We’re back at Platform with ‘The Smack’ for Clerkenwell Design Week 2017…

Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday we were up at Clerkenwell Design Week for the first time with our ‘Ghost Gear Chandelier’ we built in collaboration with the World Cetacean Alliance and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. And here we are – back in May – and heading to Clerkenwell Design Week for the second time with our new iteration of products made from marine litter – ‘The Smack’.

Image result for clerkenwell design week logo

This year, we have utilised 365 plastic sports drinks bottles that were picked up on an SAS supported beach clean we led in February with the Brighton and Hove Eco Supper Club – which was run on the same day as the Brighton Half Marathon.

Now, it has to be stressed that the Brighton Half Marathon HAD organised help to pick up the discarded Lucozade Sport bottles cast aside by the runners, but there were too many bottles and too few people helping too late in the day. Bottles were strewn over the beach and promenade on a blustery day – and we only made a dent in the bottles that we could see.

But even when the bottles were picked up by the organised contractors, they were not being separated – or emptied, so would have been consigned to the local incinerator. As circular economy designers, we were not going to let that happen to the bottles our group had collected, so they were brought back to the studio to be emptied, washed, sorted and re-processed. 

Many, many hours and 7 different processes later, we have created ‘The Smack’ for CDW17 – a series of 30 plastic jellyfish lights made from the Lucozade Sport bottles, which have also just been identified and reported as being the second worse item for recyclability in the UK. This exhibit is to demonstrate exactly how much you have to do to a sports drink bottle to make it re-usable, and how we could start to rethink the material…

So – come and say hi to us at Platform from Tuesday 23rd May – Thursday 25th May – and see ‘The Smack’… 

(and if you want to see our press release and download images, you can do so here…)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 21 – membership to Surfers Against Sewage…

Want to really give a gift that helps do something positive? Well, for the last few of days before the 25th, we have selected gifts that really help a cause, a charity or a movement. First up is a gift membership to Surfers Against Sewage…

Not just surfers and no longer just about sewage, SAS is one of the UK’s leading marine environmental charities protecting the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably, via community action, campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research.

Claire is one of the local volunteer Regional Reps for SAS in Brighton and is incredibly proud to spread the powerful work that the whole SAS community undertakes. Gifting membership to someone really does help support the work of SAS on shores around the UK, plus your giftee will also receive a welcome pack of SAS goodies, 3 copies of Pipeline Magazine a year and member discounts in the SAS shop.

Support the work of SAS and gift a membership to someone who loves our beaches and oceans!

Available through the SAS website here – £4 a month or £48 annually…

(image from SAS)

 

*** EVENT REPORT *** Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series, Brighton…

It seems like barely yesterday we were leading the Brighton and Hove Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage back in April as lead volunteers, yet here we are in October, with Claire as a new SAS Regional Rep and another beach clean under our belts…

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The Autumn Beach Clean Series from Surfers Against Sewage, running across the UK throughout the whole of this week will see over 250 beach cleans completed by thousands of volunteers – taking marine litter off our coasts and into our recycling systems.

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In Brighton and Hove this year we have 5 beach cleans in the diary, and we led the second of the two cleans yesterday from 12-3pm, which was attended by a group of people on their lunch breaks, people passing by and people who just want to see a cleaner beach.

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Even though the temperature has cooled and we are very much out of the main tourist season here in Brighton, there were the usual suspects in our beach clean. Cans, straws, food packaging and of course, single use plastic bottles. Each recyclable element was stripped out of the 12 bags of collected rubbish and sorted to allow them to get back into our recycled material stream.

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But, as with all beach cleans, there were also a few interesting pieces to be seen. A large chunk of cement and rope (that was actually collected from the beach by my dad!) had a bit of an appearance of a heart, or an angel fish, plus we also collected some pieces of aquarium plastic foliage (oh the irony) and even a bright yellow walrus.

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At the end of the clean we all tucked into specially iced Surfers Against Sewage chocolate chip cookies and spoke to the many passers by about the issues. One of our volunteers exclaimed that it was not rocket science – you just walked and picked stuff up… the passers by agreed and many took a small bag to do their own mini beach clean as they walked.

