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13 Sharks of False Bay with “artivist” Janet Ormond

By Danel Wentzel, 8th August 2022

13 Sharks of False Bay

With “artivist” Janet Ormond from Curb Beach Plastics.

 

What do sharks and plastic have in common? Well, when in the right hands, they both serve as inspiration for exceptional artwork!

Over the past three months, we have been collaborating with local artist, Janet Ormond, to bring a series of 13 sharks of False Bay to life in a new exciting way!

We slowly released each shark art piece and a fact file as the work was completed. After three months, we finally have our full gallery at the Shark Education Centre, and we can’t wait to share it with you!

“Artivist” Janet Ormond from Curb Beach Plastic at her local beach in Kommetjie. Image by Jo Munnik.

But first, the inspiration around the pieces.

Turning plastic into art – How do you repurpose waste?

 

In Cape Town, litter on our beaches is a common sight. After spending years and countless hours cleaning up litter, we wanted to try to put a positive spin on a pretty sad situation.

For our team at the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre, crafts have always been a great tool to engage kids and educate them in a fun and entertaining way. It is a powerful tool to convey the plastic pollution problem on our beaches. During our camps and holiday clubs, we would take learners for beach clean-ups, followed by ocean-inspired arts and crafts projects using the litter we found. Many materials found on beaches can be repurposed. This is a mindset we share with local artist Janet Ormond.

 

About Janet Ormond

Janet’s home studio, where she creates all her signature plastic art pieces. Photo by Janet Ormond.

This inspiring ocean-loving local from Kommetjie, in Cape Town, is taking the phrase “one man’s trash is another one’s treasure” to a whole new level.

All as a self-proclaimed “artivist”, Janet’s work is made entirely from the plastic she finds along the beach. She wants to raise awareness about environmental impacts to try and minimise the effects of plastic pollution on our oceans.

Creating her art is extremely time-consuming. Janet tirelessly cleans the beaches close to her home on the Cape Peninsula. The plastic is taken back to her house, sorted, and washed with her collected rainwater. She then sorts all the cleaned plastic before she can start the creative process in her home studio.

She hopes her art can make people reflect on their past, present and future choices and make a change in their own lives to help the global problem we all contribute to.

In between her busy schedule of finding plastic, creating art, trail running around the mountains and running after her busy family at home. We managed to track Janet down and ask her a few questions.

Janet working on one of her shark art pieces. Photo by Janet Ormond.

Why did you want to take on this project?

“Creating awareness around plastic pollution through education is the key to finding a solution to the problem, so I was thrilled to collaborate with the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Educational Centre. It’s an amazing opportunity to not only share work with others but also shine a light on the problem our ocean is facing in a completely different way with art.”

Was it difficult creating so many different shark species?

“It was quite a challenge working on such a variety of species. I had to make sure that I had the correct colour plastics available to create a real likeness to each specific shark.”

Which shark-inspired artwork is your favourite?

”I think if I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be the first in the series, the Tiger Catshark. The first few small ones were definitely the most challenging as they have clear natural markings that are crucial in identifying them, and it was not easily achievable with the types of non-pliable plastics I had at hand. So it was really satisfying when I finished each one.”

 

The gallery

 

Our False Bay sharks are just as diverse as the materials that are used to create these art pieces. They range from the 30 cm puffadder shyshark to the 6 m king of the ocean, the white shark!

13 Sharks of False Bay gallery by Janet Ormond from Curb Beach Plastics.

The gallery is currently on display inside our staff area at the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre, with the hopes of moving it out for public display in the near future.

A closer look at some of the art pieces created by Janet.

Curious to learn more about these shark species? We made 13 shark fact files to go with each species. Download them here for free.

 

Call to action

Feeling inspired by Janet’s incredible artwork? We have some good news for you!

 

Crafting is for everyone – whether you are looking for a new hobby, a teacher looking for arts and crafts inspiration or a mom looking to entertain her never-ending bundles of energy. Crafting is a great way to encourage kids to learn, spark their creativity and spend quality time together as a family.

We want to share with you a few tips on how you can make your very own ocean debris art at home. So you can enjoy your very own ocean-inspired artwork!

Janet’s collection of plastic collected off her local beach. Photo by Janet Ormond.

How to safely DIY your own plastic art:

First: Go venture and collect your plastic! Wear shoes and gloves to protect your hands and feet from sharp edges. These can also protect your hands from gunk on the plastics.

Second: Time to wash up! Clean and sterilise the plastic. Get a parent or guardian to help you soak the item in fresh water. If the items are small, you can put it in a sealed container with water, shake and strain to remove it.

Third: Create! And be creative. Take a page from Janet’s book and use nature as a source of inspiration for your art.

Lastly: Show it off! Once your artwork is complete, use them to decorate. Share it with your friends or family, or even share it as a gift.

Repurposing the materials that already exist is one way to reduce our footprint.

Janet uses the natural world around her to inspire the majority of her artwork. Photo by Janet Ormond.

In December this year, you will be able to visit Janet’s home studio when she opens it to the public during the annual Kommetjie Open Studios event.

To learn about Janet’s ocean plastic journey, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook or visit her website.

Janet’s work was recently featured on CNN Africa’s “Entrepreneurs in South Africa reimagining waste”, – which you can watch here (from 17:00).

Janet’s home studio in Kommetjie, Cape Town. Photo by Janet Ormond.

Found this blog useful? We would love to hear from you! Share a photo of your plastic artwork with us. Email – dani@saveourseas.com.

Happy creating!