Vicki Clough Curates

Musings on art and life.

Aesthetically pleasing repurposed plasitics

Plastic is one one of the most wonderfully versatile inventions of the 20th century. Not only is it mould-able and durable, it’s lightweight, recyclable and… re-usable. Without getting into they whys of the huge amounts of plastic sent to landfill each year, and the environmental impact it has, I’m going to skip directly to three artists who are using it in their work. Each of these practitioners has a very processed based way of working, immersing themselves in the making of their “recycled art”, to great effect. Both David Edgar and Miwa Koizumi have used their materials to create quirky and intricate sea creatures, while Caroline Saul moulds her plastics into entirely new “bulbous forms”.

David Edgar has a 25 year history as a steel artist, and describes his new found fascination with using detergent bottles to create decorative items as a “mid-life catharsis”. Indeed the Plastiquarium itself, is made from a lighter, more fun and colourful material then steel. One can image that using scissors to create these quirky creatures would be much less of a physical endeavour then that required for his previous work.  On his website David outlines the origins of the Plastiquarium as a modern myth where the phosphate levels in the earth result in the emergence of new, synthetic life forms… Fun, and eco-friendly!

Bluetail Reef Cruiser

Pink Aqua Jellyfish Lamp

Reef Floral Details

You can buy David’s work from his Etsy site.

Caroline Saul is a Brighton based artist using objects that might have been thrown away, predominantly milk bottles, to create new materials. Her Bulbous Bulbs, Lamps and Forms are an exploration of “colour, texture, material, patterning, shape and form”. She manages to capture a subtle layering of colour and light in her objects, which is enhanced by the patterns of positive and negative space she creates with her cut-work and re-moulding.

Bubble Sphere Light

Small Bulbous Bowls

Large Conjoined Bulbous vessel

Miwa Koizumi‘s delicate sea creatures are so delightful to look at, that you might forget that they are made from a form of plastic. She has entitled the work PET Project (polyethylene terephthalate) In her statement, she writes “I have started to see garbage as small creatures. Everywhere I go they are waiting for me. I pass by and they want to talk with me.” With this in mind, you might think that, like a wood whittler, Miwa works to release these creatures from the confines of their un-recycled plastic containers. She also links this idea of seeing spirits in every day objects back to her Japanese background, and in doing so is able to relate to her materials and “creatures” as she makes them.

PET Project


PET Project Detail


PET Project


One comment on “Aesthetically pleasing repurposed plasitics

  1. lista de email
    January 7, 2013

    i was very pleased to find this site. i wanted to thank you for this great read!!

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Vicki Clough

Vicki Clough

Vicki is an independent curator and craftsperson with a focus on socially engaged and participatory art and events. In January 2016 she helped launch Reconstructing Resilience, a research and curatorial project that explored various forms of sustainable practice. As a freelance curator she has worked with the Riverdale Hub, Myseum of Totonto/Art Spin and was the Curatorial Director of Figment Toronto from 2014 to 2017. She has also co-curated exhibitions including JAYU's iAM photography project (2016 & 2017), Move to Stillness, for the Harbourfront Centre's Kick Up Your Heels Festival (2015), The Duel, AGO First Thursdays (2014), and What Are You Made Of? OCAD U Graduate Gallery (2013). She initiated the Toronto based workshop model and website Polymers in Action: Socially Engaged Art and the Environment as part of her studies at OCAD University, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. She publishes on anything that interests her deeply and moves her to the point of lengthy verbal expression.

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