20.1.21 Natural fibres and decomposition
There are 3 reasons I want to find out more about decomposition. Firstly, because of the antagonism to the Wishing trees; some people were unhappy about what they saw as ‘all that plastic that would become litter’. So, I wondered what I could use for a different kind of participatory project? Something that would decompose naturally and leave little or no trace.
I know that the original Cloutie trees were adorned with strips of cotton which will eventually decompose, but is there something that decomposes more quickly and fully? I quite like the idea of an ephemeral installation.
I’m also thinking about applying to a call out for a sculpture garden, ie whatever materials I plan to use need to be weather resistant, or maybe they could decompose over time, so that the sculpture changes as the seasons change. It might be rather too conceptual an idea for a commercial outdoor sculpture show, but I like it!
The third, and probably the main, reason is that I’m conscious of making ‘stuff’ using materials that won’t decompose:
Wool I think wool will, so maybe I could carry on using that? However, if I’m trying to make my practice more sustainable, buying Cascade 220, which is imported from Peru is definitely not great. Also, it appeals to me because of its stunning range of colours, but I have absolutely no idea about the dyeing process. I suspect it’s not at all environmentally friendly, sadly. I must knit something and leave it outside in the elements and document what happens. It might felt, it will definitely fade….
String I wonder about trying various kinds of string – cotton, jute, sisal, flax. Again, I could knit some samples and leave them outside to see what would happen.
Bioplastics I follow a couple of artists on Instagram who are exploring the use of things like kombucha, scoby and mould - Matthew Gale and Kerry Lewis. I think I need to find out more about this too.
Dissolvable thread I suppose this might be what is used for the dissolvable stitches that are used in present day medical operations.