Little did I think that Christmas in Thailand would result in one of my most thrilling plastics encounters. It was as a result of meeting Po, a young philanthropist running a community art gallery in Chiang Mai, who had in his twenties (not so long ago) been the youngest ever plant manager at Bayer Polymers.
Never before have I come across such enthusiasm for the material. As we sat in the warmth of the night around a bar on the balcony of my host's beautiful house, he regaled the assembled company with all that is important and exciting about plastics, captivating them with such phrases as:
Plastic is a progression of nature.He then disappeared, borrowing someone's motorbike to go and close up his gallery. He took much longer than expected and we were concerned for him and the bike when he returned, flushed with success, and brandishing the carrier bag shown at the top of this image.
Plastics is a transformative technology.
Polyester holds our memories.
What is life without acrylic paint?
Boil your bones and you have cellulose.
Can you honestly believe that a spider's web is not woven in plastic?
He had been out foraging for significant pieces of plastic and collected a cork, cigarette lighter, two straws, some unusual washers and two Buddha relics. He encouraged us to feel their different textures, some hard, some soft, and wondered at their range of roles from the everyday to the symbolic. It was wonderful how enthralled everyone was.
Let's hope that there are more such inspiring encounters in the year ahead.
Happy New Year from MoDiP!
Susan Lambert, Head of MoDiP