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The Best Of British Trash/Art

Fri, 9 Aug 2002

The Best Of British Trash/Art

Used tea bags, plastic milk bottles and empty sardine tins hardly seem inspirational materials for artists, but for one group of designers and craftspeople in Britain today these abandoned materials are the starting point for a whole new creative expression. The fascinating results can be seen at Te Manawa in Reclaimed: Recycling in contemporary British Craft and Design, opening on 17 August.

Responding in a witty and innovative way to the environmental issues that concern us all, a new generation of British artists have been incorporating recycled materials into their work. The results, which range from the quirky to the downright stunning, reflect their opinions on global issues without ever resorting to preaching.

Curator Kate Woodall comments, "This is a humorous exhibition with a serious intent. With consumer waste as their muse, these artists ask questions, poke fun and extend the boundaries of what has traditionally been seen as art and craft."

Dubbed the "New Alchemists" in the mid 1990s, the artists have been metaphorically turning garbage into gold through their imagination, resourcefulness and fresh approach to design and contemporary craft.

Many of the makers featured in the exhibition have established themselves within their own fields of expertise which range from basketry (Lois Walpole) to furniture making (Jane Athfield, Michael Marriott), and jewellery (Brigitte Turba). Other makers such as Justine Smith, Evy Saunders, Vicki Govan and Richard Warner have emerged more recently, setting up their own businesses, exhibiting in top contemporary craft fairs such as Chelsea Craft Fair in London.

Reclaimed: Recycling in contemporary British Craft and Design is showing at Te Manawa from 17 August to 6 October 2002.

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