I’ve been working with discarded materials for about 4 years now. The ‘discarded’ is either rubbish (crisp packets) or unwanted items (an old bamboo blind) I find on the streets around my studio, or on the towpath around my narrowboat, or on rural walks.

I started using these materials as a surface to paint on, then as I became drawn to the materials they became sculptural and I now use them to build installations and as performance props.

It makes sense to me to use these materials directly, when talking about our disconnection to nature and each other.

They are the natural materials around me, found in my habitat. They are the natural waste, amongst the dropped leaves and broken twigs.

I am trying to avoid buying and consuming and I don’t see why it should be any different for my practice.

Using and finding different ways of manipulating each material feels like a kind of poetry. As my relationship with them changes, I return to the material finding different uses for them.

As the process of manipulating discarded materials becomes easier – my dilemma of sourcing and my self discipline around discarded materials becomes stricter.



Pamela Schilderman and I have been awarded Arts Council England funding for our exhibition ‘Fool’s Gold’, opening in January 2020 (January 25th – 14th March) at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

The project, which takes place in Rugby, London, and online, will include workshops, talks, studio visits, live installations, animation, and an article.

‘Fool’s Gold’ will use discarded materials and fairytales to create new sculptures and installations that ask – if all that was left of humanity was the things we made, what would be our legacy?

I will use this space for my ideas as the project progresses, particularly around my use of discarded materials, the importance of this within my practice, the obstacles it creates and my reasoning for it.