If you fancy buying, or seeing, a new piece of art for your home then take a look at The Crossover Project. Founded by journalist Roddy Clarke (who was on a sustainability panel I chaired during Clerkenwell Design Week) and Aurelia Islimye, of the Bleur Art Gallery, the initiative brings together the worlds of art, design and fashion challenging them to produce works of art from waste and surplus materials.
The resulting pieces are on show at The Royal Exchange, London until 8 July and there is a silent auction where you can bid for them as well. The pair have salvaged leftover, surplus and waste materials from design brands, furniture designers, and international fashion houses and given them to a group of emerging artists who have been challenged to help us all look at waste in a new light, transforming the unfamiliar ingredients into bespoke works of art.
And we know work like this is needed to raise awareness as some 87 per cent of clothing ends up in landfill, 141 million tonnes of waste is produced by the packaging industry and eight million pieces of plastic reach the ocean every day, The Crossover Project is helping to provide ideas raise awareness around such critical topics as well as promoting the crucial importance of working towards a more circular economy.
The two-week exhibition will showcase the individual creations allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a sensory art experience while also getting the opportunity to interact with waste stations themselves and creating their own unique piece.
As part of the exhibition, a two-day series of talks and workshops from industry experts will look at different ways in which the creative sectors can come together to be a positive force for change going forward.
A portion of all money raised from the auction will go to the Ellen MacAuthur Foundation.
I have added some of the art to this post and highlighted some of the ideas. Do drop in if you are in the area and if not, you can always place a bid.
Tyler Watson used fabric offcuts from the jeans brand Diesel, paint from Graphenstone and pieces of scrap wood he found to create his paintings and collages.
Sabrine Brouwers has created two large panels using Graphenstone paint on surplus vegan leather to discuss our perception of beauty and asking us to think about how we flush waste hair dye away and the health of the workers in the dyeing industry.
Jemima Sara has again used Graphenstone paints on Diesel offcut denim and stretched her work over a found transportation pallet. She is asking us to think about waste disposal and the dangers of the out of sight out of mind mentality.
There are, as you can see below, many other works that you can investigate via the online auction.
Roddy and Aurelia first worked together in lockdown filming pop up art exhibitions in homes in response to the closure of galleries and this collaboration grew out of that.
“Diverting offcuts, packaging, dead stock, returns and other surplus items from landfill is key in creating a circular economy,” he says. “The Crossover Project is seeking to allow brands to do this easily. And, as artists are always in need of materials to work with, it is supporting emerging talent too.”
It became clear to Roddy, when he worked with Bleur that there was a lack of progress when it comes to sustainability in the art world.
“Recycling paint is problematic, and packaging is an issue, so I felt compelled to think about how, in connecting different industries, ideas and solutions could be shared and reached together. Aurelia had already carried out projects looking at materials including coffee waste and it was a lightbulb moment we had together thinking about her need for materials and my passion to reduce waste within design and fashion.”
And he dares to feel optimistic about the future when it comes to rising awareness from both consumers and brands:
“I have seen shifts in recent years, and we are understanding our impact better than ever thanks to the work of environmentalists bringing it to our attention. We are late in recognising this and still have a long way to go, but I have great hope that change can happen.
“Sustainability as a word has been overused, misconstrued and viewed as a marketing opportunity rather than an inherent business principle. However, I do feel it is harder to get away with such habits now as so many of us are aware of what to look out for.”
When this exhibition ends, the pair is already looking to do it again Aurelia said: “We have already been in talks with other venues who are interested in hosting future editions of The Crossover Project. We also want The Crossover Project to become a platform where brands can donate waste for artists to use. In facilitating this circularity going forward we can not only change industries but also support a diverse and emerging wealth of artistic talent across the city.”
So have a look at the work and see if you can help either by donating materials for artists to use, buying the work or maybe even changing your own habits.
The Crossover Project Waste Partners:
Georg Jensen, Ron Dorff, Diesel, Elle Decoration, Little Greene, Ultrafabrics, LSA International, Graphenstone, Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, Grain, Elephant Magazine, E.L.V. Denim, Fritz Fryer Lighting, Naturalmat.
The Crossover Project Participating Artists:
Emmanuel Unaji, Nicole Chui, Jemima Sara, Joanna Layla, Eva Merendes, Oscar T Wilson, Sabrina Brouwers, Tyler Watson, Sophie Rawlingson amongst others.
A bit of a left-field comment from me. As a gardener, I notice that the vase of flowers in the picture above, look like a generic bouquet from your average supermarket – more often than not grown under glass being artificially heated and lit and then flown hundreds of miles to the UK for sale. There are so many amazing british flower growers who can provide beautiful bouquets all year round, this seems like a missed opportunity, especially for those whose interest is obviously sustainability and waste.
My comment may seem unconnected with this blogpost, but many of us who love our homes often love to have fresh flowers, often not realising the source of these blooms, whether bought from a store or a florist – always ask for british grown flowers if you can or seek out your local flower grower, there are so many across the UK! Okay, you may not be able to get roses in December but there are so many options for flowers, seedheads and foliage all year round.
JENNY M…….re my comment re yours……I got the typing spacing all wrong for your name. Sorry!
absolutely no need to apologize. i appreciate the solidarity !
Well said, J E N N Y M. I couldn’t agree more with your comment. Yessssssssss
thanks for posting this, kate. i do not see how we can continue to constantly pursue newly produced items for our homes. it’s interesting that Elle Decoration is a partner with Crossover since magazines rely so heavily on advertising new products from brands and also feature them so relentlessly in their editorial pages.