With some recycling being an expensive and fuel burning process, more artists are turning to upcycling, creating beautiful objects from plastics that remain in their original form.  One of these artists is Eve de Jong.

Eve de Jong is an artist and designer who works with recyclable materials such as plastic bottle caps/tops. Raised in South Africa, Belgium, and the Netherlands, she returned to South Africa to study Dramatic Art at Wits University. After her studies, Eve worked as a producer and director for a national television broadcaster and advertising agencies.

She first started collecting plastic bottle caps/tops for her children’s school but after realising just how much plastic we waste,  Eve decided that she wanted to do something good with the bottle caps/tops – art. Whole Earth Recycling provides Eve with plastic bottle caps/tops that Eve transforms into magnificent creations.

Eve de Jong and her assistant Sipho Khupe use wire, plastic, and a heat gun to make art. Upon receiving the plastic bottle caps/tops, they wash the bottle tops and then arrange them by colours before they can create magic with their hands. They construct the wire in the desired shape and then heat/melt the bottle caps/tops on the wire. Eve says that the cooling/drying of the melted plastic can take up to 2 weeks to set.

It was while hunting a retro seventies light fitting for a party that Eve struck on her first design. For her 50thbirthday, she created a colourful circular light fixture made out of the bottle tops. Since then, her work style has significantly changed.

“The message I would like to convey is to reconsider how they use waste and also how you can change something into something new.” We travelled to The Viewing Room Art Gallery at St Lorient Art Gallery to view Eve’s baobab trees.

The baobab tree is South Africa’s iconic “tree of life” however, for the Eve the trees  send the message of us needing to turn the tide against plastic pollution. “Plastic is waste but you can make something beautiful out of it,” says Eve de Jong.

Eve de Jong wants the world to be far more innovative with its waste and to appreciate this garden of a planet we all call home.

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