Summer 2016 What have we been up to??

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LitterARTI has been busy with loads of different workshops and events over the Summer, here are a few pictures to show you what we have been up to.

Our next event is with Cirque Bijou at the Balloon Fiesta – 13 and 14 August 2016 celebrating recycling with scrap musical sculptures. They are amazing! Hope to see you there!

M32 Underpass and Lower Eastville Community engagement event with the closure of the M32 in June 2016.

M32 Underpass and Lower Eastville Community engagement event with the closure of the M32 in June 2016.

LitterARTI supported Sustrans and Ikea with the Cycle Path clean up Community project. Sculpture made by Eduardo Allen and the artwork by Tom Deams.

LitterARTI supported Sustrans and Ikea with the Cycle Path clean up Community project. Sculpture made by Eduardo Allen and the artwork by Tom Deams.

LitterARTI supported Sustrans and Ikea with the Cycle Path clean up Community project. Mural with the local schools Maypark and Glenfrome Primaries.

LitterARTI supported Sustrans and Ikea with the Cycle Path clean up Community project. Mural with the local schools Maypark and Glenfrome Primaries.

Milkbottle Maskmaking workshops at the Vench with Groundworks South

Milkbottle Maskmaking workshops at the Vench with Groundworks South

Coming out…

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Close Up of  A chandelier made of tampons, entitled "The Bride" and created by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Courtesy of http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/tampon-taboo/394634/

Close Up of A chandelier made of tampons, entitled “The Bride” and created by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. Courtesy of www.theatlantic.com

No More Taboo – a non-profit social Enterprise which sells sustainable sanitary products – with the proceeds going to supporting women finding it difficult to manage their periods, like homeless women in Bristol as well as women in many developing countries where periods are a taboo in their societies. Founder Chloe Tingle, a fellow participant of School for Social Entrepreneurs was inspired by seeing the prejudice and misunderstanding women faced around menstruation during her travels. She is currently busy establishing a partner relationship in order to best support and empower women in Nepal, whether it be products, education, toilet and bathing facilities, or access to clean water.

She is currently running a crowdfunding campaign – do support her if you can!

A big deal about our usage of sanitary products is the wasteful effects. And I have to admit, even myself, the founder of LitterARTI and pretty waste aware… has taken a while to take the step to buy products which are sustainable – which in your head  – of course you know it is the right thing – but emotionally you are blocked. Somehow you can’t move forward into action. What was missing was for me to acknowledge my own taboo. The shame, fear and gosh endless embarrassing memories still crystal clear in my mind. I won’t lay myself bare… and spare you the details. There is a place and a space for that at the Period Party coming up this Saturday, 28th May in Bristol. But by avoiding these – I was physically held back from making the right choices with regards to what I consciously knew I wanted to do.

I see a lot of parallels between this campaign and our own acceptance of our shameful past. Our denial of what has been wrong before, not being able to accept climate change, and importantly not being able to act. We also need safe spaces to talk about this. We need to acknowledge our part in it, and then only will we be able to act. I do think what is holding us back is in so many cases an un-acknowledged sense of despair, shame, guilt! oh guilt is a great one. These emotions do not allow for flow. These emotions do not allow for creativity, for compassion, love, they keep us in bondage.

One thing I think that we tend to forget as campaigners for the green movement – we also had to wake up from our old ways. We had to get to a point where we realised something was wrong. We had to acknowledge the emotions and feelings and fears that came with that and made a choice to make a commitment to change. From then on you are different. You have moved out of the old ways, you are reborn. We all come from within this system and honestly Britain has the largest footprint of them all – we started the Industrial Revolution. This is our problem. And we need to fix it.

To finish off I would like to say: Similar to the Greeny culture around sustainable sanitary products for women – a friend of mine felt rather excluded by her fellow city farm dwellers for not using the mooncup! The same way – accessing the issues around sustainability is still greenwashed – and this is so much part of the reason why progress around acceptance and take up and mobilisation by the public around environmental issues is so damn slow.

Also the fortunate position we are in to be able to work in this field. How grateful am I, that I can spend my energy on understanding and communicating and exploring new solutions to these challenges we are facing. Even though making a living as a heart as a passion driven social entrepreneur, is challenging financially and emotionally. I am not impoverished.

