SPARK: Artist interventions in a time of crisis
SPARK is the first exhibition by members of the SPARK Artists Network, who have been meeting since June 2022. Their monthly events have included guerilla gardening, moss walks, exploring urban and rural ecologies, tours of political sites and exhibition visits.
The exhibition aims to engender conversation and collaboration and foster the cross-pollination of ideas. The artists examine how their interventions can affect change, questioning whether art can be productive with or without overt activism. The exhibition, programme and conversations deriving from them will shape the future direction and plans of the Spark Artists Network.
Rogue Project Space. 2-6 Barrass St, Manchester, M11 1WP. Curated by Sophy King and John-Paul Brown.
Dec 2023 - Jan 2024.
GREEN GRADS are recent graduates of UK universities with ideas to heal the planet.
Exhibiting with them in Victoria Baths, Manchester October 2023.
Grand Designs Live at ExCel Centre, London 2022 & Samsung Experience Space, London, 2022;
Re-purposing discarded duvets to make blinds:
addressing urgent needs for insulation & a circular economy
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.
Melted fabrics to reveal their materiality
Whilst in the laboratory, different fabrics were burnt/melted in order to reveal their materiality; cashere, cotton and polyester. The natural fibres burned whilst the synthethic fabrics melted.
Top left: cashmere, other examples were reduced to ashes.
Top right: a highly inflammable child's football synthetic shirt.
Bottom left: stills from film, the Fabric of Oil.
Bottom right: a synthetic coil revealing plastic.
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. It also clearly identifies our polarised textile system that needs to be urgently reversed.
The perspex box to the left symbolises our current textile system, where 69% of it is dominated by oil, with the remaining 31% being natural fibres. Lazor cut holes create a portal enabling one to look down into the oil below.
The box to the right signifies the projected growth of plastic fibres, which could account for 73% by 2030.
The synthethic layers have been burnt at the top to reveal the melted plastic content.
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.