is just a bunch of ingredients…
- Liane Rossler
Supercyclers ‘Plastic Fantastic’, 2011.
Look at these ethereal vessels, all different yet the same like leaves on a tree.
Take a closer look. These beautiful objects are actually reconfigured used plastic bags.
The vessels encourage us to adjust our thinking about plastic beyond a cheap material to discard, but rather a durable material that can reform into many different guises while having the ability to last forever. With this in mind it seems ridiculous that it be confined to the single use arena.
These plant like vessels were my first introduction to the ethical work of humble, delightful environmental commentator, artist and designer Liane Rossler.
Lucky for me, I spent a lovely afternoon with this talented handcrafter and advocate for slow design and conscious living.
Liane has an insatiable inclusiveness that ranges from people to plants to bees.
As I wandered about her natural-light filled ‘Super local Studio’, bombastic happy jazz played all around me and Liane placed a feast that was as much for my eyes and soul as it was for my peckish appetite.
Lovely moreish cakes and fruits were tucked into the most delightfully earthy handmade vessels. These vessels are of course significant, they represent Liane Rossler’s ideology and are part of a recent and ongoing hand-building project titled ‘Sweet Nature”.
If Liane is at the ‘making helm’, then whatever is being created will usually serve a practical purpose.
At the back of the studio in a smaller room where Liane has her pottery wheel, this allows her the freedom to both hand build and throw her vessels.
The pottery wheel is a process of love and mindfulness. Forming clay at the wheel is a mentally relaxing experience and I recommend it to anyone and everyone to try. The spinning wheel forms ephemeral patterns as traces of the clay appear then disappear, the sloshing of water and hands coated with the earth create a mix altogether that is surprisingly meditative.
'Sweet Nature' Project
I think of Liane as a true ‘maker’ and naturally empathetic to how objects come to be. Aware of all the hands that have touched a product on its journey of manufacture and having an appreciation of the time and energy spent.
The ‘Sweet Nature’ project has given Liane the surety of knowing where all her material has come from. The clay is from the earth and is a low impact material, if it doesn’t work it is returned back to the earth. Simple.
This phase of Liane’s art practice doesn’t create any consumer waste. The objects are here, but could just as simply not be here. They can be absorbed back into the earth and just be present in memory alone as a process without any physical trace.
Feeling the wonderful weight and texture of these vessels I drink my pineapple, ginger, lemongrass and mint tea, and listen to Liane explain where slow design began for her, beginning with Supercyclers.
Supercyclers was a place for thoughts and ideas that it seems had existed for a long time. It provided an avenue to push these concepts physically into the world.
The combined force of Liane and Sydney-based designer and curator Sarah K co-founded Supercyclers in 2011. This is a concept focused on designers building a sustainable future into their products, and being hyper aware of process, where materials come from and how they are made. Supercyclers reconfigures materials that had been defined as waste, into parts of a new whole. By re-contextualising materials these designs are forming a conversation and helping to shift cultural thinking in regards to consumer waste.
If you would like to try making these, which I know I absolutely do, have a look at these diagrams from the ‘Plastic Fantastic D.I.Y. Guide. 2012’.
It is simply a task of applying gentle heat to the used plastic bags while they are draped over your chosen objects. Please remember to wear a good respiratory face mask, protective gloves and protective glasses.
Plastic Fantastic D.I.Y. Guide 2012.
Your vessels are born!
Now you are part of the Supercycler movement!
…and this is what Liane does so beautifully, she gathers up thought and conversation through her process, making it much more than a physical action of one. Her process becomes an emotional and cerebral action that gets people talking, involved and doing themselves. It is not hierarchal but rather very accessible, empowering others to play their part in protecting our beautiful planet.
Superblown for Supercyclers, 2011.
Sinking back into the intimacy of the peaceful ‘Super local studio’ I learn that this “space for thoughtful practice” is just a short stroll from Liane’s home and it appears that everything important for her day-to-day is within walking distance.
For me, I was totally smitten by the space when I stepped out into the backyard and spotted a beehive filled with happy native bees. This is a dream of mine, and this stingless variety may be the bees I have been looking for!
We walk out on to the street to check out the garden Liane has planted down a side of the studio. This is also part of her ‘Sweet Nature’ project and her contribution to the concept of Urban Bushland, turning grey space into green. Her native plants are thriving, this particular style of native gardens scattered throughout our urban landscape are used as stepping stones by our native wild life, somewhere for the birds, bees and butterflies to find nourishment and take a moment.
I leave the studio late afternoon, after learning that this is merely the middle of the day for Liane. A night owl, she goes to sleep at 2am most days, finding the calm and peace in the evenings when her household is sleeping. I am the same, in that some of my most relaxed working moments are when everyone is asleep. It is the only true time as a parent when you don’t have to be in two places at once.
Liane is having a show in mid August called ‘Rainbow’s End’ at Hotel Hotel which will surely be both wonderful and insightful.
She has certainly got me. I am a massive advocate of beautiful craftsmanship combined with purpose and avoiding wastefulness.
Superblown for Supercyclers, 2011.
Written by TLSE Art Contributor, Kate Swinson of Native Swinson.