It's long been on my bucket list to do an artist in residency, which is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to undertake one this year at Sandgate State School. Myself, together with three other artists, are each completing a project at the school. I'll be working with the preps, grade 1s and 2s to create a permanent mural for the junior outdoor area.
Given my interest in creative re-use, the materials had to be reclaimed. I decided to focus on plastic bottle caps for a few reasons. Firstly, they're safe and easy for kids to handle. They're really accessible, which means anyone can get involved in the project just by being a collector (aka liquid guzzler). Also, plastic bottle lids take on average about 450 years to break down. Not all plastic can be recycled either so using bottle lids gets kids thinking about consumption, waste and creative re-use.
We have nine timber panels that we'll be covering with bottle caps, which means at least 10,000 caps to collect. Seems like a large number but we've been seriously collecting since February and the school is super proactive about getting community support.
The project officially kicks off in Week 1 of Term 2. I want the kids to have as much ownership over their mural as possible, so they'll be coming up with designs around the theme of family, which will first be painted and then decorated onto the timber using the collected bottle caps. Counting and sorting caps allows numeracy to be incorporated into the sessions, and students will be broadening their visual arts literacy by learning about terms such as creative re-use, mosaics and pointillism.
Coincidentally, there's a fantastic installation on at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) right now, which is part of the Asia Pacific Triennial (APT8). Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa has created a large scale interactive installation for children called Mandala of Flowers, which uses plastic bottle caps and lids.
I've had great support from friends, family and local businesses in collecting caps so wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you thus far to the following people/businesses:
Bettina, Birgit, Ellen and Damian, Emily, Karah, Louise P, Sarah and Adnan, Soulla, our West End neighbours, the Brisbane Red Cross Cafe and Bass Espresso.
I'll post more photos once the mural is underway. We've got just under 2 months of collecting to go so keep the caps coming!