But I know I have some back up, be it a friend, family member, a credit card, or the fallback into my old career in the digital sector, an education, a history and memory of having had a regular income, nice clothes, all that stuff. I needed to have had some first, before I could say no more. I needed to taste the cake, to devour the cake when I could, before I could make a decision that the cake is not really what I needed. I was actually starved by eating the cake. Yet. Our society is still telling us to eat the cake and in honesty, I can not say to someone who has seen others enjoy this cake, who is also striving for this cake to not have it, whether it be someone from the developing world, or someone from a deprived area of Bristol. They need to have the right to taste it first, the freedom to have a bite of the capitalist dream which is rammed down our throats by popular media and the lot.

And that is what I am working towards. Being part of this movement where we are working towards an alternative. Towards equality.

 

 

 

M£2 Underpass Regeneration Project cont…

M£2 Underpass In Eastville BS5. Bristol. England.
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What made me interested in the spot under the M32 initially, is the neglect in so many forms which is taking place there. You have a massive highway which cuts through and divide communities; a massive social divide between big commercial giants – Ikea and Tesco, and a deprived and isolated community in lower Eastville; The Frome river also enters the city into a concrete drain pipe, polluted by fly-tipped Tesco shopping trolleys and litter blown in there from the roads.

This community of lower Eastville has its fair share of social issues. Prostitution, isolation, drug pushing, and the place is a dump. There is litter and fly-tipping everywhere. it has doubled in the last year. The M32 also is a cause of pollution to local residents air, as well as noise pollution. The controversial Metrobus which has cut through the growing allotments at Grow Bristol in Stapleton, has also neglected to include serving this community in its route.

This area also provides a temporary home for rough sleepers, and it makes an obvious shelter option in a city where homelessness has risen sharply over the last years.

Contrasts and extremes are also known to be a source of inspiration and creativity and that is what is captivating about this space. The sheer potential it holds, its history, its demise, its lack of planning, its brutal force to tame nature; to control people and communities in favour of progress and commerce.

Over the last 4 years a grassroot creative skatepark was built by the local self build skating community from scratch. Waste collected from the area have become the building blocks literally of this popular space. It is the only free undercover skatepark in Bristol and known worldwide in the self build skating communities. Since they have become the guardians of this space – prostitution and drug pushing have gone down and the general appearance of the space is less frightening and more welcoming to local residents.

LitterARTI has been awarded £10,000 through the Tesco bags of Help fund. This money comes from the 5p plastic bag charge which was imposed on all large Retailers in the UK since October last year. This scheme has already reduced the use of single use plastic bags exponentially across the country. Retailers are expected to donate the proceeds of this funds to good causes, and they can decide how to do this. Many projects across the country has benefited from this – and the same way with our M£2 Underpass Regeneration Project. Dependent on permissions from Highways. 

Just like the area itself, this money is controversial as anything else. It is politically charged also to accept money from certain retailers and commercial giants in that it could be seen as a soft way to hide perhaps other dodgy practices. It is ultimately these organisations which need to change in order to bring more relief to everyday people as well as the environmental tipping point we have started to experience over the last generation and which is now becoming real in public consciousness and our direct experiences. 

How do you take on such a diverse project? How do you ensure everyone is included? How do ensure you stay true to your own principles? How do you somehow redeem this money from its controversial source?

I think by sticking to your principles. By being honest, open and humble. Non-attached to any ideas and talking to a lot of people. Listening. Learning. Sharing. I can already feel how this project is shaping me, the people I meet the stories I hear. The 3 pillars to this project are: People. Creativity. Nature. We can’t tackle the issues we are facing alone. We can’t rely on old systems and thinking to move us into a new era. And before Nature we cannot lie. She forces us to stay humble. She helps us to remember and she keeps us true to ourselves.

Thank you very much to Chris and Benoit for inspirational dialogue this afternoon @ People’s Republic of Stoke’s Croft. Credit for all images: Chris Chalkley.

M£2 Underpass. Stapleton Road. BS5.Eastville. Bristol. England.

