Archives for category: Bioplastics

The Sustainabilitree Show

Paul Mines CEO Stanelco Plc and Justin Rowlatt 'Ethical Man' admire the Sustainabilitree

It’s never quite the plan, or even anticipated at the start of a project but there always seems to be quite a large element of repetition in my work. Having spent the past days and weeks continuously cutting out leaves for my ‘Sustainabilitree’ i think my right hand has now moudled itself to the shape of my scissors. Knowing that i would need in excess of 8000 leaves for the tree, i was adamant that i wanted to cut them by hand. This was largely because i wanted each leaf to be unique. I was aiming for the Sustainabilitree to be as realistic as possible to fit in with the fact that it would biodegrade back to nature in the same cycle that a real tree would. I also had worked out in advance that i would be able to cut out 5 leaves at a time using scissors. In reality, this didn’t prove very easy so, i literally cut each leaf out one at at time…

So here are all the components…

The Trunk – the plastic objects visible through the bark demonstrate the items that bioplastics can now be used to replace. (Photo taken on possibly the only day of summer this year 😦 )

The Branches:

And the Leaves:

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My work for Stanelco is well underway now 🙂

After spending quite a bit of time getting to know the material and it’s capabilities i am now working towards three very different installations.

Getting to this point was quite difficult because the material is usually fed through industrial machinery, popping out several hundred pieces of the same product all with a purpose or function. But how could this be used to make art?? (And can ‘art’ and ‘function’ be used in the same sentence??)

What i wanted to know was what the capabilities of the material were if i had a big lump of it sitting in front me me in my studio with an array of tools! Well, I am stronger than i look but this stuff is tough! So for this reason i went down the route of trying to design something big made out of lots of smaller components. I spent time thinking about the material being made from a natural renewable source, and the way it biodegrades right back to nature. I liked the idea of showing this full cycle in my work, as well as demonstrating the biodegradable potential of the material, yet at the same time showing that despite all this that it is completely functional and wouldn’t biodegrade if you didn’t want it to!

Meanwhile, since i started this work i have had a huge bag of biodegradable pellets taking up space at my Mum’s house and she keeps asking me why it’s still there and why it’s not biodegraded out of her way yet!

I don’t want to say too much now about what i am making until i have got a little further with it but soon i will upload photographs of my progress.

After spending a year painting my caravan and it’s contents yellow, i have a very exciting new commission!

Seeing as i usually ‘live’ my projects this could mean quite a lifestyle change for me as it involves going green and working with a material that is not harmful to the environment!

Stanelco is a company that produce bioplastics which i will be using to create my next installation.

Bioplastics can replace oil-based plastics and because they are derived from corn and potato starches, as well as being used for life-long plastic products they can biodegrade right back to nature. As it is a very new material it is extremely exciting as it’s capabilities are not entirely known so will involve a lot of experimenting and fun!

Taking on this work has increased my awareness of lots of environmental issues, particularly focusing my attention on all the wasted plastics we come across daily – so much so that i have a new found feeling of guilt when i put plastic in the bin these days!

There are lots of artists that explore environmental issues and this will be something interesting to look at as i get a feel for this new project.