‘Controversial’ plastic artwork to go on display at exhibition at Sheffield's Botanical Gardens

‘Controversial’ artwork made of plastic will go on display as part of an exhibition at Sheffield's Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 6:00 am
South Yorkshire based artist Christina Stephens-West, who will be showing some of her plastic sculptures at the annual Art in the Garden show at Sheffield's Botanical Gardens.

The sculptures, made by South Yorkshire based artist Christina Stephens-West, will be on display in the annual Art in the Garden show this weekend.

Christina’s interest in plastic started 18 years ago when, as a young mum, she wanted a way to make her bathroom more private yet still allow in light.

She said: “I thought to myself, what can I create to obscure myself from people outside and immediately my mind focused on the Perspex panel in the garage door.”

During the next 12 months, former design technology teacher Christina, conducted heat experiments on a variety of plastics until she arrived at the optimum conditions to create a new plastic process.

She sent her new process to the Patent Office for scrutiny and was granted a British Patent for changing the chemical composition of a thermoplastic resin.

A new plastic process had been born and Christina named the material it provided Castryn. The material has since been used as an alternative to glass by manufacturers, homebuilders and renovators.

Christina said that plastic is a ‘controversial’ material to make art work out of in today's environmentally friendly climate, but said her artwork will not be thrown away like single-use plastics.

She added: “My artistic focus is inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, the art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with the idea that by embracing flaws and imperfections you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. I have destroyed some my own works and put them back together again with this in mind.

“My focus is also inspired by the more ancient Japanese philosophy of Monttainai which simply means ‘don’t waste it’.”

As part of the Art in the Garden show, which runs from September 7 to 8 from 10:30am to 5:30pm, three of Christina's illustrations will be on the Botanical Garden’s Lawn. They will be made of recycled and up-cycled plastic, as well as manufacturers plastic waste off cuts, which have been transformed into art objects that use the Castryn process.

Visit Christina's Twitter page ‘@lcwrococco’ for more.