One man’s waste is another man’s treasure – or in Michelle Reader’s case, another woman’s artistic supplies. The innovative, Nottingham-based sculptor quite literally moulds exhibits from garbage, creating beautiful pieces that also prompt debate about how and why we throw things away.
“I studied fine art in Leicester, and I got into using unusual materials,” says Michelle, 43. “I used things like resin, but I didn’t like the fact they were toxic. I started to think about materials that would have less of an impact environmentally.” She initially “tinkered with tin cans, bits and bobs basically” – but soon began to scale up her projects. It’s been a fascinating journey. “In 2000, I worked at Leicester’s recycling centres – I basically went to the local household waste sites and was an artist in residence,” she recalls. “I made sculptures from some of the interesting things that got left behind. I think the staff found it quite interesting!”