Cleaner liv­ing

North Coast Times - - NEWS - EN­VI­RON­MENT Lisa Thomas

It's a thing to cre­ate art from plas­tic that washes up on our coast.

VIR­GINIA Casey has found a way to turn trash into trea­sure and in the process, ed­u­cate chil­dren on re­cy­cling and help save the oceans too.

The real es­tate agent and mother of two spends her spare time craft­ing pieces of art from plas­tic pieces, rope and drift­wood she finds washed up along Perth’s coast.

“I didn’t think we had enough plas­tic or de­bris on our beaches, but then I re­alised it was dur­ing win­ter that the rub­bish would be washed up and if it wasn’t picked up, it would be sent back out to the ocean and po­ten­tially kill ma­rine life and birds,” she said.

“I started col­lect­ing the rub­bish, colour co-or­di­nat­ing it and try­ing to find suit­able pieces for my art.”

Ms Casey said what she found was a lot of mi­cro plas­tic: bits of plas­tic that had bro­ken down into small pieces and were at risk of be­ing eaten by fish and birds. She was also sur­prised by the amount of tooth­brushes, toys and pegs that washed up, as well as rope and fish­ing gear.

“These are all items that can kill and se­verely in­jure our ma­rine and bird life,” she said. “There are so many doc­u­men­taries I’ve seen where fish are feed­ing their ba­bies these small pieces of plas­tic.”

Ms Casey’s art­work can take months to cre­ate, with the per­fect pieces of plas­tic and de­bris needed.

“I will col­lect the rub­bish for months and then spend that time fit­ting pieces to­gether like a puzzle,” she said.

She in­sists her hobby is not a money-mak­ing ven­ture.

“I put so much time and en­ergy into it, and money fram­ing them, but I have no in­ter­est in mak­ing money from it,” she said. “I take the art­work to schools and talk about sus­tain­abil­ity, and how im­por­tant it is to re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle.

“It cre­ates a lot of joy for the kids see­ing the art­work and it’s a pos­i­tive so­lu­tion to a bad prob­lem.”

Ms Casey thinks if in­te­rior de­sign­ers would back her type of art, it could mo­ti­vate more peo­ple to make cre­ative pieces from rub­bish along the coast.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey­mu­ni­ d483877

Eco artist Vir­ginia Casey with some of her art.

Vir­ginia Casey’s col­lec­tion of colour­ful string from beaches, soon to be­come art ma­te­ri­als.

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