Helen Frost: Art from Found MaterialsFrancesca Palange
I am a mixed media artist from Chichester in West Sussex. I work largely with found and recycled materials using paper, fabric, rubber, metal, wood or whatever I might find on my daily walks around Chichester Harbour.
I always take a camera to record my finds, finding absorption in recording objects in situ – digitally in the first instance. These walks started as a form of mindfulness – they have become walks attempting to help cure our coastline. The beauty and serenity of our local area is often spoiled by rubbish and debris and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of this. I want to cry for our broken planet. My small contribution to righting the many wrongs is to collect at least one bag of litter each day – doing my little bit towards healing the local environment. I take home my bags and recycle the items that I can, place most into our domestic waste bin, and retain the items in which I see beauty to turn into art. I would encourage everyone to carry a bag with them when walking and take their turn at improving the area around where they live, making it a better place for us, our children and grandchildren to enjoy in the years ahead.
My work is produced in response to the litter and marine debris that I find. I do not collect pretty driftwood or beautiful stones but rather the dirty, the rough, the junked and the jettisoned – the stuff that most people just pass by. It is these objects, once made and utilised by man and then discarded by him, that interest me. A cuff from an old anorak, a boat engine fuel filter, a lobster pot spacer – these are my pieces of treasure – litter that I can repurpose to draw attention to the problem of marine debris.
I spend many hours scouring beaches and harbours – I seem to have an inbuilt “eye” for spotting these abandoned bits and bobs and, unlike most folk, I see their potential for use in art. I carry at least two bags with me – one for collection of the plastics and other debris washed ashore – and the other for my “treasure”. My work is all about texture, form and marks. I like to work with a variety of media, in 2D and 3D, using materials that I find: either directly or as inspiration.
Read the full interview with Helen Frost featured in the Spring Issue 2019
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