Claire started Gardens Rock Bristol several years ago to do something positive for herself after having two children and a busy job. Having previously worked on a number of renewable energy projects, the values of sustainability and ethics very much line up with her own – buying second hand, recycling, upcycling and only using eco-friendly and sustainable products. Ultimately she wants to teach her children to respect and protect the planet, and she can do this by leading by example. However, being exposed to a number of children’s parties in particular made her realise how throwaway, pointless and single use plastic is still so endemic in society. Gardens Rock Bristol’s ethos is to be helping in the fight for change, by focussing on unique, personal and long lasting gifts and encouraging people to buy local.
Claire began painting vegetable markers for allotments, pet portraits and mandalas on rocks (hence the name – although since then has moved from Bristol to Wales!), selling in the local area. More recently she has been upcycling old, warped and scratched vinyl records that are destined for landfill. Her husband is a record collector and took a gamble on a charity shop record (Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield), but it was too scratched up to play. Instead of putting it in the bin, Claire decided to paint a mandala on it and an obsession was born.
"I’ve fallen in love with the dotting technique as I find it meditative and very calming. I don’t often know how a mandala will turn out and it’s a lovely creative journey to go on".
"I hate the thought of vinyl going into landfill – even if the record can’t make music anymore, I hope that when painted it can still bring joy to someone".
Since selling her art, Claire has been shocked at the number of people that have said they’ve taken loads of records to the tip as no one was interested in them. She is now donated many and has several big boxes in the garage waiting to be upcycled!
In future Claire has plans to make the packaging plastic free – She's working out how to safely and affordably send vinyl art without bubble wrap (the Beyond Bamboo team will be working on a solution for this with Claire), although she always reuses the bubble wrap and packaging that has been sent to her. She'd also like to start a local art group when the time is right, focussing on upcycling and reuse of materials as well as using art to develop community relationships.
"I’ve set up my store at Beyond Bamboo as I want to be in a community of like-minded people that value upcycling over buying new, eschew fast fashion and are trying to make a difference".
Check out Gardens Rock Bristol store here
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