What's in my bin?

In the last few years I have done SO much soul searching about being a maker of 'things' when the planet is so burdened with STUFF. I have written about this before, but long story short; making things lights me up and I think the world would be in a much more terrible place if all the artists stopped making stuff and left all the room for big manufacturers who care little for the impact they are making.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurma

Since having a crises about my lamps being made of virgin plastic I have been on a personal quest to see if I could make them out of something else. I joined the Making Design Circular membership and among lots of other benefits is a Tuesday lunchtime co working session (I am writing in it right now, knowing that on my laptop are the little faces of my cohorts who are also working on their environmental goals) and over the weeks and months I have been researching materials and ideas. I've discovered some amazing people doing amazing things out of all sorts of weird stuff (for instance fish scales, fungi and seaweed) but I haven't yet discovered an alternative for me.

I KNOW that people who buy my lamps cherish them and I also offer a lifetime replacement of parts service so we can keep them shining for a long time to come. But even though I am not making a throw away, single use plastic product, I still have a problem with what I throw away. 

So, last week in the 90 minutes of our co working session, after meaning to do it for MONTHS I raided my bins to see if I could create something new with my waste.

The sun was streaming in and with the fervor of a mad professor I just played, chopping up bits of paper and plastic, layering patterns and letting the light shine through things!

This a bit of card leftover from cutting seaweed in my paper pebble set. 

These are left over from cutting out catkins for the spring posy.

Admittedly I do have a lot of interesting shapes in my bin!

All of these experiments reminded me of when I was first designing my lamps 25 years ago. There would always be a strange structure on my desk with a light bulb dangling in it waiting for the next moment of inspiration to strike.

This little lamp is made from a laminate off-cut coiled inside the middle of a finished roll of paper tape. The forget-me-nots are laser cut from the back of a postage label that hadn't filled the whole A4 sheet. I think it has potential.

I was so engrossed in play that Virginie's little voice coming from my laptop, telling us the session was over was like someone waking me from a dream! I had been completely lost and absolutely in my flow. I wondered why I had resisted going to that place for so long. I guess because I already have a finished 'perfected' product it's kinda hard to go back to creating something unrefined. But play comes first, refinement later. As I describe in our film THE DREAM, my first lamps 25 years ago were not 'refined' but they kept whispering to me. "Keep playing, keeping playing, this is going to be something."

I'm going back into this play zone again soon. I'm not sure if I'll be able to incorporate the Nakd bar wrapper but maybe next session I'll try! Watch this space.

p.s If you see any bits that are of interest to your design process, let me know. Little strips of translucent plastic? Strips of thick kraft board? Laminated parchment circles that come out of the hole punch? The paper backing from sheets of stickers? If you see a use, give me a shout.

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Hannah Nunn

Welcome to my blog

I'm Hannah Nunn, designer/maker of papercut lamps, wallpaper, window film and laser cut 'treasures' all inspired by the beautiful details of nature. Find out what inspires me and join me for walks in the woods and other adventures...


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