Video by Robert Andriessen
Text by Jeanne Tan
Produced in partnership with DOEN Foundation
Michelle Baggerman’s 2009 Design Academy Eindhoven graduation project Precious Waste showed how a humble material like a plastic bag could be repurposed into beautiful textiles. Discarded plastic bags are spun into fine yarns and then woven into intricate textiles, showing the huge contrast between the crafted end result and the disposable material. “My goal was to alter plastic shopping bags in a way that would extend the lifecycle of the material, improve its disadvantages and preserve its positive qualities,” says Michelle Baggerman.
In the last five years, the project has evolved from Michelle’s studio in Eindhoven all the way to Mexico. By collaborating with Mexican social design organisation Anudando, the project now combines material innovation with social entrepreneurship. Anudando will produce textile items made from plastic bag yarn together with craftspeople from regional parts of Mexico who specialise in weaving, crochet and basket making. The plastic bags will be collected, selected and spun into yarn locally.
At DDW 2014, Anudando will present material samples and prototypes of interior products as part of the first collection-in-progress entitled Renacimiento (meaning rebirth) that explores the potential of the original Precious Waste material in various crafts. “The craftsmen we work with are extremely skilled and inventive,” tells Michelle. “By offering them a new material to work with, which can basically be collected from the streets, and taking a new perspective on the different products they make, we hope to be able to revalue their work. We want to support them in continuing to develop the craft they take pride in, and earn a living doing it.” For now, the upcoming collection will only be available in Mexico but Anudando will research the feasibility of selling and shipping the products to the Netherlands and abroad while maintaining their environmentally friendly quality.
The work of Michelle Baggerman is part of the exhibition Forging the Future by Material Sense LAB
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