A fun and creative family-friendly plastics recycling workshop in Bow Arts’ covered outdoor courtyard with MaterialDriven, a design consultancy and materials library.
This workshop is an introduction into the process of converting household plastic waste, specifically recycled Polypropylene (PP), into a valuable material resource. Designer Tom Meades will guide attendees on how to shred and melt down their own household plastic waste and learn the necessary steps to form this material into a useable product.
At the end of the session, attendees would be able to take home a collection of well-refined objects made using 100% recycled plastic.
Plastic was the great material innovation of its time. Plastic as we know it has only really existed for the last 60-70 years, yet in that time has transformed everything from clothing, cooking and catering, to product design, engineering and retailing. It is light, easily shaped, strong, and inexpensive.
One of the key advantages of plastic at its inception was that it was designed to last, for a very long time. In fact, nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today. And this is now a problem. By 2015, an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of virgin plastic will have been produced, leading to 6.3 billion tonnes of waste. The race is on to find solutions for all the plastic that ends up in landfills, as well as alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastic.
Once discarded plastic is collected, it can take on many shapes or forms as it goes through the process of being recycled, repurposed or reused. Currently artists and makers are experimenting with a range of possibilities, with very different results. However, it is safe to say all are looking to create awareness around the problem we have with excess plastic use, with the aim of encouraging consumers to make better-informed decisions. Recycling plastic has turned into an art-form, from larger manufacturers to smaller makers taking part. The results are full of creativity and have an engaging narrative about the origin of this material.
Tickets £3/5 (concession rate applies to children/under 18s, students, over 65s and Bow Arts artists)
MaterialDriven is a design consultancy and materials library. They focus on innovative materials, their processes of making, and the creators behind them. Working with both established manufacturers and individual makers, we help bring technically advanced and specialized materials to the design industry, and support emerging materials evolve from prototype to product. Our educational arm delivers curated exhibitions, talks and workshops on material innovation, while our commercial arm provides consultancy for designers, brands, hospitality and manufacturers. Our past projects include exhibits and talks at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Design Museum in London, the Royal College of Art, University for the Creative Carts, The Woolmark Company, London Design Festival, the Disruptive Innovation Festival, and Somerset House.
Raw Materials explores the forgotten industrial history of plastic in east London around the River Lea. The exhibition reveals the story of east London's central role in the invention and early development of plastics, showcasing some of the very first plastic objects alongside newly commissioned artwork which tell the story of this material’s remarkable journey. Read more about the exhibition here.
Raw Materials: Plastics has been made possible through the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the project’s academic partner UCL.
Image credit: MaterialDriven