Beachcombing to find flotsam and jetsam that can be turned into objet d’art is a well-known pastime across the world, not least in coastal areas such as the West Country.
But would you wear clothing and accessories created from marine debris that has been dumped in the sea from across the globe?
An artist working with a Devon-based social enterprise company is doing just that by creating fashionable hats and headgear – out of trash fished out of the seas.
And it seems fashionistas across the world don’t think the idea is rubbish as the creations are now so in demand they are to be exhibited at a fashion show in New York.
Mariana Lopez, of Plymouth, is sending her amazing creations to the Trashion Fashion catwalk event in the Big Apple next month. The show is one of three being run in the US in a bid to inspire people to think about recycling and give a platform to artists and designers.
Mariana, originally from Spain, will be contributing some of the hats she has created using items discovered during beach-cleaning sorties in Plymouth and further afield.
She makes the hats to sell and on commission and said: “Everything I use is with the idea of re-use and recycle.”
The organisers of the New York event say they believe in inspiring the community to rethink waste and do this by providing an outlet for youth, artists and designers to use with materials that would otherwise be consigned to the waste stream.
Mariana has been exhibiting some of her creations at the Anglo-Spanish Language School, on the Barbican in Plymouth.
The show features vintage hats transformed with marine debris from around the world, and turned into fashionable creations in Plymouth.
14 vintage hats transformed with marine debris from around the world. An international collaboration.
She will send some of her hats to New York, but sadly won’t be there when they hit the runway.
“I wish I could be there,” she said. “The hats are 100 per cent made in Plymouth, so they are crossing the ocean from here to the US. But I will get to take some of the hats to Madrid where I have had some commissions.”
Mariana is co-founder, along with European Space Agency scientist Dr Manuel Arias, of Plymouth-based social enterprise The Ocean Corner, which was set up to promote Plymouth and its links with the environment. Its aim is to share knowledge, stimulate collaborations, co-ordinate projects and create new business partnerships around the world.
“The ocean unites cultures,” said Mariana who moved to Plymouth 18 months ago from Madrid. “We offer space on our web page for people around the world working with the oceans in a sustainable way.
She said she wants to strengthen Plymouth people’s pride in what she calls “a historically-related sea city”.
She added: “We are on the map of sea-related cities. I’m proud to live and work for a better Plymouth. The landscape is beautiful and there is so much the city has to offer. I want people to be proud of this city.”
“I love this city,” she said. “When you come from outside you see things that other people take for granted.
Mariana is also taking part in an exhibition, in conjunction with the University of Exeter, called From Cowboys to Astronauts at the Teignmouth Arts Action Group from June 12-18.
The show looks at art from waste promoting the concept of a circular economy – a regenerative economic system where materials and energy from products are recovered and put back into the system instead of simply being disposed of.
The idea is that you are on a spaceship with a limited amount of resources on which you depend for survival. Given the scarcity of your resources, you need to think of ways to manage them wisely, and consider minimising waste and re-use.