I have been recycling and crocheting plastic bags for seven years now. I wanted to do something positive with the packaging that we are throwing away either into landfills into our seas polluting our forests and destroying our wildlife.
I wanted to teach my son ways of acting responsibly with rubbish – after all, he is the next generation of caretakers of our planet.
Plastic rubbish can definitely be used in other ways. It is strong waterproof and long-lasting and I want to show that there are many ways of recycling it into useable goods and artwork.
I create artwork to draw attention to this and for awareness. People don’t actually realize what it is made from until I point it out.
I help teach primary schools by working on art projects with them – and workshops on how to use skills to recycle. I am active in our local communities and help run local craft fayres.
I have an Etsy shop also and I hope I am making a difference to our planet in my small way – and that maybe I will influence our future generations to do the same.”
Tell us a little bit about your design and art background.
Lin: My earliest memory of being involved in art was when I was about 7 or 8 and my mum had entered me in an art competition for the local newspaper. My drawing was printed in the paper and I won a silver trophy. I still have it today and the newspaper cutting. Since then I studied Art and Ceramics at High School and had my Ceramics were exhibited in the West of England Academyin Bristol my hometownand it really has gone on from there.
How would you describe your style?
Lin: I’m not really sure. It’s a bit of a hybrid of Art and ceramics – with the drawing and planning the design first and then the building up of the textile by crocheting the background and adding texture to it to make the picture. I guess it’s a bit bohemian really.
Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
Lin: I love Banksy. He is from my hometown. I understand how he grew up and his motivations. He has an extremely social conscience and always strategically places his artwork in socially deprived areas so that they can benefit from itin some way.
What inspires you?
Lin: I live on the coast and I am always inspired by the sea. Beach plastic was my main motivation. Seeing it on the beach every day and collecting it, knowing that it will never just disappear. So I decided to make artwork from it to draw attention to the problem.
I am a vegetarian and have been for 35 years. I love nature, wildlife, sea life and it’s the preservation and will do anything I can to help the plastic pollution problem.
Art seemed the way to go. It is a visually peaceful protest in a way and making use of it at the same time.
Tell us a little more about the types of items you use in creating your handbags.
Lin: They are all made from used recycled plastic bags. I rely a lot on donations of plastic bags from my local community. I crochet them. They are very strong and waterproof also. I love the color combinations, and also how it is possible to make something pretty and useable out of something sougly and destructive.
Recycled plastic has so many uses. I have also made mats belts hats and even a dress for a fashion model for her Eco-Fashion category.
What bag are you carrying right this minute?
Lin: I am still using a rucksack that I made about 8 years ago. It’s still going strong – proving that plastic is extremely long-lasting and will never just disappear. It’s my favorite bag. I can fit a lot in it and I love the fact that people question what it’s made from and also their disbelief when I tell them!
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Lin: I am currently working on some differently themed bags. Since COVID-19 I am currently moving a lot of work online, and I am trying to get to grips with new technology. I would normally be taking part in Art Exhibitions and School projects over the Summer but these are slowly coming online now and I am looking forward to this.
Can you give us a sneak peek at upcoming products?
Lin: I’m working on a new design for a bag at the moment – I can tell you it has a very Welsh animal theme and will be on my Instagram feed before it goes on sale with Etsy.
Do you sell your pieces, are you able to live with your recycling art?
Lin: As many artists will tell you, it really isn’t about making money. It is about the process. Although we do need to feed ourselves and our families at the end of the day. I hold craft fayres and workshops and I do sell my pieces on Etsy.
You are an environmentalist. What else can people recycle and reuse to help the environment?
Lin: Almost all rubbish is recyclable in some way or another.
Another thing to think about is being mindful of our own consumerism. Why we feel we need certain things in our lives only to throw them out in a year’s time.
Also, what will happen to our planet for our future generations? I feel we must teach innovative ways of using what we don’t need as there is no such thing as ‘throwing something away’ – where is away?
Where can our readers find your products?
Lin: My new items are always on Instagram Facebook and Twitter first – under Rubbish Reinvented. They are available for sale on Etsy, directly from me, and from stockists in my local area of Porthcawl South Wales (please contact for details – postage is available)
Please follow the link below to any of my media platforms:-
Lin: I hope you have enjoyed reading this interview. If you have any further questions or are interested in products artwork or workshops/online lessons – please contact us on the above link. Happy recycling !!!