Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Artist Using Bioplastics

As an environmental artist Jacqui Jones from Norwich, UK aims to challenge preconceptions, pushing the boundaries of familiar materials and processes to encourage the public to view the natural world in new ways.

In 2010 an exciting opportunity came her way, as she was asked to incorporate bioplastics into her artwork. The 12 month project called Art and Innovation, was coordinated by The InCrops Enterprise Hub (funded by the Regional Developmental Agency & European Regional Developmental Fund) and The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, UK. The concept linked selected artists with companies creating sustainable products.  Marchant Manufacturing Co Ltd in Haverhill and Cyberpac in Gt Blakenham, supplied Jacqui with a range of biodegradable polymers and she began a period of research and experimentation. This included factory visits to see the manufacturing process of both water-soluble and starch based bioplastics.

The initial project was a series of embryonic sculptures called ‘A Bag For Life’. This work was directly influenced by research into compostable packaging. The sculpted bags are filled with seeds or saplings; each bag has burst as water has been poured on it allowing some of the contents to spill out. Following this Jacqui Jones produced two series of short-term installations entitled Harmless Landscape, one set in the mountains of Snowdonia and another in Thetford Forest, and a series called Presence which considers the long term waste issues associated with conventional plastics and the low environmental impact of biopolymers.

Recent gallery exhibitions include ‘Melt’ in which a figure slowly dissolves as melting ice from above drips onto the torso below. The act of transformation from one state to another is a powerful metaphor for the impact the ice cap melt may have on coastal communities.

This initiative has provided the artist with a platform to show how science and the environment can work in harmony rather than in conflict and she’s subsequently produced a range of creative workshops for community groups, highlighting the benefits of biodegradable packaging.

The project demonstrates how a fusion between arts, commerce and science results in work that inspires, educates and raises the profile of bioplastics. Jacqui Jones would be really interested in collaborating with companies or universities in the development of further projects. She is particularly keen to work with injection moulding, vacuum forming and sheet extrusion techniques and to take part in artist residencies. Organisations that could offer support in any of these areas should get in touch with the artist directly.

Disclaimer: Some images hosted on this blog have been collected from external research associates to be presented as stimulus to those seeking news from the cutting edge of packaging. The imagery is not being presented as our own and copyright still belongs to the owner/creator of said work.

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