With floating islands of plastic in the Pacific and microplastics entering the seafood chain, a South African artist has turned herself into an environmental artivist to address the problem. Transforming waste into small pieces of creative joy is getting her message across.

Janet Ormond is an Environmental Activist and has taken her passion to make plastic art to raise awareness of climate change and microplastics. Her daily routine includes going to the beach and collecting plastics of all shapes and sizes to make her art. She then goes home and sorts, washes and dries the plastic before deciding on what art to make.

“I hope that it [plastic art] brings some people joy even though it’s a material that is ultimately so tragic.”

A mother of 2 boys, Janet hopes that her art encourages people to be conscious of their plastic waste and try to minimise it as much as possible. Two of her most found items on the beach are lollipop sticks and ear buds, items that can be found in shops and are usually discarded without another thought. 

Janet has a sizable collection of plastics ranging from semi-deteriorated spinning tops to bits and pieces of unknown plastic shards.

Collaborating with the Save our Seas Foundation Shark education centre in Kalk Bay and being commissioned to do the 13 sharks of Kalk Bay, was an honour for Janet. She hopes that the people who see her work there will be learning about the impact of plastic on the environment.

Janet is currently working on a series called ‘The Gardens below’.

“It’s very difficult to make the change we all need to see, but one small change in your life can make a huge difference one a daily basis over a period of time. By just changing one or two things in your whole household, in your daily work life can have a positive impact going forward.”

Janet is living the idea that “you can’t go back to the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Doing so might still transform our world.

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