After some research into my local council in the Rhondda Cynon Taff I came across this Environmental competition called Love where you live and after reading the criteria I felt like that it was something I could apply for so I went ahead and filled in a form. The closing date is 31st of March. I had to fill in a short form and send it away online bellow is my form questions and answers.
What have you/your nominee or project done to improve the environment in the local area?
I attend university at Cardiff Metropolitan in Llandaff and study the Artist Designer Maker Course and the project I am undertaking at the moment is finding ways to recycle and reuse waste materials and transform them into jewellery. I started with my local area which is Pontyclun and upon walking and venturing my local nature trails I found a very beautiful pebbled bay in Pontyclun, Ivor Park on the Ely River. I noticed there were lots of bottle glass and ceramic fragments buried within the pebbles and I thought about how I could reuse them in my practice. I collected as much as I could and took them home. I gave them a clean and I discovered that there were vasts about of glass that was interesting to look at, there was still lettering remaining on some fragments and the colours were still bright and clear. It made me wonder where the glass had come from, how they got there and how they were still intact in some form or other. I enjoy making jewellery and wanted to transform this found trash into something beautiful, so I took my found glass into the university workshops and began sanding and grinding down the edges. I then placed them into the kiln to polish up and soften the edges and finally I fused them to a separate piece of glass. They looked totally transformed and to draw attention back to the location I then added decals on the backs with photographs I had taken at the location. The outcomes look so different and beautiful. I love this idea that makers like myself can discover these found materials which were essentially rubbish and with a little bit of elbow grease and love you can transform them into wearable art. For me its a pleasure to reuse this material because not only am I tidying up this local area from the glass and ceramic shards but I am also reusing it further and creating something really quite beautiful in my practice. I am still ongoing with experiments with the glass and ceramics but I think it would be beneficial to me as a maker and to the environment also if I continue in this process. (contact me to see photographs of the finished jewellery)
How has this improved the local environment?
By sourcing this broken found glass and ceramic I am helping in the cleaning up of local and public trails. The Ely River in Pontyclun is popular for dog walkers/family walking and others and by helping in the cleaning of the pebbled bay I am removing waste and returning the pebbled bay back to its natural state. I understand that the river is quite polluted and even with the small amounts of waste I take away and reuse it is a start to clean up the environment. And by transforming the waste into wearable jewellery it helps promote awareness of pollution in the local environment and hopefully will get people to be more aware of the beautiful local places that are hidden beneath the waste and pollution.
What are the future plans to improve the local environment?
If my project is well received I hope to further my collection of jewellery and venture further down the river and visit other locations where I can collect more waste. I hope to then set up a workshop where others can come along and find materials in which they can also transform and possibly wear themselves. If not I want to make people at least be aware of how beautiful local places like the Ivor Park forest can be. If I can get this awareness then maybe the local government can be more cautious of protecting these natural sites which are so important to the community.
Why do you believe you/your nominee or project deserves to win this award?
I think my project is new and exciting and will raise awareness of pollution and waste within a local area. By creating jewellery from the found material it reduces the waste found and reinvents the use for the glass found. I think its a great way of turning waste into something beautiful and useful again. I think my project will also raise the idea of recycling waste in Art and will hopefully inspire other Artists, Designers or Makers to do the same. I chose the location along the river because it has always been a place close to my heart, as a child I would often venture down there with my parents and explore the natural surroundings and growing up it has been a place I would often walk to, to relax and take in the atmosphere. For me, who has always lived in Pontyclun it is a passion to protect where I live because I really do love it.
The images I sent with my application were: