Fylde artist fights back against the wave of plastic pollution in our seas

A Fylde artist has turned her guilt over the unnecessary plastic in her weekly shop into a new exhibition of work.

Instead of throwing away or recycling the plastic wrappings from her fruit and meat, Sukie Woodhouse was inspired to put them to work in her paintings.

Sukie Woodhouse, St Annes artist who is creating paintings using plastic waste to highlight plastic pollution

Sukie Woodhouse, St Annes artist who is creating paintings using plastic waste to highlight plastic pollution

The result is a thought-provoking collection of work - Each Breaking Wave - that is set to go on display this week.

Sukie, whose recent sold works have included more traditional large canvases of animals and landscapes, had been looking at ways to bring greater drama to her images of the tides off the Fylde coast.

The St Annes mum-of-two said: “While researching ways of re-cycling plastic water bottles for the school I work at, I came across a technique of melting plastic bags with an iron.

“I have learned to melt pretty much every kind of plastic packing straight onto the canvas. Every bag or wrapper has its own properties. Some are good for the foam of the waves, others great for light refracting water patterns and others for encapsulating the words and poems I include.

A detail from Each Breaking Wave by Sukie Woodhouse

A detail from Each Breaking Wave by Sukie Woodhouse

“The raw materials come from my weekly shop, assuaging some of the guilt I feel over non-recyclable plastics.”

The paintings also make imaginative use of ‘ghost gear’, the broken fishing nets, lines and hooks thrown up on our beaches.

Sukie, of North Houses Lane, who trained as an art historian and has worked as a leisure industry scenic artist and designer, added: “Much of this never degrades and can last up to 1,000 years on the ocean bed. I source this in the flotsam and jetsam on the beaches along the north west coast, particularly the Fylde.

“I feel compelled to draw attention to the rapid pollution of the world’s oceans and deaths of many millions of sea creatures. I hope to bring the viewer up short. We are polluting that which is inspiring and beautiful.”

The exhibition of more than 20 large and small works will be at the Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston, from 10am-4pm over the weekend of April 6-7 and then selected pieces will be in the popular inn for the rest of the month.

There will be a donation to ghost gear reclamation for every sale and each piece comes with a hand-written list of the all the plastic used in it. Sukie aims to take the exhibition on to a seaside location.

Julie Beaume, who owns the Cartford Inn with husband Patrick, said: “We have supported Sukie for years displaying her art around the restaurant and hotel.

“We pride ourselves on making a conscious effort to function sustainably, decreasing the amount of carbon emissions and renewing heat naturally through the air, ground and water, so we are delighted to support this unique exhibition.”