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Plastic Extensions: Image I (2021)

Plastic sheet attached to wooden poles [photograph of a performance].

This performance and series of images reuse the previous sheet with the addition of wooden gardening poles to extend the reach and movements between the body and plastic. The wooden poles allow the physical interactions to be translated onto a larger scale and through bringing the photoshoot outside these images reveal a clear ecological and environmental discourse through the plastic and bodies interactions with natural conditions such as the sunlight and wind.

Plastic Extensions: Image II (2021)

Plastic sheet attached to wooden poles [photograph of a performance].

These images challenge the perception of how plastic interacts with nature as my images are aesthetically and intrinsically beautiful contrasting how plastic pollution itself interacts with natural conditions. This beauty is achieved through the movement of the body and extensions allowing the natural sunlight to interact with the plastic in a delicate and exquisite manner. This is further demonstrated through the addition of the wind which, while lifting, moving and filling the plastic, proved difficult to work alongside as the extensions acted similarly to sail and took significant strength to control.

Plastic Extensions: Image III (2021)

Plastic sheet attached to wooden poles [photograph of a performance].

During this experimentation process, I began to investigate how to strengthen the plastic as the addition of the wind caused tears and holes, the most effective method to combat this involved melting layers of the plastic together. Firstly I used an iron and ironing board before moving on to use the heat presses introducing the concept of reusing the plastic as a fabric. While this process allowed the plastic to have the strength to compete against the wind it transformed the texture and movement of the material which, in turn, is more favourable to print onto.

Salcey Forest (2020)

Carved woodblock print, 21 x 30 cm.

The image, originally taken on 35mm film (left), explores the environment through the process of carving and woodblock printing (right). Using a recyclable material sourced from a local tree surgeon, this carving depicts an area from Salcey Forest, a conservation forest protected and promoted by the Forestry Commission, including a winding river with a football floating within it. This directly displays how humans have impacted this protected environment.

Salcey Forest (2021)

Woodblock print on plastic sheet, 29 x 42 cm.

Considering the single-use plastic as a potential textile I experimented with printing onto the plastic, both successfully and unsuccessfully. Ultimately I discovered the best process and method involving specific inks and certain heat manipulated plastics, created through using the heat presses. I am continuing to develop and improve this process with the aim to create a repeating pattern to feature on my plastic extensions that will be included in my final photography shoot and performance (experimentation of a performance is available through the YouTube links).

Lucy Butterworth

Through experimenting with the body, plastic, print, performance and photography, my practice depicts movements and relationships that aim to transform how we, as humans, view and perceive single use plastic.

Having written my dissertation titled ‘How biological matter has been used in contemporary art to create effective ecological protests’, the concepts involving materiality and ecological protests transformed my approach towards my practice. My exhibition addresses whether non-recyclable plastics can be reused, through the consideration of why we choose to keep items. We keep items that are beautiful and sentimental or useful, beauty adds to the value of the reused plastic and thus it is not discarded. Movement and the body are key themes within this process due to the direct visual association and connection through their depiction within my work. Furthermore, considering materiality, all resources used within my project have either been recycled or can be recycled.

My undergraduate degree in Fine Art has allowed me to dedicate time to develop my technical abilities to a high level involving digital and analogue photography, metalwork, woodwork and print thus allowing me to convey my creative ideas effectively. Following my undergraduate degree, I aim to continue to develop these skills and techniques while working in an engaging professional environment. I am continuing my studies at Loughborough University on the Graphic Design and Visualisation Masters where I am excited to develop and learn new skills towards my next Final Project and to continue exploring my passion for environmental and sustainably focused artwork and products.

With special thanks to my models Lucy Bailey and Alice Butterworth.

Final year project

Rethinking Our Relationship with Single Use Plastic


March 2020 LANDED Exhibition, Loughborough University.
For this exhibition, I worked collaboratively to create an installation within a container, while I specifically focused on advertising our exhibition I was also involved in acquiring materials and equipment, constructing our installation and completing the risk assessments.
February 2021 Dissertation, Loughborough University.
My dissertation titled ‘How biological matter has been used in contemporary art to create effective ecological protests’ achieved a First Class grade.

Work Experience

In 2020, I designed and painted a series of three murals for Milton Keynes Hospital Children’s Physiotherapy Department, I will also be returning for an additional three murals in the summer of 2021. I found my mural work enriching and I enjoyed working to a set brief, directly with clients and in a professional environment. In this role, I developed skills involving business management, time management, client relations and learned how to adhere to professional workplace guidelines (including hospital Covid measures and adapting my work around these).

Throughout my final year, I have worked on the fundraising committee for the Final Degree Show. As a committee, we have strived to create online, safe and engaging fundraising events to bring our Fine Art community together and hosted a highly successful online auction where we raised £1306.50.

I have completed my LTA Level 2 Tennis Coach qualifications and have been coaching for almost 5 years now, I have experience working both independently and within-group environments developing teamwork and communication skills. As a coach, I have also developed entrepreneurial and organisational skills, specifically involving self-marketing, customer relations and customer service. My media skills have been developed while I worked as Media Representative for AU Softball and Baseball. In this role, I worked on set briefs, creating striking team sheets, posters and promotional leaflets, to tight deadlines and gained experience with event and sports photography and learned how to follow the brand guidelines for Loughborough Sport and the Athletic Union.