Wednesday, December 5th 2018 - Saturday, September 29th 2018
Change in Your Hands by Billy Dunn A travelling international exhibition of functional ceramics at The Barony, West Kilbride. The exhibition ‘More Clay Less Plastic’, or ‘Change in Your Hands’ was opened by Lauren Moreira, a potter from Italy and a leading light in the movement, on Saturday 29th September 2018. There was a good attendance of SPA members, exhibitors, friends and other members of the public, from all over. We saw a wide range of exhibits from berry bowls, garden structures, sculptures and many variations of pots including some who mimicked plastic so much you had to touch them to make sure they weren’t the real thing. It was good to meet and talk to other potters to get their take and ideas on the subject and explore ways forward, with Lauren taking a keen interest in the conversations. The exhibition was well received. Well informed visitors showed support for the message of the exhibition as videos showed the plight of birds, fish and mammals trying to deal with the blight of plastic routinely dumped by our throwaway society. Some visitors are returning, bringing friends and family to see the exhibits and video. Lauren gave an impassioned talk to an audience who were riveted and shocked as she outlined some of the casualties of plastic finding its way to the oceans. We were shown various images of the terrible state of the oceans. Some time ago a surfer was captured on film, surfing through what appeared to be a tunnel of plastic waste. Lauren expanded on the subject by showing how some regions have no policy to treat plastic waste, which is routinely dumped at the riverside to then flow to the sea, snaring wild life as it journeys on. It must be said that plastic waste affects all life as it breaks down – being swallowed by fish and birds and as it degrades to micro plastic, taken up by life at the bottom of the food chain, then on to fish and then on to us, causing issues with fertility and cancers. Various schemes to deal with plastic were outlined; from dragging large nets to capture the plastic; paying fishermen to bring it back on returning to port and then recycling and repurposing of the material before it journeys to land fill. It must be asked why we use millions of tons of throw away plastic for bottled water when tap water is largely safe to drink in many western countries. In other countries, schemes exist where containers can be refilled with clean water as required. We as potters can help in some way. We can encourage the public to own and value reusable cups for drinks, and refill containers for water rather than contributing to the cycle of single use plastic. The exhibition is working well as I write this with a good number of the entries already sold – so possibly the message is getting through. It is in our interest to get concerned and act on this blight on our planet. The birds, fish and other mammals did not cause it and are unable to help stop it.