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Arts & Environment: Hair, wire & plastic! Summer of Sustainability

Updated: Apr 11

Our next trio include students Penelope Day, Penny Rowe and Rachael Barns. Read on to discover their work.

BA Hons Textiles student Penelope Day

I am studying textile design on the Contemporary Practice module year 2.

All of the materials were found, the wolf image contains my hair!

BA Hons Fine Art student Penny Rowe

My name is Penny Rowe and I'm a Fine Art Student. I have recently finished Sculpture 2 and made a sculpture in response to my critical review titled Environment, Sculpture and Social Practice.

Tipping Point – 2022

100 pieces of Blue Annealed Stub Wire

In 2016 the Anthropocene Working Group recommended that the year 1950 was a good starting point for the Earths Anthropocene epoch because ‘plutonium isotopes caused by nuclear weapons testing fallout would be concentrated enough to serve as an observable signal in rock strata’ (Rafferty J. P., 2022), even though the industrial revolution is also a point in the earth’s history that has had great impact on the environment. 2050 is acknowledged as the earth’s environmental tipping point for future and our lives on it (Otto, 2020). From 1950 to 2022 72 years have passed, and we have 28 left until irrevocable damage is done to our world that threatens the future of living things on it.

This piece is about balance. It is made from 100 pieces of Blue Annealed Stub Wire, there are 72 wires on one side and 28 on the other. The wires are joined in the centre and spread apart to create balance. The sculpture is in response to the simple fact the tipping point is already reached. 78 years’ worth of sustained damage will not be fixed in 28 years. The predictions don’t add up and the world is already showing that we have moved into new unstable environmental age, despite the scientific and political estimations.

In an article titled ‘The Earth is on track to exceed 1.5C in the next decade’ it discusses how an ‘AI model found a nearly 70% chance that the two-degree threshold would be crossed between 2044 and 2065, even if emissions rapidly decline. To check the AI’s prediction prowess, they also entered historical measurements and asked the system to evaluate current levels of heating already noted. Using data from 1980 to 2021, the AI passed the test, correctly homing in on both the 1.1C warming reached by 2022 and the patterns and pace observed in recent decades. (Canon, 2023)

BA Hons Creative Arts student Rachael Barns

I'd love for you to include a recent body of work I have made in your Summer of Sustainability. A photograph of one of the elements was recently shown at a gallery in Brazil. I am also really excited to be installing elements for Raveningham Sculpture Trail this summer and will later create a site specific installation for Deepdale Folk Festival in September.


I am a stage 1 Creative Arts student, working mainly with textiles, sculpture and text. I aim to work sustainably by limiting myself predominantly to the use of materials I already have, can source second hand or which would otherwise be discarded.

I have currently been exploring the use of plastic from milk cartons. Influenced by artists who alter the appearance of every-day, mundane materials e.g. Tara Donovan, Francesca Pasquali, Jessica Drenk. I have enjoyed working to transform the plastic to create playful, fun pieces, many of which mimic natural organic forms through their shape and texture. Made into multiple shapes and forms the body of work creates a cohesive whole through the use of one material.

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