A Sea Of Plastic


As I am originally from Cornwall, I have been very aware of the harm that plastic does to the environment and in particular in  the sea and beaches. Several articles have been in the new this past year surrounding this issue. For example a whale that was found on the coast of Norway with over 40 plastic bags in its stomach, which had led to its malnourishment and eventual death.

Another, was the effect that plastic micro beads and micro- fibres have on our seas. The use of micro-beads in body and face washes as exfoliants has caused these tiny pieces of plastic to enter the seas through water systems, similarly micro-fibres of synthetic fabrics from clothing have entered the water from washing in washing machines.  Micro fibres are then being consumed by sea life, starting with smaller organisms that then get eaten by larger ones, and so on, meaning that the micro fibres make their way up the food chain. These fibres are seen to be poisonous to the animals due to the plastic materials they are made from.

For my Research I decided to look at pieces of visible plastic found on the shores of beaches as this was an easily accessible way to record my findings. I was inspired by the work of Hanna Tofts.  She has created a book called PLASTIC SEA, which is an artistic documentation of sea pollution, in the form of a book. I liked the way that Tofts has created a visually appealing way to display an issue that people may ignore. Her imagery is bright, imaginative, emotive and quirky, appealing to both younger and more mature audiences. It also promotes awareness of the issues surrounding disposal of plastic- which is the important message. I think that using more innovative ways to introduce sustainability awareness is a key point in reaching a larger audience, and educating them on the issues surrounding the use and disposal of plastics today.                  

Tofts, H. (2018) PLASTIC SEA / ART DOC / CREATIVE BEACH CLEAN: THE BOOK Available at:  http://www.hannahtofts.com/plastic-sea-art-doc-creative-beach-clean-the-book/ Accessed: 2 January 2018).

For my attempt at documentation of plastic pollution, I went to a beach on the coast of North Cornwall. I picked up 60+ pieces of plastic. This was only a fraction of what I saw on the beach too. There was so many smaller pieces of plastic that I would not usually stop to acknowledge, but this time I did, and was surprised at the range of objects I found. I found parts of pens, sponge balls, a tampon, string, bottle caps, part of a balloon and a bead, just to name a few of the more recogniseable pieces. This demonstrated to me how relatable this issue of plastic pollution is and how common/recognisable  so many of these  items would be to the majority of the public. I decided to arrange these items into colour groupings to create visually attractive images. This is an attempt to catch the eye of a viewer to make them question the origin of the objects. I have also experimented with adding in wording.