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We look forward to reporting the statistics from all the Autumn Beach Clean Series this year – how many tons of rubbish will be removed – and how many single use plastic bottles were recovered. If we had a deposit scheme for plastic we are sure that there would be infinitely less… *

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(images by claire potter)

*want to join the campaign calling for a deposit return scheme on single use plastic bottled? Check out the SAS Message In a Bottle campaign here

 

New Surfers Against Sewage Regional Rep for Brighton!

A very quick post for the weekend – we are delighted to announce that Claire is to be one of new Regional Reps appointed by Surfers Against Sewage and will be covering the Brighton and Hove area! With the studio specialism and obsession with marine litter, the link up with Surfers Against Sewage is great – and will allow us to do even more with beach cleans and research to protect our beloved oceans.

west pier SAS regional rep

As they say – watch this space for more!

(photo by claire potter)

Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 and May wrap up…

There is little saying which states ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Well, that is May for us. And we made it. With Artists Open Houses each weekend, regular studio work and teaching, May is always rammed, but we decided to pile on the pressure and add on our very first appearance at Clerkenwell Design Week too. Why not.

And it was fantastic. 

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 6

We were based in the old police holding cells of the House of Detention for Platform – a curated show of ‘up and coming design talent’ which showed a mix of mostly furniture and home related products from a fantastic mix of designers. We were there to show and discuss our ‘Ghost Gear Chandelier’, which we created earlier this year for the World Cetacean Alliance and other products which were borne from the plastic related litter we recovered during our Big Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 2

Utilising the Parley A.I.R. principle, (Avoid Intercept Redesign), we created a series of sculptural vessels, woven seat bases and jewellery pieces from waste plastic, netting and rope, which were shown in our little cell alongside the Ghost Gear Chandelier. We had the plastics collected by us and our volunteers on our two hour SAS Big Spring Beach Clean and scattered them in a ‘tide line’ on the sand floor of the cell. We had some beautiful graphics that showed the bubble netting feeding method of the humpback whales and the issues with marine plastic.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 1

We were ready for people to visit and talk to us about the issues with plastic waste, and how, as designers, we sit on the forefront of the battle lines not only with the materials we specify, but utilising stuff at the ‘end of life’. What took us rather by surprise was the incredible response we had to the pieces – from tears of sadness to enquiries of how large we could make a similar piece – ‘would you be able to make it large enough for a hotel lobby…?’ Er, yes. Our base material is, unfortunately, far too easy to source.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 3
remember that 25kg rope we recovered in Hove? 7.5 hours untangling later and some of it becomes a woven seat base…

We could make these chandeliers anywhere in the world – possibly the most depressing product plan we have had to date.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 7

But this was the point. We were there to open peoples eyes to the issues. Make them think. Make them notice stuff. Pick up a few bits when they were on the beach. Refuse that plastic straw. And from the responses we got – from joy, hugs, business cards and emails, to tears and shamed silence – we certainly reached people.

This is why we design.

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 5

And as the three days whizzed by, we found that people were asking what we were going to do next with the project. What were we going to show at Clerkenwell Design Week next year? When could they buy the stuff on show? How could they stay in touch – and how could they help?

marine litter claire potter design clerkenwell design week 2016 8

Well, we think we have found our calling. Expect to see a deeper level of research and a deeper amount of transformation of marine litter into new products at Clerkenwell Design Week next year, hopefully working more with our great partners this year – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance – plus others we have already chatted to…

We truly believe that designers have a great power and great responsibility and need to use it for good. Just like Spiderman, or maybe in our case Aquaman.

Thank you to everyone who visited us. Thank you to our awesome partners – Surfers Against Sewage, Parley for the Oceans and the World Cetacean Alliance. Thank you to Monty Hubble who allowed us to use his drone imagery of humpbacks bubble netting in our info section. And thank you to Clerkenwell Design Week for inviting us to exhibit what is quite a left field thing (and asking us back next year). See you at Clerkenwell next year, and keep an eye on the blog to see how things are developing in the meantime…

(images by claire potter)

