Friday, 28 November 2014

Did you know? #11

Did you know that plastic bottles can be recycled into clothing?

The video below from Recycle now shows how the bottles are sorted and recycled.


Once the material is broken down it can be spun by clothing companies such as Patagonia.


 
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Lifebuoy

Last weekend I went to Jersey in the Channel Islands ... on the ferry ... in November.  I kept an eye on the weather forecast with trepidation, the few days before we were due to travel saw some interesting wind and rain.  It wasn't that I was concerned the ferry would be cancelled and we wouldn't be able to enjoy a lovely break, more that the sea would be choppy and the ferry wouldn't be cancelled.

Luckily, the worst of the weather cleared and we were left with a 'swell' in the Channel consisting of waves of only two and a half metres.  Ha! that seemed big enough for me (and the many people with green-coloured faces making good use of the plastic-coated paper sick bags).

A ferry, like all other water based vehicles, is governed by many laws relating to safety.  One of these laws is to carry a number of Lifebuoys such as the one in the picture below.


These life preserving devices are designed to be thrown out to a person who has fallen overboard.  The ring is lightweight and floats, this helps the person in the sea to stay buoyant.  The ring, which  is probably made of polyethylene, also has a floating rope attached.  This rope, likely to be made of polypropylene, floats because it does not absorb water as a traditional rope would, this would make it heavy and it would eventually sink, potentially taking the person down with it.  

When used properly the person on the boat throws the ring to the person overboard, whilst holding onto the rope.  The person being rescued can then take hold of the ring, or put it over their shoulders so that it sits around the body under the arms.  The rescuer will then pull on the rope and drag the person back to safety.

The ring is brightly coloured so that it can be easily seen in the water during the day and has reflective tape allowing it to be seen at night.  It is one of those objects which is reassuring to see but you hope never to have to use it or see other people in need of it.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 24 November 2014

BXL photographic archive #0075

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a Routeman Mark II


To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--0435

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 21 November 2014

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Our first Student Creative


I am in the second year of my BA Fine Art degree at the Arts University Bournemouth and am delighted to have been appointed as the first Student Creative at the Museum of Design in Plastics. Over the next 20 weeks I will have the opportunity to research and create artwork in response to the collection, culminating in an exhibition of my work alongside the objects that have inspired me.

This is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more about the museum collection and explore ways in which I could incorporate plastic as a material into my practice in the future. I really enjoy investigating materials and everyday objects and also experimenting with printmaking techniques. My initial idea for the project is to make a print based on a selection of objects from the collection. I am also planning to make an artists book that will be inspired by the versatility of plastic as a material and seems to be fitting given that the Museum is located in the AUB library.

I am now starting my research, but my first task will be to set some boundaries for myself, as with over 12000 items there is so much choice! I am aiming to select some objects that reflect the history of design in plastics through the decades and the different ways that plastic is manufactured as well as the variety of objects in the collection. I will be recording details about their manufacture, form, material, size, colour and texture, and also making studies and photographing each object ready to start working on my designs. 


Here are some examples of my previous work:


East Avenue, 2014. Relief print made from latex cast.

Butterfly, 2013.  Etching (plate made using old credit cards).

Chair, 2013.  Linocut.

Tree Bark, 2014.  Relief print from latex cast.


Carrie Mason (Student Creative)

http://www.carrie-mason.weebly.com

Monday, 17 November 2014

A different view #2

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.


Title: Umbrella rain hat
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Unknown
Object number: AIBDC : 0_6589
 

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Did you know? #10

Did you know that we say plastics instead of plastic?

We say plastics because we are talking about a group of materials with varied properties and uses rather than a single material.

MoDiP explored some of the most common plastics materials in our exhibition Polymorphia. 


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator) 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Stock en transit


17 July-18 October 2014, Rue Sault-au-Matelot , Quebec City, Canada

On a bright October lunchtime, after visiting the Museum of Civilisation in old Quebec City, Canada, the walk along the neighbouring street Rue Sault-au-Matelot proved to be quite a colourful experience. This quiet street of private homes and small shops was punctuated by a series of plastic objects clustered together and hanging from the walls of the buildings. Large plastic objects such as dustbins, children’s toys, chairs and buckets appeared - as if they were ejected from the very stone surfaces they clung to. Clean, bright and bold plastic shapes emerged along the street and the objects seemed to enjoy their time in the autumn sunshine. 




Stock en transit (Stock in Transit) - Les Passages Insolites (The Unusual Passages) 
images taken by Kirsten Hardie
The vibrant plastics, everyday items grouped together in dynamic form, were presented as a series of art installations. The clusters of objects looked playful and appeared to tumble from the buildings. The plastic items arrested the attention of passing pedestrians (mainly cruise ship passengers from the ocean liner moored at the nearby waterfront ) and contrasted sharply with the traditional street of old Quebec - a city that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A poster on a wall explained the presence of a plastic canoe, sandpits, wheelbarrows and watering cans. The poster’s text identified:

With a pinch of irony Stock en transit (Stock in Transit) playfully brings together an impressive number of colourful objects from our familiar surroundings. These polymorphous sculptures question the elusiveness of things as well as our tendency towards excessive consumption and hoarding of diverse objects, especially in the summertime.

The poster identified the work as that of Argentinian born artist José Luis Torres and explained:

EXMURO arts public, in collaboration with the Ville de Quebec, is proud to present its new project of intervention in a public space. The project brings together professional visual artists and collectives of architects from the Quebec City area to deploy intriguing ephemeral installations over six sites. Guest creators have produced unprecedented works that playfully bring the neighborhood [sic] to life while questioning our relation to the world and the urban public space. Their work reflect the strength and boldness of Quebec City artists.

This artist’s work presents a powerful celebration of plastic perhaps. The common objects that usually offer functional value are given space and time to speak to viewers in a different way. Their very plastic forms shape the dynamism of the displays.

Jos̩ Luis Torres does indeed pose questions through this work. Do we overlook the quality of the forms and the qualities of plastic in our use of everyday items such as watering cans? May be we do hoard such items Рmany a shed, beach hut and garage houses such items.

The familiar shapes and bold primary colours of the plastic objects that this artist uses presents an interesting conundrum when encountered in such a historic setting. Surprisingly perhaps the beauty of the items shines through and the installations - as interventions in a public space- pose playful engagement for the passer-by.

For further information please see: http://www.passagesinsolites.com/en




Dr Kirsten Hardie (Guest Blogger)

 

Dr Kirsten Hardie is a National Teaching Fellow and Associate Professor at the Arts University at Bournemouth. Kirsten’s love of plastics and notably kitsch design features in much of her research and pedagogic work. Kirsten’s interest in object-based learning (OBL) underscores many of her key learning and teaching and research activities. Kirsten happened to come across Stock en transit - Les Passages Insolites whilst attending the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in Quebec City.

Monday, 10 November 2014

BXL photographic archive #0074

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a coil of polyethylene pipe.


To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--038514

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)