Since 2014 I have been working with plastic bags, developing a technique to turn used plastic bags into jewelry art. The process involves a clothes iron and a soldering iron and happens by hand from start to finish, mainly using the thin, translucent plastic bags one gets when buying vegetables in the supermarket.
In the Herbarium series I have created necklaces full of pale leaves which losely imitate the leaf forms of certain plant families – hence the names Tropaeolum, Aponogeton, Hedera.
Some ideas behind this:
The juxtaposition of the time it takes to form oil from decaying organic material (and plastic from oil) versus the time we usually use a plastic bag before discarding it (sometimes mere minutes), by giving this “sometimes-been-oil” back the form of an organic material.
The permeation of our world by plastic waste, as certain studies have found that virtually every part of our world, from the oceans to the inside of our own bodies already contain micro plastics, and we are not sure about the consequences this might have in the future. How big a part of some plants is plant, how much is plastic? Also, as some organisms are already able to biodegrade certain plastics (mealworms, wax moth larvae), what if others start to use it as corals use calcium?
The displaying of the necklaces in old entomology boxes poses another question. Are these, following the narrative above, curious finds from the real world, a new life form that has evolved to use the plastic in the environment? Or may these be a new human invention, a plastic plant, as lush as the original but pale and lifeless ghosts, to replace the vanishing species around us?
And, logically, I display them because I have my own opinion about plastics. Without it, civilization as we know I wouldn't exist. It is an extremely versatile material and in some places we cannot do without it. So why waste it on something like plastic dishes and plastic bags?
With diligence and time it takes to craft this “trash” into jewelry I want to draw attention to this material and question how it is used and mis-used.