***EVENT*** Big Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage…

Each Spring and Autumn, Surfers Against Sewage mobilise thousands of volunteers across the whole of the UK to undertake beach cleans – and this year, we were delighted to be the Lead Volunteers for Hove, organising the Big Spring Beach Clean last weekend. We care very deeply about our environments – global and local – and coupled with our continuing studio research into marine litter and plastics, this was something we just had to do. Big Spring Beach Clean 7Sunday morning dawned bright blue, clear and sunny, which, when you are running volunteer events, is an incredibly welcome sight indeed. With such important causes, you will always get people who will turn up, but the sun certainly helps. By 10am, we were set up on the Promenade behind the Kind Alfred Leisure Centre, with boxes of marine litter we had previously recovered, sets of gloves, a box of homemade brownies and the largest chunk of rope I have ever seen, that we hauled off the beach minutes before. And people arrived – single people, couples, sets of friends, families – even a few passers by who were recruited into the cause too. A quick briefing from Claire about marine litter and it’s global impact, a safety briefing and a tide briefing and people scattered East and West along the beaches of Hove. Big Spring Beach Clean 5

About an hour later, the first of the volunteers popped back, with the first bag of marine litter – a mass of coloured plastic, bits of metal and fishing gear clearly visible through the transparent bag. We chose to use these plastic bags for this very reason – we wanted passers by to SEE what the volunteers were picking up so we could discuss WHY this was an issue and just how big the issue was. Many people stopped to take photos of the bags as they piled up over the two hours of the clean.Big Spring Beach Clean 3

By the ‘official’ end of our Big Spring Beach Clean, our fantastic volunteers had recovered 25 bags of marine litter from the beaches of Hove, weighing an estimated 40-45kg. This was everything from plastic bags, bottles and packaging to fishing gear, bits of single use bbq’s andrandom items. We had a black lacy dress, a pair of broken sunglasses, a baseball cap, knitted pants and one flipflop. Nearly a complete outfit, if a bit random – even for Brighton standards. Big Spring Beach Clean 1

One volunteer decided to just concentrate on palm oil, which we have had washed up in huge quantities recently in Brighton and Hove. These chunks of white fat pose a serious health risk to children and dogs, who can become fatally poisoned if they consume them. Many of the people we spoke to on the prom didn’t know what palm oil was, so this was another great educational opportunity.Big Spring Beach Clean 6By midday, with the wind blowing and the tide coming in, all our volunteers were safely back at our temporary HQ and were thanked with more homemade brownies and one of our Brighton architecture A6 recycled paper notebooks each. Everyone looked rosy from the wind and delighted at our collective efforts. Big Spring Beach Clean 2

A great day. Thank you to everyone who came and cleaned, for those who stopped to talk to us about the marine litter issue and of course, Surfers Against Sewage for getting us all out there for the Big Spring Beach Clean. Watch this space as we use some of the material we recovered in new designs which will feature at our first ever Clerkenwell Design Week exhibition at the end of May…

(images by claire potter)

We’re leading a Spring Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage!

In the latest of our events, we are delighted to announce that we are supporting Surfers Against Sewage and Parley for the Oceans for the Big Spring Beach Clean 2016. We will be leading the Hove Beach Clean on Sunday 10th April, starting at 10am on the beach behind the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove. (we know the poster says the 11th – 17th, but that weekend clashes with the Brighton Marathon, so we are starting early!)

We will be scanning and removing from the beaches all pieces of plastic, netting and general rubbish for two hours, and we would love you to join us from 11am if you are about! Just turn up.

So why do we think, as designers, that this is something we need to be involved with?

Well, we have spoken repeatedly here on The Ecospot about the issues with marine litter, plastic and ghost gear netting – including our most recent project in association with the World Cetacean Alliance which resulted in our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 4

And given that there is an estimated 40 million pounds of plastic floating about in the North Pacific alone – and every piece of plastic, unless we have incinerated it, is still on the earth, this is a huge environmental and health issue for both the oceans and us, as the ingested plastic travels up the food chain. From a designers point of view, this is a huge, barely tapped resource of possible raw materials. This is what really excites us.

So, as well as cleaning up the beaches to reduce the impact of marine litter on both wildlife and humans, the Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Clean is this year being run in association with Parley for the Oceans, who will be recovering the bagged litter for reuse and recycling. As part of our own studio research, we will also be recovering some of the plastic and ghost netting for use in some exciting projects we have in the pipeline – using the Parley A.I.R. strategy of Avoid, Intercept, Redesign.

