Monday, 19 October 2009

Plastic craft

My friend Belinda just emailed me about a upcycling mastermind she's come across at Contemporary Applied Arts...

Raised by parents of the ‘waste not, want not’ generation, artist Kristina Kitchener was encouraged from an early age to re-use and recycle. Her current work is a reflection of this upbringing – it is concerned with redesigning and transforming the physicality of the most mundane of materials, giving them new form and purpose. In coaxing ornament from the ordinary she provokes a re-assessment of their value and beauty.

Anyone who can make a covetable necklace (above) or brooch (below) from carrier bags is the kind of lady I want to know. Upcycling, she explains, is at the heart of her creative endeavours:

"My knitting is usually done with cocktail sticks, or small off-cuts of a bamboo blind from our last home. (I knew they would come in handy one day!) My ironing is done on my mother's ironing board, which was bought in 1952 and has a seat attached - very comfy with a cushion! I often use household objects to create shape and form, such as a cereal bowl or large spoon to make a curved surface. I also use various textile scraps to create surface texture. I have been investigating the re-use of findings (brooch pins, ear wires, etc) from discarded jewellery in charity shops, rather than buying new, in order to continue the 'leftovers' concept. And I try to either make my own packaging, or re-use unmarked boxes, hair gel pots, plastic fruit boxes..."

Where can you see her work? CAA is a registered charity promoting British craft and for 60 years has been the premiere exhibition and retail venue for learning about, appreciating and purchasing contemporary craft. The organisation offers dedicated exhibition and retail space across two floors with a changing programme of shows and associated events. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, closed on Sundays.

Contemporary Applied Arts, 2 Percy Street W1T 1DD, 020 7436 2344

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