to do and quite relaxing. A great activity if you have kids to get them inspired to help clear up the rubbish situation and then do something creative with it. Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart but I’ll continue to collect and make things. I haven’t saved any of it yet, I just break it up like a jigsaw and then see what else I can make out of it but as I get better, I might just stick a few down and buy a couple of box frames. You never know, a new career may be waiting for me!!