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We will be releasing more news in the coming weeks about just what we are doing with this plastic we are recovering – and where you can see the resulting pieces and our current research results…

And we  would love you to join us for the Big Spring Beach Clean – if you are available on Sunday 10th April from 11am – 1pm, pop down to the Hove seafront with a sturdy set of gloves and get involved. Look out for me – I’ll be in this t-shirt!

Big Spring Beach Clean t-shirt 2016

Any questions – give us a shout at hello@clairepotterdesign.com

(image by claire potter, SAS and Parley)

 

2015 recap – November – The Global Wave Conference…

Much of our studio research in 2015 was about marine litter – a theme which will continue into 2016 with a couple of very exciting projects in the pipeline. So, it is no surprise that November saw us looking at the Global Wave Conference…

(first published November 17th 2015)

Many moons ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Obsessed with sharks (and their behaviour patterns) I was going to travel the world studying these beautiful creatures and educating people about how they are animals to be admired, not feared. Fast forward a few years and I now study design, not sharks, but this deep connection to the oceans has never left. Living and working in Brighton certainly has something to do with this too, but the deeper we delve into our place as designers in this world, the more concerning we find our global attitude to our seas. It is not only sharks that have a lack of respect. And so, it was with great delight that we happened upon the Global Wave Conference, which, for the first time this year was held in the UK.

global wave conference

Hosted by Surfers Against Sewage (who we support as members in the studio), the three day event featured an incredible line up of environmentalists, researchers, artists, scientists, activists as well as surfers – each with their own observations, actions and concerns about our oceanic attitudes and the impact we have with our consumerist ways. Our seas and oceans reach between us all, across the globe – it’s one thing that truly unites us.

The conference was split into categories, with specialist speakers in each:

Surfing health and tourism

Surfing ecosystems

Climate and surfing coastlines

The surfing economy

Surfing and protected areas

We were gutted to not be there – our studio research has very much been rooted in the ocean plastic and litter issue for a little while, but fortunately, each of the inspirational talks were recorded – and are now available on the Global Wave Conference website, but to get you started, we have selected three of our favourite talks which look in detail at our own obsession with marine litter and what you can do with it – Dr Marcus Eriksen from the 5 Gyres Institute, Jon Khoo – Co-Innovation partner with Interface Carpets and David Stover – Co-Founder of Bureo Skateboards (who we wrote about here)… enjoy.


(images and videos via the Global Wave Conference)

*** REVIEW *** The Global Wave Conference 2015…

Many moons ago, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Obsessed with sharks (and their behaviour patterns) I was going to travel the world studying these beautiful creatures and educating people about how they are animals to be admired, not feared. Fast forward a few years and I now study design, not sharks, but this deep connection to the oceans has never left. Living and working in Brighton certainly has something to do with this too, but the deeper we delve into our place as designers in this world, the more concerning we find our global attitude to our seas. It is not only sharks that have a lack of respect. And so, it was with great delight that we happened upon the Global Wave Conference, which, for the first time this year was held in the UK.

global wave conference

Hosted by Surfers Against Sewage (who we support as members in the studio), the three day event featured an incredible line up of environmentalists, researchers, artists, scientists, activists as well as surfers – each with their own observations, actions and concerns about our oceanic attitudes and the impact we have with our consumerist ways. Our seas and oceans reach between us all, across the globe – it’s one thing that truly unites us.

The conference was split into categories, with specialist speakers in each:

Surfing health and tourism

Surfing ecosystems

Climate and surfing coastlines

The surfing economy

Surfing and protected areas

We were gutted to not be there – our studio research has very much been rooted in the ocean plastic and litter issue for a little while, but fortunately, each of the inspirational talks were recorded – and are now available on the Global Wave Conference website, but to get you started, we have selected three of our favourite talks which look in detail at our own obsession with marine litter and what you can do with it – Dr Marcus Eriksen from the 5 Gyres Institute, Jon Khoo – Co-Innovation partner with Interface Carpets and David Stover – Co-Founder of Bureo Skateboards (who we wrote about here)… enjoy.


(images and videos via the Global Wave Conference)