Frauke Watson’s greatest passion is the creation of new things from old or found objects. Her solo exhibition, Finding Treasure, is on show at the Erin Arts Centre, Port Erin until February 16. She’s holding a meet the artist event there on Saturday (February 3), midday to 4pm. Here, she discusses her favourite items to recycle.
1) Plastic bottles
I have been fascinated by plastic bottles for over 20 years. At first, I cut and heat-shaped their bottoms into beautiful stars or flowers. Later I discovered the endless possibilities of the rest of the bottles.
They come in different colours, depending on the country you visit - although most are disappearing in favour of clear white, which is easier to recycle.
2) Plastic produce netting
Depending on their structure and thickness, I cut the nets into strips and twist them into cordage, to be woven into wall art - or I shape them into flowers, or cut them into circles as jewellery elements, or or…
3) Ghost netting
Back in 2010, when we moved to the island, you could find it in great quantities on the beach. I made a range of woven wall sculptures with nets, ropes and driftwood.
Thanks to Beach Buddies and our changed attitude to conservation, it is more scarce, so you will find less of it in my work.
Even driftwood has become rarer on our beaches. I used to make it into lamps and sculptures. You need a surprising amount for a project - and patience, for it takes weeks or even months for it to dry enough to be used.
There once was a lot of wire on the beach, especially at the Point of Ayre. And when a farmer decides to replace their fences, I have been known to raid their skips (with permission). I use wire as structures for my multi-media sculptures.
For my jewellery, I prefer art wire and occasionally reworked pieces from charity shops.
6) Champagne cork wires
Lately, I have been making a lot of art with champagne cork wires - hooks, cages, lattices and in stained glass projects. Have a closer look at my ‘spider webs’!
7) Sea glass
This has always been a favourite of mine. I am always looking for the best way to showcase it. There are so many talented sea glass artists out there, so I mostly stick to my own design of sea glass encased in knitted wire. Sometimes I use beach pebbles instead of glass. Or I cut a groove around particularly nice pieces and set them in art wire for jewellery.
8) Crockery chips
I go hunting for crockery chips around fields and on the beach. At the beginning, I used them for mosaics but lately they have also made an entry into my jewellery.
9) Charity shop finds
Many of my small sculptures - especially floral-themed ones - are sitting in pretty cups or vases I picked up in charity shops or amenity sites.
Sometimes I am able to cannibalise something that was something else before into the support structure of a three dimensional piece.
I love pre-owned clothing! Apart from the thrill of the hunt, second-hand pieces can be adapted to your personal taste without breaking the bank. They can be dyed, fixed, altered, and if all else fails cut up for art projects.