M£2 Underpass. Stapleton Road. BS5.Eastville. Bristol. England.

M£2 Underpass. Eastville. Bristol. BS5.  England.

M£2 Underpass. Eastville. Bristol. BS5. England.

M32 Underpass Regeneration Project with Tesco Bags of Help

Litterarti M32 Regeneration Project supported by Tesco's Bags of Help fund from the 5p Plastic bag charge
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LitterARTI’s new adventure: M32 Underpass Regeneration Project has been shortlisted for an award from the Tesco Bags of Help Fund – PLEASE VOTE FOR US THIS WEEK IN-STORE!

WHEN: 27 February 2016 – 6 March 2016 (Mothersday)

We propose to work alongside the Council to tackle fly-tipping in the area of Eastville – BS5, clear up the litter on the concrete river-banks polluting the River Frome, and exploring structural interceptors – to prevent it from blowing in there in the first place. We want to bring importance to the river entering the City here as well and incentivise the local Skating community to become guardians of the space.

Since the Skatepark has been developed 4 years ago, it has been used by young and old, novices and pro’s use it as well as scooters, scateboarders, rollerscaters, bmx riders. It is the only free undercover Skatepark in Bristol and as a result this spontaneous creative grassroot development has become a curb to prostitution in the area, drug pushing has disappeared and the community also regularly do litter picks. We would like to provide them with bins, better lighting, and further exposure and support to help this place to develop on their own terms.

If you want to be involved please get in touch! We are looking to put a team together of local residents, urban designers, biologists, waste experts, growing and plant experts, volunteers and artists, film makers, designers and more! Join our Facebook page for more updates on whats coming up, also check out: The Turn the M32 into a Skatepark group on Facebook.

90% of this funding will go towards Capital Costs. which is great. However we do still need to raise more money to make it happen. If you want to donate, that would be awesome! Please pay via Paypal.

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.

Recycling an ethical issue?

Litterarti event in Bristol City centre 2015 as part Green Capital 2015 on World Oceans Day raising awareness about waste in the oceans.
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Recycling is starting to cost more than it earns…creating a business case crisis for the recycling industry especially processing plants as the value of recyclables go down because of various factors, oil prices amongst others. 

I just read about this in an article Earth 911, The Other Side of Recycling and been in conversations about the increase in incineration of plastics. I had a chat with another lady the other day about the over full general waste bin. She mentioned that it is like yeah – that is done now, like it is yesterday’s news.. recycling. People aren’t doing it anymore. Like it was a “Project” that has now ended. So weird – but so true – awareness – does it lead to change? Do we have the support in place to facilitate actions from a changed mindset? Does our world reflect these high aspirations? 

I think this is very much a place where the whole “climate movement” is finding itself now, we were very much about awareness – and that is the easy part. Now about implementing and actually changing systems, and putting processes in place… well this is where the real work begins, but of course this can’t happen if we don’t have a lot of affected climate champions behind it. 

Recycling for small businesses in Bristol also provide a little hurdle for following a path of least resistance.  Basically you have to pay for each bin you need to be emptied. So if you recycle you pay for at least double or up to 4 times what you would pay for a general waste bin collection. So where is the incentive? Most people I know take the recyclables back with them to their houses, but that only covers a small amount of waste produced. What do we do?

Immediately LitterARTI style.. yeah ! Lets do some art. lets show people what gets wasted, and then work out the value of the materials and visually inspire the change. But I feel a little dismayed at this approach, who am I doing the art for? the Council? The small businesses who already feel bad for doing it? To fire up a bunch of people to feel powerless and aware of being stuck in a system. I am also part of this small business group and it really is tricky to get around this. However if this was the only option – could they not level the cost of it across businesses and then it does not have to tap my ethical energy? I can just get on with things.  Same to be said about packaging, How long do we need to tap ethical energy around our bins, because policies and systems are stopping us from doing the right thing?

