365 Days of Fun and Chillaxation – Blog#63 – Inhabit.com’s Sustainable Design Spring Greening Winner: Sarah Turner
Yay! The winner of Inhabit.com’s recent Spring Greening Competition designer Sarah Turner has agreed to feature in my e-book. Here are some questions and answers (that I think may have already been published on inhabit.com) with Sarah, who lives in the UK:
Sarah Turner is an eco artist & designer making beautiful products from waste materials. Her latest creations are decorative lighting products made from waste plastic drinks bottles.
The bottles are collected from cafes and households then they are cleaned and sandblasted. With some clever cutting they are then transformed into decorative forms, totally unrecognisable from their original state.
- Why and How did you become a designer?
I have always designed and made things since I can remember. So when it came to choosing a degree course at university it was clear to me that I should study design. After I graduated I really wanted to continue designing and making my own work so I set up my own business selling handmade products from everyday waste materials. I now have a website selling my products www.sarahturner.co.uk with sales enquiries from around the world.
- What are you currently working on?
I am still designing and making new lighting products made from waste plastic drinks bottles but I do have a few other products still on the drawing board. I would love to design a make-it-yourself kit which would enable people to recycle their own waste at home and make their own creative recycled product.
- When did you start to make lighting from waste bottles? How did you get the idea?
I first started when I was at university when I wrote my dissertation about recycling in design. I decided I wanted to make a product from everyday waste materials. So I set about collecting all of mine and my housemates rubbish and I was shocked at the amount of plastic bottles we used. Plastic is such a damaging material to the environment as well so I did a little research into how much was recycled and found that only 5.5% of plastic bottles are recycled in the UK. So I decided that I would save a few of these bottles from the landfill sites and make something useful out of them.
- What is the most difficult part of making lighting from bottles?
It’s actually quite a difficult material to work with, you have to have a steady hand to cut the bottles up precisely and I have honed the skill over time. You also need a lot of patience as some of the lights take a long time to make.
- Where do you get waste plastic bottles?
I collect the bottles from local cafes and households. Of course as word spread amongst friends and family that I made lighting from the bottles I had many volunteers collecting their bottles and donating them to me. The support I get from people is great, I couldn’t run my business without them.
- Which design is your best you’ve ever done?
I think the Cola lighting range is the best with my signature piece being the Cola 10, named as it reused 10 Coca Cola bottles. The bottles are attached to a base made from recycled card and are secured using their own bottle top. It was one of the first products I made from plastic bottles so it’s definitely the favorite.
- Do you concern about the environment when you design? Which environmental issue concerns you the most?
I definitely am concerned about the environment and it is the main inspiration for my work. The amount of rubbish that goes to landfill site is one of the most worrying things. Here in the UK I think we are a bit behind some other countries with recycling but we have got a lot better in the past few years.
I also find it a bit of a personal challenge, I think anyone could make something from new materials but it’s harder to make something from waste materials. I love to make something from rubbish and people can’t tell it’s made from waste materials. The novelty never wears out seeing peoples shock when they are told of the product’s origins.
- Do you think design could save the earth?
I definitely think design can help the earth and the environment. Newer technologies such as cleaner cars and recycling methods seem to be invented all the time so I think design plays a big part in helping the environment.
365 Days of Fun and Chillaxation (as I raise my gorgeous son and grow my good news website to a subscription base of 100,000 people). The Low Down on this Blog.
Check out yesterday’s blog.