Consumer Spirit: Life and Death of a Plastic Bag

The life of a plastic bag is pretty mundane but at St Luke’s “Bombed Out” Church, Liverpool, artist and architect, Jane Leach, has been making it more interesting.

Working in collaboration with local music artist collective, Urban Strawberry Lunch, Jane led workshops with vulnerably housed adults, young people not in education, employment or training and members of the public to create 21st Century “stained glass” panels for the church tower.

Plastic bags get filled with shopping and then either thrown away, or if they’re really lucky they may get recycled into other plastic bags. Using all sorts of different music as inspiration, those unwanted carriers have become decorative panels in a really simple and creative way.

unnamedFunded by the Arts Council England Lottery Funding and 23 Foundation, the results are on show at St Luke’s until Chinese New Year, bringing light, colour and life to this derelict building at the heart of Liverpool during these dark winter months. This is the ultimate in recycling and re-using!

Originally from Toxteth, Jane imagined this project as a way to illustrate the wealth of culture and talent in Liverpool.

“Stained glass is traditionally used to illustrate stories, often of the Bible, to make spaces more beautiful and to demonstrate wealth and status. I wanted to take consumerist waste and turn it into a positive message about individual people in Liverpool, especially those who often feel marginalised in our society like homeless and young unemployed people. I wanted to given them an opportunity to creatively make a strong visual statement at the heart of Liverpool, to share their individual stories and interests and assert themselves as part of our community.”


unnamed-3“This project is exciting because created from the plastic bags, that would be otherwise thrown away, is a beautiful installation that everyone can enjoy”, says Ambrose Reynolds, artistic director of Urban Strawberry Lunch, “We love the idea of turning waste into stunning and creative art work and the idea that from waste can come urban transformation.”

In celebration of Chinese New Year there will be a series of craft workshops at St Luke’s “Bombed Out” Church, Liverpool. You can come along and make your own plastic “stained glass” panel at the workshop on Sunday 2 February. Come along to the Bombed Out Church and release your creativity.