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For #RefashionPlastic Our Workshop weaves baskets from recycled plastic

by | Jul 16, 2020

Artist and designer Heath Nash, founded Our Workshop in 2016 to create a free-to-use space where 23 members gather, share knowledge and make stuff. Heath first opened the workshop in the centre of Cape Town. A year later it moved to Langa to be closer to where his collaborators live. Heath recognises that for people to explore their creative potential they need the space to play and to learn, the tools with which to freely experiment, a supportive community and access to opportunities for personal and professional growth. Through the up-cycling work they do, the workshop addresses the plastic and waste crisis of our time and social issues like unemployment.

“We turn other people’s trash into money,” says Heath who has exhibited and sold his work internationally.

“Most places in Africa have this problem with litter, but its money on the ground. If trash is used correctly, it can be turned into income. You can make something and sell it; make something useful for your neighbour; see it for something different to what it is.”

To support Our Workshop, please donate here. 

Our Workshop is one of the five design studios involved with Refashion Plastic. For this project the design team created the basket in which the refashioned plastic waste is travelling around the country. They also made smaller gift baskets for the recipients of the basket.

To date, the big basket has been sent to singer and storyteller Zolani Mahola, influential businesswoman Carol Bouwer and the CEO of the Norval Foundation Elana Brundyn. Travelling from person to person are garments made from plastic by VIVIERS Studio, Not Just A Comb, One I AM and Crystal Birch.

We caught up with the Heath to ask about the workshop’s baskets for Refashion Plastic 2020

What was the motivation behind the basket design?

We wanted to experiment with upcycled rPET strapping that was donated to us and to develop a commercially-viable interior product range that could be produced by the members Our Workshop. This basket style can be made in different shapes and sizes for different parts of the home. We usually rely on the waste stream for materials. It was interesting to work with waste which is an industrially manufactured recycled material. This offers potential for future production.

Where did you source the materials?

Our Workshop is based in Langa, where we use design thinking to solve everyday problems using everyday materials, usually waste materials, for people who live here. One of our supporters donated a roll of this strapping to see what we could do with it. The strapping is locally made from recycled PET bottles at Propet, the Cape Town recycling manufacturer that also produces fibre from bottles collected all over South Africa.

Supporting ideas about the design?

Basketry relies heavily on the idea of form emerging from simple materials. The form that emerges from the process of weaving allows air to flow through it, and it’s easily cleaned and sterilised. Baskets are an ancient craft tradition and are multi-functional. This basket reimagines this tradition using recycled waste.

 

  • We’ll be interviewing Heath Nash on Twyg Instagram live on Friday 17 July, 2020 at 1.30pm
  • To support Our Workshop, please donate here. 
  • You can read about the #RefashionProject here.
  • Design collaborator, Crystal Birch here.
  • Design collaborator, Hamzeh Alfaraneh here. 
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