Design: A load of rubbish: and proud of it

Designers who recycle refuse are at the cutting edge of fashion.
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The Independent Culture
TOOTHBRUSH JEWELLERY and wallhangings made of old letters and buttons - it sounds more Blue Peter than high art, but the concept of recycling has become extremely fashionable - witness the "Buy Recycled" campaign, launched yesterday, and "Reclaimed: Acclaimed New Works in Recycled Design", a Craftspace exhibition currently touring England and Wales.

The notion of creating something beautiful out of rubbish has been embraced by new young designers keen to exploit an endless (on average we produce 52 tons of rubbish each before we die) and usually cheap, resource.

New designer collectables in this medium include: Walter Jack's chests patched together from floorboards rescued from skips; Sophie Chandler's "Litebowl" lamps, glass bowls filled with discarded lightbulbs, a couple of which work; Zoe Hope's wallhangings, made from skeleton leaves, old letters or buttons suspended by raw silk threads; Lucy Casson's sculptures made from reclaimed tin; Birgitte Turba's elegant matt black "Petal" jewellery created out of plastic milk containers that are melted, dyed, cut, bent and then linked with silver and fishing line. Her translucent bracelets, ear-rings and necklaces are made from used toothbrushes, minus bristles; Andrew Hewitt's Metzzo, a decorative composite of glass and cement used to make everything from eggcups to table surfaces and tiling. His "Homage to Booze" tiles evoke the Fifties. Red or Dead has already commissioned a Metzzo floor design.

Contact Walter Jack at 56 William Street, Bristol, BS3 4TY (0117-939 3336); Zoe Hope at Unit 7, Cockpit Yard Workshops, Northington Street, London,WC1N 2NP (0171-916 4437); all other makers via "Reclaimed", currently at Cleveland Crafts Centre, 57 Gilkes Street, Middlesbrough, Tuesday to Saturday, 10-5pm, until 8 November (01642-226 351); then at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, from 21 November (01626- 832 223). For information about tour dates and commissioning work call Linda Strain on 0121-608 6688. Call the "Buy Recycled" campaign on 0870-243 0136