Tearing Stuff Apart

Tearing Stuff Apart

22nd July 2015 by Penny Jones
Collaborations & Conversations | 0 Comments


Tearing Stuff Apart is an Art project that joins artists, scientists and people in the community interested in exploring the stories behind the stuff we buy. We recently donated some of our seconds to the project hoping to use soil sieved from the River Irwell to print them!


Why t-shirts? Because the project has been looking at the environmental heritage of the local textile industry and comparing this to how some Far East production of non-organic and dyed t-shirts might affect Climate Change today.


Unfortunately the potential sediment soils taken from the river was too highly impacted by trace elements from past foundry and dye industries in the area. Soil expert Dr. Simon Huchinson recommended not to use them as heavy metals may transfer to the skin. Instead innocuous natural pigments were mixed to match the colours sieved from the soil including a beautiful yellow ochre which could be found in the river bed as a result of discharges from former coal mines.


S C R E E N  P R I N T I N G

3 artworks were printed on the t-shirts.

 Artwork 1 - The good, the bad and the ugly. Illustrated beasties found in the river - printed with colours from the river's sediment.

Artwork 2 - Our World (think of an apple) - a visualisation of the percentage of arable land from the surface of the earth - printed with the colour of the soil found.

Artwork 3 - Seeing through clouds - a visualisation of the particulate found in the air






The good news is that air pollution, plus water and soil measurements, compared to just four decades ago, have improved dramatically. The bad news is that sediment left from old industry compares to the pollution still being generated from some Far East manufacture. The other Bad and the Ugly are the bugs found in the River Irwell which show the water is of poor quality. Their presence is mostly due to nutrient pollution from treated sewage, rather than recent industry. And even the Ugly were made beautiful by the artists’ gorgeous prints and illustrations.

Along with Sativa we were delighted to be able to contribute to the fantastic projects that Tearing Stuff Apart is doing – using Art to illustrate the scientific evidence that we can no longer afford to ignore.


At the moment Tearing Stuff Apart is primarily based in the Manchester area but the hope is, that as awareness grows, the programme will be rolled out nationally. You can contact Tearing Stuff Apart via their face book page or through twitter.


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