What the Ocean Doesn’t Want I’ll Have

Chelsea Burton

‘What the Ocean Doesn’t Want I’ll Have’, this is my ethos for my final Major Project. For my project I wanted a theme that is important to me and is a current global issue, which is why I chose ocean waste. Ocean waste has a massive impact on our sea life and it is us as a society causing these problems. My aim for my project is to bring light to this issue and share awareness, I also want to show how ‘waste’ items aren’t necessarily ‘waste’ you can reuse, recycle and upcycle these materials to create something new and positive.

Using this as the theme for my project I will create one off pieces for interiors, this includes a range of baskets/vessels and a decorative Macramé piece for either the wall or floor. I will create these pieces using unconventional materials such as discarded fishing nets, unwanted plastic bottles and bags, rope and miscellaneous objects I may find at the beach. I will be combing these waste items with sustainable fabric and second hand goods, this includes beads, embroidery hoops and Goldwork materials. I knew I wanted to incorporate fishing nets into my project, whether that’s actually using the material or translating it using stitch, I found needle lace and Macramé do be effective. When visiting Portsmouth harbour, I had the opportunity to interview a fisherman who kindly donated me some fishing net. Furthermore, I contacted Sainsbury’s who were willing to donate some of their new produce bags, these bags are entirely made from discarded plastic bottles which is amazing!

My inspiration for my project started when visiting Portsmouth harbour beach and seeing all the plastics and tiny objects on the beach, from seeing this I read a book by Lara Maiklem. This book is called ‘Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames’, and Lara talks about the unusual objects she finds whilst Mudlarking in the River Thames, London. It was these objects she found that inspired me to use miscellaneous objects, I love how each object has a history and story that we don’t even know about.

Last year, I found a technique called Macramé, since then I haven’t stopped experimenting and adapting this technique. I knew I wanted to use the technique in my final Major Project so over the summer I went on a Workshop ran by Jane Bowler and Heather Orr who have been a huge inspiration for me. I have a variety of artists who inspire me differently. For my baskets/vessels I have been inspired by Nicole Robins and Jackie Abrams and for my techniques and decorative wall/floor pieces I have been inspired by Windy Chein, Agnes Herczegs and Anya Hindmarch. I found a few artists who also create amazing pieces of art using similar waste materials to me, these are Aurora Robson, Emily Miller and Sanaa Gateja.

After Graduation I would like to carry on with this project, I think it has a strong message and has a lot of meaning. I could see my large decorative Macramé piece being displayed as a wall hanging with other artists who have the same views and beliefs as me about ocean waste and being sustainable. I would like to sell my work and take commissions. I believe this would work effectively because the main technique I am using is Macramé which is versatile. The technique allows me to adapt my designs and materials to reach a wider market, whilst doing this I will keep it sustainable and environmentally friendly.


You can follow Chelsea on her Instagram page.


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