But that I guess can be said about so much old system thinking which we are living in and trying to recover from. Trying to reclaim conscious responsibility. Trying to grow up dammit! Perhaps these are exactly the things which will score us our browny points before reincarnating back again to deal with the same things. I once had an idea that perhaps the whole of life existence have always had us in little groups or families of souls protecting the earth – so if I’m concerned with “waste” now as an artist / community builder / solution finder, I most definitely was a little dung beetle in a previous life, so perhaps I can look forward to being one of those amazing meal worms who eat polystyrene and poo out compost in my next life!

Last night I heard on the news the big reform in jails by Mister Cameron, and these ideas are very radical! Cool man. But as so clearly stated, you need to manage the system so as to support people with supportive communities before they end up in jail and then if they ended up in jail – when they have to reintegrate with life…as to not end up back in jail. Are the jails really the problems? They provide safety, homes and security and community to many of its residents and life outside is a pretty scary place where you are the outcast. I spoke to a guy, an ex-convict recently when he told me about his frustrations in getting support to do his CV. So what do you want me to write on my CV? I was in rehabilitation since I was a child – been in this institution then there and then in jail.  This support – which ticked a box, it is great, was obviously missing the mark dramatically. As for the reform, I absolutely agree this is the place where this employability issue can be tackled – however the support need to extend beyond the metal bars. Life is a pretty tough place for everyone and without support it can be ruthless. 

So back on Recycling, I know this is a long shot.  But. If we look at the materials before they turn into waste… and ensure they are created with the intention to be re – processed, re-produced after their initial function .ie packaging has expired. So even before the lifecycle even begins you already have ingrained in its DNA the highest potential in its material – the vision or blueprint of what it could become?

Great Read here as well on ethical, circular design practices and inspiring visionary thinking beyond plastics by Lynne Elvins from Design Rally. 

Also look at

Cradle to cradle marketplace – providing certification for Cradle to cradle product design.

Julie’s Bicycle – looking and supporting sustainability in the arts sector.

also a fantastic Cradle to Cradle design challenge competition.

 

Activate your inner Activist: Microbeads…

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I invite you when you next venture into a Boots: go and look at the scrubs of most of the beauty houses and look at the list of ingredients you will find:

Polyethylene = Plain plastic

Yes the same plastic bag you now get charged for at the check out – halleluja! Also the most basic building block of the whole plastic family.

Microbeads… yes. You can but only laugh or cry about this… the craze idea of first scrubbing your face with plastic particles… then flushing these down the drain.

Here is a fantastic video created by the Story of Stuff explaining the microbead:

Where do all these things go?? Mixing with other poisons it ends up in fish, molluscs, ending ultimately in the stomachs of larger fish and birds and our own stomachs? The scary question is indeed where does the plastic disappear to. Research is just beginning to look at the effect of the poisonous chemicals released through the break down of plastics and the effect this has on our health. 

What really gets me is the short sightedness in the lack of consideration of the end life of products, the lack of clear information, or misleading marketing jargon on packaging about the products and the lack of directed legislation to enforce these processes.

Lots of work needed to be done for circular cradle to cradle design processes to be adopted. Brands to take full responsibility for their product from conception, through design to final consumer use  – including disposal. At the moment these are all voluntary, and is limited by time and cost constraints allowing for proper research and processes. A revolution in design is necessary, but at the moment it comes down to ethics in the industry… especially in question after the findings in a recent article in the Sustainable Business Guardian about business leaders who are still in denial about climate change.

This is the response from the government regards to the petition to put more pressure on the industry to phase out the use of microbeads.

Basically they are putting an action plan together to work with industry on the voluntary removal of the plastic in facial products and they are doing more research.

This is already banned in the US which will come into action beginning of 2017. So should they need to do their own research, if this is already proven to be hazardous elsewhere? Looks like the industry is looking to buy more time… 

To conclude I would like to say a few things about our power as consumers: 

