As an artist and educator, much of my work is site-responsive. I like to with both the community from the area my job is based on and use recycled materials from the site too.
Recently I worked with children from a local primary school to create this beautiful installation of rainbow trees. Initially, I asked the children and staff to bring in any non-recyclable plastics they had at home or in school.
From my experience as a parent, I know the inevitability of finding broken and discarded plastic toys taking up space in cupboards, let alone plastic milk carton tops and other items it is hard to dispose of sustainably.
When enough plastic had been collected, I sorted it in color order and drilled holes into some of the pieces to enable the children and myself to attach the plastics to chicken wire. Then, I worked with each class on a different colored tree, using cable ties and wire to connect them.
I talked to the children about the importance of thinking about what happens to an object after it has been used and whether we need many of the plastic items that seem to break so easily. We also discussed different trees, their shape, and size, looking at those near the school which influenced me in my original designs for the installation.
My input depended on the age and ability of the children, with their ages ranging from 5 to 11. All in all, it took about two weeks to complete.
The resulting installation is even better than I had hoped; it is sited on one of the school’s perimeter fences, and when the sun is shining it illuminates the plastics, so they almost look like stained glass!