Washed on the beach….. new work in progress

Washed on the beach….. new work in progress

January 28, 2019

I have been looking at washed used thongs on the beach for years! I have always tried to work out how I could use them as a material. What could I make and how would I treat them. What concept would drive me to seek thongs as a material?

Most of the time I just collected them and put them in the bin as nothing was coming to me. Until now!

I have turned into an eco-warrior some time ago. Sure, even my household has still ways to improve. However, we are trying hard to reduce, reuse and recycle so it is just natural that these views and fight against plastic, consumerism, pollution and ignorance made it into my practice and became number one issue I discuss in and with my work.

 

The concept

In the nutshell, it is about the footprint left by human activities which become deadly to other species and to our planet.

 

The challenges

The challenge of this material is that I am dependent purely on what I find. This means that the final look, mostly colours, is still unknown to me. It all depends on what gets to be washed on the beach.

The other challenge is to make something beautiful from something ugly. Sure, some may argue that conceptually it is not necessary to make the final work beautiful. But I would like it to be aesthetically pleasing…..at least to me… as the inspiration for this project feeds from the beauty of Africa.

 

The Inspiration

The inspiration for this project comes from Africa and the very small part of this continent that I got to see. It is because I am here right now (to be specific, I am on Zanzibar Island, Tanzania) and I collected all these thongs from local beach where I go every day to play with my son or to kite. I admire the colours that are present everywhere. Beautiful fabrics are so dominant and everywhere. The way local women wear them is with such confidence and pride. I can’t stop admiring them.

 

The process

The first step after I collect the thongs from the beach is to thoroughly wash them with dishwashing detergent. Sometimes the surface is very slimy and covered with shells. Secondly, I dry them in strong sun. When they are clean and dry I cut them using Stanley knife and metal ruler. Lastly, I will assemble the individual pieces together.

 

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