  • We need to familiarise ourselves more with plastic as a material, to understand its advantages and   where it is really useful – but also know when to refuse it – when it is for single use and absolutely detrimental to the environment ie. mixed polyethylene aka the single use take away fork.
  • Join in petitions to put pressure on industry, yes you are just signing something, but these do work. 
  • Refuse products and services which we do not agree with, and be vocal about it. Go on.. talk to the shop manager or drop an email or a tweet. If it is about ethics.. it is going to take individuals to feel this stuff with us – who will ultimately be closer to decision makers to facilitate change.
  • If you complain about a product, and take your business elsewhere, it is putting financial pressure on businesses to change their ways. 
  • I like the “Activist Revolution for 2016” idea. Find your passion and start making noise about it. Climate change does indeed provide an opportunity for us all to be great. To make a difference. It is a fantastic opportunity to step out of the status quo, question and redesign things. There is such a joy in not having to do something – but wanting to do it.
  • Why wait? Be part of the solution!
  • Note: Good products out there are: St Ives product containing 100% natural exfoliators, also take a look at making your own in this extensive list of products on DIYNatural blog.
  • Of course if you would like to be guaranteed of an ethical and natural product, Lush is just simply fantastic. A wonderful example of a company that just does everything splendidly, such an example to other industry leaders.
Tweet about products to the industry...

Tweet about products to the industry…

See more work done on this subject by:

5 Gyres

City to Sea

Being PALL – Plastic A Lot Less

Green Livvy

Story of Stuff Project

Plastic Oceans

Plastic Oceans Project

Ecotales

XMASSY Stuff!

XMas Lights LitterARTI made with Seamills Youth Club
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We have been up to lots of Xmassy fun things over the last few weeks. Combining art and upcycling workshops with local kids, we bring attention to litter issues and also show kids how easy it is to get creative with waste materials. Why spend money on cheap tinsel from the pound shop? When you can have fun making these! PS. Also for a great sustainable way to add the lovely glitter to your craft workshops, which are not a mess…(they are made from a plastic metal mix, so best to try and avoid these…) We are trying salt and food colouring. Check here: Still have to experiment to get it as shiny as the real deal, so let us know how you get on!

On Saturday, 5 December we will be at the Cafe’ on Seamills Square who will be unveiling a GIANT TEA COSY covering the building! Many local residents have been knitting away over the last few months getting blankets ready which have been sown together to create a Giant Teacosy. After the event these will be dismantled and given to charities supporting homeless people, including One25, and Crisis Centre Ministries. This lovely project has brought the community together with young and old having cups of tea and knitting away at the Cafe’. They will also have a Craft Market during the late morning on the 5th December.

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When we started enquiring about places for XMAS lights to go up in the local areas, as part of our Avonmouth and Kingweston Green Capital Funded Project, we were directed to the Cafe’ on the Square by Ash from  the Shirehampton Community Forum. As I made my way there I was met by the enthusiastic Heidi, one of the managers at the Cafe’. She told me about the ambitious Teacosy project and that she was just thinking that morning about getting some lights up for the building too. Well there you go, it was written in the stars…

So we combined forces with Young Bristol and The Seamills Boys and Girls Club in partnership with funding received form the BYCA funding pot for youth activities over the holidays, we created some exciting XMAS light decorations over the Half Term.

We will also be working with Avon Primary to decorate the Avonmouth Community Centre, as well as Oasis Academy Brightstowe to decorate the Community building of the Guinness Trust. We will post the results of these light sculptures after they are up!

Xmas decorations with LitterARTI

Another fun project has been a partnership with United Communities and the Easton Energy Group as well as the Bristol Energy Co-Op, creating Xmas decorations for Treefest at St. Mary’s Radcliffe Church. We made decorations during community events with the groups involved. Be sure to go and have a  look at all the trees in the beautiful building between the 8th – 13th December. We will be renting a tree from Co-Exist as Hamilton House. They will deliver for free in Bristol and after the Xmassy season you take the tree back and yes, it gets planted back in the forest.

Then we have coming up another XMAS TREE project in Lockleaze in partnership with United Communities and LPW as part of the final Green Capital 2015 events. We have been creating Xmas decorations with different groups in the neighbourhood and on the 12th December, there will be workshops taking place in Gainsborough Square from 11am, and then the Xmas tree will be lit up in the evening in the square. Do come and make more decorations and help us to decorate if you happen to be around!

Good luck with all your Xmas preparations!

 

 

 

Portway Sunday Park Sunday 25 October!

