As a designer I’ve spent the last two decades fascinated by the way advances in manufacturing have blithely generated waste as a by-product of consumption.
I investigate materials through creative processes and collaborations. I use waste as a raw material; creating ink from carbon recovered from tyres and vessels from waste glass. I learn through environmental science and teardown to uncover; dismantling shoes, laptops, oil rigs etc and I analyse through the lifecycles and the data (being the first designer to be awarded chartership in waste management). I am a design garbologist; investigating why design encourages wasteful habits”.
I am an unusual mix of creative campaigner and design agitator. I have worked in the design sector for over 20 years and currently flexing my creative muscles once again. I was Director of Circular Economy and before that, Co- Director of Design in the Action Research Centre at the RSA where I founded and ran The Great Recovery project for four years. I have been working in the fields of sustainable design, behaviour change and material process through my design agency, Thomas.Matthews since it begun in 1997 as a partnership with Kristine Matthews.
Alongside collecting plastic debris from the edges of the seas I have assisted global businesses and UK government organisations to define the role of designers within discussions around waste streams, resource efficiency and circular economies. I do a lot of campaigning work and over the last decades I have founded a number of social enterprises with aims to advance the design industry’s capacity to respond to environmental challenges through knowledge sharing and investigation.
All the things I do fuel my curiosity about why things are the way they are. I say enough of talking we need action, investigation, exploration and innovation. I like the ‘it may not work, but goddammit let’s try it’ mentality and I know that good design thinking is key, as well as asking the right question in the first place.
This site pulls together past articles, blogs and images that have, until now been scattered around the globe and internet and my current work. There is a theme somewhere.