Guest Blog post by Konstantina Pyrnokoki.
Imagine a world where every little thing we use has a significant value, not to be irrationally expended, but reutilised, instead, so that it keeps on giving on many different levels, serving a distinct purpose every time. That almost utopic notion can actually be applied first and foremost to seemingly dispensable clothes and materials. And as it turns out, we can very much use the latter to create the former from scratch!
One such reusable material is plastic and there are already a few craftsmen out there who dare to turn it into the foundation of lovely fashion collections or any other sort of artistic creations they have in mind. Josh Blackwell is one of those people, having been collecting discarded plastic bags from streets, cupboards and cars for more than 15 years. He then goes on to intertwine these with colourful wool yarn, silk thread and patterned cloth to create amazing embroidered pieces, which have very little to do with the generic appearance of plastic and more to do with inspired abstract compositions, in all possible shapes, varying in texture and colour.
Influenced by the work and theories of many different artists and great thinkers, from Italian futurists to American South native artists, Blackwell aims to address today’s pressing issues of consumerism and its effect to the environment through his artworks, experimenting with various forms of art.
His latest series of transformed plastic bags, known as ‘Neveruses’, have been incorporated into collaborative installations, photographs, performances and dance projects that further explore the idea of recycling as well as the limitless potential of plastic. Blackwell’s Neveruses Report Progress installation is a manifestation of all the above, giving us a small glimpse into his eco-sensitive way of thinking.
But Blackwell is not the only one ‘thinking plastic’! Numerous brands around the world have employed similar techniques to turn plastic bottles into clothes, such as Renew Merchandise, Unifi and Thread. G-Star Raw also launched a clothing line, called Oceans, in 2014, made entirely out of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.
So perhaps we should think twice next time we toss away a beer bottle; it could be a gown in disguise.