Portway Litter Peace Bench
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Upcoming events include building a Peace bench with Groundworks South  as part of the Portway Sunday Park  2015 Bristol Green Capital event.

It is a really underrated event, right next to the gorge, with the echos of silence around you without any cars around. It is truly been one of my favourite days out all year!

We have been looking for a space to build this bench, and have decided to take it back to Groundworks South HQ up in Lockleaze. The idea is to collect litter and stuff colddrink bottles with the messy stuff. this then gets compressed enough to form bricks which are used in the structure for the bench, together with an Avon mud mix amongst other things… more details on this on Sunday!

I went up to see the Time and Space Richard Long Exhibition at the Arnolfini the other day, and was like duh! what an inspiration to use for our bench. Richard Long was very inspired by the Avon, and still uses the clay in his works – as is seen in the Arnolfini as well.

So we invite you to come and enjoy one of the walks organised on the day on the Portway, feel our connection with the Avon River, and from this be inspired to decorate our bench with mud from the Avon – these will be transferred to tiles in a printing process – and then we will be documenting the stories and inspirations from the connection with this space to inspire the piece for installation in Lockleaze.

We will be there from 2pm.

Also join in the Carnival Procession of the St Pauls Carnival Organisers and show your support to keep this Festival going again in the new year! There will also be music and bike rides on the day! Really this is one not to miss!

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Avon Gorge on  the Portway in Bristol

Avon Gorge on the Portway in Bristol

 

 

 

 

litter peace bench process

litter peace bench process

Litter Peace Bench initial exploratory ideas

Litter Peace Bench initial exploratory ideas

ARTISTS PLAYDAYS @ SCRAPSTORE!

Artists Playday with LitterARTI at Children's Scrapstore
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Join us for Artists Playdays @Scrapstore on Tuesday 13 October!

This is a venture we have been hoping to get off the ground since our Waste of Space Exhibition at the Trinity Centre in August 2014. The collaboration between artists, the coming together and sharing of ideas and just playing together!

This is a free event, and we hope in partnership with Children’s Scrapstore, one of many more to come, utilising the space which they have opened up in the shop – to be used for creative activities.

What we are planning on the day is for Scrapstore will fill the room with scrap, and then we will be creating crazy stuff using the materials. After the playdays, Scrapstore will display the artworks created in the shop, together with the opportunity for artists to market themselves to customers in the shop!

So do bring your own tools – we will have a few bits , but you know what you are like!… and also some foody bits to share, we will do the same. Then also remember your business cards!

Really hope you can join us!

 

LitterARTI – Under the Plastic Ocean at the Harbour Festival – 18-19 July

Litterarti creative fun family workshops at festivals
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This coming weekend LitterARTI will be at the Harbour Festival – joining Cirque Bijou in the Kids area together with performance group – Bocadalupa and the Cardboard Club.

Over five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our seas. Imagine a world where the sea-creatures adapted to this new awry environment. Come and join us for creative workshops and fun under this weirdly wonderful plastic ocean.

We will be making instruments and sculptures and explore ways to reduce our use of plastics and look at ways collectively to save our oceans.

We will be making instruments and sculptures and explore ways to reduce our use of plastics and look at ways collectively to save our oceans. We will also be displaying artworks created by the Bannerman Road Primary School in Easton together with Artist, Amy Peck, as well as a sculpture co-created with kids in Lawrence Weston with LitterARTI and Artist Pete Margerum supported by BYCA and Bristol City Council. We will also be displaying wonderful artworks created by Bridget Ely, Fiona Hobson,Tracy Graham, Joel Mark Calvert and Eduardo Allen, and Phipholle.

The Friday eve also sees the launch of the life size Blue Whale by Codsteaks and Ape Project supported by Bristol Green Capital and the Arts Council in Millenium Square which will be on display during the Summer. This is also to bring awareness to the problem of plastics floating in our oceans.

See the pictures below form our previous event at the Backwell Festival the past weekend. We had so much fun with all the families and the kids were so creative!

Litterarti workshops at the Backwell Festival 2015.

Litterarti workshops at the Backwell Festival 2015.

LitterARTI workshops at the Backwell Festival 2015

LitterARTI workshops at the Backwell Festival 2015