Plastiglomerate, the fossil of the present.

Plastiglomerate is a term that was proposed by Patricia Corcoran, Charles J. Moore and Kelly Jazvac for a stone that contains mixtures of sedimentary grains, and other natural debris (e.g. shells, wood) that is held together by hardened molten plastic. .

A cutting from the National Geographic with one of the first Plastiglomerate stones found on Kamilo Point Beach, Hawaii.
My plastiglomerate samples picked up in Hawaii.
Melted bottle from Kamilo Beach, Hawaii
Melted plastic from Kamilo Beach, Hawaii.
A melted mess of plastic and rocks.
Painting from still life – interesting rocks with different materials in them.

For our exhibition pieces Louis Thompson and I developed different ideas on how to represent these strange fossils using traditional glass cane techniques used by Murano glass chandelier makers to create the pieces of discarded fishing rope.

initial sketches for the Plastiglomerate pebbles, encasing pieces of fishing rope.
Louis making glass net ropes (and yes, all that waste went into our subsequent pieces)
Plastiglomerate glass pebble tests.
glass plastiglomerate test
Hot glass block with rope set inside.
Sketchbook collage studies for glass Plastiglomerate pebbles

The final faceted glass rocks contain the representations of cut knots from discarded fishing nets and ‘plastic shards’ etched and enamelled with details taken from found ocean plastic pieces.

A glass plastiglomerate pebble

The Plastiglomerate pebbles featured in the ‘Broken Ocean’ installation at Collect Open, Spring 2019. See separate post on this full piece.

Getting clay under the fingernails* (drawing and creating again)

In recent years I have re-discovered my love of drawing, collaging and generally loosening up and developing ideas in sketchbooks. It started with a New Years Resolution a few years back: to fill up all the unfinished sketchbooks from all the years since art college (I have a habit of acquiring beautiful sketchbooks with the ambition to fill them up straight away). I am still filling working on this (and starting new ones). Here are some random pages from them.

Letterpress sketchbook studies for Climate posters.
Pages from my Berlin inspired sketchbook using billboards and letterpress.
Black ink carbon sketch (working with carbon black pigment (black bear carbon) extracted from discarded tyres.
Fishing rope tangle study, love these greens.
Fishing buoys painting study. These turned into glass buoys in a chandelier.
Painting bits of old rope.
Where I was painting bits of old rope (and where I found them).

I now always take a sketchbook with me when I travel. It’s better than a camera for memories for me.

Canadian view from a mountain top.
The rock formation on this beach in the Basque area of Spain was very satisfying to draw.
Beach sketch, Lekeitio.
Surfers and buildings at Biarritz.

When I was pitching for work I did a lot of live sketching at Philadelphia Zoo, drawing the animals quickly, then going back later to finish.

Three monkeys swinging on a rope, backs to the audience.
The Giraffe at Philadelphia zoo
The Hornbill playing with a nut at Philadelphia zoo

I am still working on my life drawing of people and drawing glassblowers is particularly challenging. It is like choreographed movement as they constantly move with the molten hot glass.

Life drawing glass blowing
Painting from still life on black poster paper – interesting rocks
Pages from sketchbooks (studies of beach plastic and collage).
Pages from sketchbooks (beach pollution and fishing hooks and rope).
Collage studies for glass Plastiglomerate pebbles.

I will be posting my drawings and books done for the glassblowing and collaboration work with Louis Thompson on a separate blog as they make more sense together and there are loads!

* thanks to Grayson Perry for this quote.