Reverse Alchemy: Determining the Oil Content in Synthetic Fabrics
I have melted a series of fabrics to determine their materiality. ‘4 garments’ constitute 3 polyester fabrics and one viscose. The synthetic fibres have melted whilst viscose, a cellulose fibre, burns. People assume that cellulose fibres are preferable to synthetic oil based fabrics, but it is not so easily defined, as viscose fibres require a neurotoxic solvent, carbon disulphide to process the fibres. For those processing these wood pulp fibres, it can cause often fatal neurological disorders. Bamboo is unfortunately no better, with the chemicals required to process it, so toxic, it is forbidden to be processed within the USA.
By melting these fibres I have created a material, representative of what geologists now identify as ‘plastiglomerate’, indicative of our anthropogenic impact on our planet.
Work inspired by Kate Raworth's Economic Doughnut Theory
We need to live within our planetary boundaries, a ‘safe and just place for humanity’. But we’re clearly overshooting our ecological ceiling, which is triggering climate change, biodiversity loss…
We also need a social foundation upon which we can all live; food, (clean) water, a right to (affordable) housing, an education, social equity… With a shortfall of these basic human rights, there is deprivation, which leads to mass migration and conflict (which many are now experiencing).
‘We’re persuaded to spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to make impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about’. Tim Jackson. UK Economist. 2010.
Smaller 12" doughnuts for sale as part of my Green Grads' involvement with Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, December 2022, Manchester.
#Buy Less. Buy Better. Buy Handmade. For more information : email@example.com
Flax : Oil
Flax is a regenerative, carbon sequestering natural fibre that has traditionally made linen. Production of this fibre no longer exists within the UK although measures undertaken by the HomeGrown HomeSpun organisation in Blackburn are aiming, and striving to revive this once thriving tradition. The pivotal organisation driving transformational systemic change is Fibreshed, based in America. It has now become an international movement. Here I have planted flax seedlings on a bed of oil, its bi-products in the form of plastic sheets and synthetic fibres with the regenerative symbolism of flax as a symbol of hope. Its geological strata is a metaphor for how oil should remain securely in the ground.
Fast Fashion Statistics
Booklet. 20 pages. A3.
Currently riso printed & hand-bound as a limited edition of 200
This booklet brings together voices of environmentalists, activists, economists, social anthropologists, writers, scientists, politicians and NGOs, with facts and images, that directly tells the story of fast fashion’s global impact on the environment and workers. Cheap | Trendy | Disposable & Damaging.