Taking Care of Plastic: Discursive jewellery and anthropogenic debris

Synne Skjulstad


Tons of plastic waste pile up in our oceans by the minute. This paper discusses a jewellery design project where anthropogenic debris takes centre stage. The project investigates how marine plastic trash literally may be turned into treasures through approaches that transverse design, craft and communication design. The main design material are plastic pieces selected from the shores of Norwegian fiords. Each piece of plastic selected for jewellery is treated as precious. Care is thus a concept that frames this jewellery design project as it both connects to the micro and macro perspectives on plastic. The jewellery is relating aesthetic exploration of tiny fragments of marine plastic waste to global issues of plastic (mis)use – and management. These tiny objects carry histories of our recent past, as well as the story of the earth yet to be written. Caring for these tiny fragments of human presence in nature is thus a material and embodied means for expressing the urgent need for taking better care of the ocean.

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