Unconventional Materials – Rachel Levin, Art Lecturer

Rachel Levin, a popular art lecturer who often lectures at the Bernard Betel Centre for our weekly Tuesday Lifelong Learning Lectures, has provided a thoughtful and creative write-up for the Bernard Betel Centre community on unconventional materials. Enjoy!
Plants, flowers and chandeliers created from Recycled PET plastic bottles Czech artist Veronika Richterová creates new life from repurposed plastic PET bottles. In the last 10 years she has used various methods of cutting, heating and assemblage to build colorful translucent forms of everything from chandelier fixtures to trees and plants. PET is “Polyethylene terephthalate”, is the name of a clear, strong, lightweight plastic. Unlike other types of plastic, PET plastic is not a single-use material, it is 100% recyclable, versatile, and made to be reused. Veronika Richterová’s obsession with plastic bottles didn’t stop with creating artwork, she has also collected over 3,000 PET plastic bottles from 76 countries and wrote extensively about the history and usage of plastic in an article called  ‘A Tribute to PET Bottles’. Recently she noticed that the design of PET bottle changed, some popular types suddenly disappear, and others emerge. The artist then realized that she should catalog all of their different colors and styles. Richterová creates elaborate chandeliers decorated with tulip-shaped light bulb covers, scalloped edges, and long twisted segments of recycled bottles that imitate electrical cords. In order to protect these heat-sensitive sculptures, Richterová installs her works with bulbs and cables that produce minimal heat. A few of Richterová’s plastic chandeliers were included in the 50-artist annual exhibition ‘Eden Unearthed’ at Sydney’s Eden Gardens in Sydney, Australia.

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