Ocean’s Heart

Choose one material from the following: rubber, glass, timber, stone, plastic, metal. Explore the material’s qualities, performance, use, symbolism or any other peculiar observation that appeals to you. Use this information to construct an abstract object/sculpture with your chosen material. Consider how your abstract object/sculpture evokes some of those material qualities.

The material that I decided to use was plastic because of the connotations of waste and recycling that it holds. Human pollution and waste negatively affects the planet. I chose coral reefs in particular as a starting point to my inspiration – the sculpture was inspired by formations and plant life found in a coral reef. I intentionally decided not to use the bright colours associated with this environment, instead I drew inspiration from dead coral reefs as after all, this is the effect that pollution is having.

My main source of materials came from plastic bottles (PETE) and plastic bottle lids (HDPE). I heated or melted, depending on the plastic, to create the shapes I felt were best to replicate the shapes I drew inspiration from.

It was brought to my attention that some of the inhabitants of coral reefs are able to emit light which I thought would add an interesting aspect to my abstract object. Using a non-toxic glow in the dark powder called Strontium Aluminate, I coated parts of the sculpture so that it is visible as effectively an entirely different object in the dark. Unfortunately, the final photographs do not capture the full extent of the light that the piece emits, as the cameras I have do not pick out the details very well.

Hidden within the nest of plastic, visible through the gaps, I decided to hang shapes in order to visually communicate a sense of encasement and protection. Although damage has been caused to coral reefs, perhaps it’s not too late to revive them.


Strontium Aluminate.

Final abstract object.

Thank you to all who contributed their used bottles to this project.


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