Object, Material Study
May 2022

In reaction to today’s throw-away culture, I seek inspiration from the past as I search for ways to be more resourceful, make for longevity, and treat our materials as agents from their raw to their recycled form. The piece is fashioned from renewable and wasted sources serves as placemat for dining directly upon or for wrapping food to take to go. It can be gently washed and if treated well will last far longer than standard single-use plateware. Two simple utensils are used for wrapping. I created this piece from bioplastics, which I made from, orange peels, onion skins, avocado peels, alginate, glycerin, and discarded wool, & two wooden utensils

I created this conceptual artifact for the group exhibit, Crafting the Anthropocene, whereby I and three other designers interpreted the future of craft and cuisine. Drawing inspiration from ancient knowledge and traditional craft processes, we take this moment to reflect on how these traditions can be used to imagine and speculate on the rituals of our future. Each exhibitor focuses on a local indigenous craft processes or traditions from their home countries (Korea, India, the Netherlands, & the United States) and pair them with a weak signal present in that part of the world in order to create a speculative tool based on the rituals of food. Together we re-interpret our craft traditions, and food rituals in the context of our current present and our futures’ weak signals.

Textiles tell stories. They require time, patience, and good conversation. I drew inspiration from three textile traditions that find their roots in my home country, the United States. I looked specifically at Native Navajo Nation’s Chief blankets, American Amish quilts, and the quilts of the African American women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. These three traditions, although deeply divided, share underlying similarities. With each stich of their bold geometries, they strengthen their communal bonds and manifest collective care in a material form; a blanket. Today, we are losing the link between material and community. We pave our planet with plastic. The U.S. produces more plastic than any other nation. We have become obsessed with a material that pollutes our streets, soil and water systems. We lust for toxic objects that are designed to last one use and to live on the top of a trash heap for thousands of years. We are leaving a mark on the geological record while leaving the traditions, health and well-being of our brothers and sisters behind. As we craft for the anthropocene, I propose a speculative future scenario, “in 2122, our petroleum reserves have been depleted. Resources of all kind have become scarce. We transform waste into materials for fabrication and we craft emphemeral, natural plastic replacements.” This scenario informs the artifact, Sewn to stay, Sewn to go. The Crafting the Anthropocene display is part of a larger group exhibition titiled CON-serve.