Recycling initiatives at Kidderminster-based Beakbane have not only reduced the amount of refuse going to landfill, they have also provided the starting point for a talented young artist.

Around 18 months ago, Lynn Bassir, who works in Beakbane’s laboratory, suggested to managing director Mike Southwell that the company should recycle more waste. Mike agreed and gave Lynn the go-ahead to set up recycling collection points in the company’s offices and manufacturing units. The results have been impressive.  Lynn says that half of Beakbane’s waste goes to recycling rather than landfill.

Worcestershire Resource Exchange

Perhaps the most interesting destination for the recycled factory material is the Worcestershire Resource Exchange (WRE). This is a charity that collects waste from local industries and businesses, sorts it, makes sure it is safe and provides it as a low-cost creative resource to local groups and individuals through its ‘Scrapstore’ in Worcester.

Beth Hill of the WRE explains: “We have over 1,000 members – including schools, Brownies, child minders, Early Years Centres and so on, as well as churches, allotment holders, artists. We have a lot of families too – it’s for anyone who is creative and likes making things.

“To join you pay a membership fee and then you get access to all the resources that we sell at a very low cost – you can fill a trolley for £13.50.”

Beth adds: “What is different about us is that you can get access to things from industry that you wouldn’t otherwise have as art materials. The Beakbane items are really amazing.”

Rosie showed a number of the works using Beakbane materials in her degree show – including the piece shown – “Concertina” 2013, Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable.

Scrapstore member Rosie Roberts, who is in her final year at The University of Gloucester School of Art and Design, saw creative potential in some pleated paper and fabric waste. This came from a process used to make folding concertina covers for equipment such as radiotherapy machines.

Rosie says: “The simplicity and everyday aspect of the Beakbane material attracted me. I employed a hot glue gun to attach the material to the wall, and simply placed it in a particular way on the floor to construct patterns and sequences. “

She says that her aim is to challenge the ideas we associate with materials by ‘celebrating the unnoticed’.

“It doesn’t need to be made of expensive brass or resin for it to be ‘art’. The material in its simplest form is charming and appealing. I am transforming something un-extraordinary into something extraordinary. I don’t tell the viewer what the material is, I like to keep them guessing.”

Additional examples of Rosie’s work can be seen on her blog.

Mike Southwell commented: “We are very pleased with the outcome of our recycling initiatives on all counts. We are not only helping to preserve the environment, we are also helping to inspire young people to be creative.”