Canal and River Trust Blog II

Humans make plastic

I began making plastic mobiles out of waste plastic bags, back in 2013 in Bolivia - I then exhibited them in public spaces so they could be viewed alongside the natural environment they were threatening.

This blog starts in Bolivia. Whilst I was based there as a resident artist for NGO Sustainable Bolivia, I investigated how plastic was used in the South American nation. This led me to not only make mobiles out of plastic bags, but it fired up my desire to draw attention to the litter issue in Cochabamba, the city I was staying in. In time, it has led me to want to spread the message in the UK and highlight the problem we have with plastic waste. 

Today in London I continue to make mobiles out of plastic from the canals, and plastics that are currently not widely recycled. I look at nature, natural forms and pattern, especially flowers and the alges that cover the canal during the summer months. Instead of exhibiting them along the canals, I hold workshops to help teach mobile creation, but also it's a way of sharing my passion for plastic waste. 

During workshops I provide visual aids with a strong emphasis on the natural and architectural environment through which the canal passes. I then hand the creativity over to the participants, all the while standing by offering practical advice. I want those attending to make something meaningful to them, something that will make them feel good. 


How's it done?

Humans Make Plastic is a huge mobile that I've constructed with the work made by participants of three workshops in conjunction with UCL. To connect the many smaller mobiles I used strands of plastic bags and wire, and wove sections of striking colour through the piece to give it some uniformity and make it visually stimulating. When hung the mobile moves and flows in the air.

It’s delicate nature is a direct reflection of the fragilities of our environment.

Camilla Brendon

What's upcoming?

I’m getting ready to give my next workshop, this time it will be at my studio, Kindred in Maida Hill a ten minute walk from the Regent's Canal. The workshop is called Trash Tree Decorations and will enable participants to make decorations out of plastic bottles. It will run from 2pm - 6pm on Saturday 17 of November. The open studio is 17/18 November 12 noon - 6pm, and there is a full program of events both days.

If you come along feel free to bring old plastic bottles from home and any you've picked up from canal tow paths, we can use them all.

The open studios are free and fun for all ages, dogs on leads are welcome.

Humans Make Plastic will be exhibited at Kindred during the open studio.

I’ll be showing works from my series of paintings and collages COAST at the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise, a ten minute walk form the Ladbroke Grove Canal. This showing will incorporate a site specific installation. November 27 - January 7 with an opening reception on the 27 November from 6:30 - 8:00.

Trash Tree Decorations at Kindred Open Studios

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be encouraging visitors to Kindred Studio’s upcoming open studio to make use of unwanted plastic bottles by turning them into tree decorations!

Fun for all the family on Saturday 17th November 14:00-18:00.

I’ll be in my studio for the rest of the weekend, so come on up to 205 to have a look at how COAST. is coming along!

Humans Make Plastic

I’m really happy to have been mentioned in the UCL Public Engagement Blog:

A very engaging summer: public engagement in east London

By Briony M Fleming, on 31 July 2018

Humans Make Plastic


Ahead of Open Doors: Vote 100 (a partnership showcase event between East Bank organisations) UCL’s Engagement Team, together with Bow Arts Trust, brought together UCL researchers, local artists and zero waste activists in an event to discuss plastics, sustainability and women-led activism. The 20th June event, later named Humans Make Plastics by participants, was led and designed by London artist Camilla Brendon. It used plastic pollution (much of it sourced from the River Lea with the support of the Canal and River Trust) to design and build a collaborative sculpture which acted as a tool to talk about the research being undertaken into plastics at UCL. Catherine Conway of Unpackagedalso gave a talk about her role in trying to remove plastic from the food and retail supply chain. The final sculpture from the workshop, will also be shown at the Bloomsbury Festival in October.


Open Doors: Vote 100

Open Doors: Vote 100 was the first time all East Bank partners (Sadler’s Wells, Smithsonian Institute, London College of Fashion, UCL and V&A) came together to deliver a collaborative event. The event, on the 22nd July, included dance, music and poetry, displays, debates, workshops and screenings, and was suitable for all ages. Highlights included excerpts from Suffraggedon, an in-production hip-hop feminist musical written by Guilty Feminist contributors, an exhibition showing the works of 20 artists inspired by an image embroidered by incarcerated suffragettes in 1912, and dance performances & workshops from Company Wayne Macgregor and Myself UK Company.


In addition to re-delivering both its Textile 100 and Humans Make Plastics workshops, UCL was also represented by a number of academics who took part in an item called the long conversation. This format brought together artists, film makers, scientists and activist to discuss the question ‘What makes you optimistic about the future’. The conversation acted as a relay with each person being first interviewed and then becoming the interviewer. You can read the full programme on the Olympic Park website.

It has been a great summer so far and we are looking ahead to our autumn term activities. First up is Harvest Stomp, an event on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with live music, dancing, food stalls, arts and craft stalls as well as a programme of workshops, demonstrations and entertainment. We will be hosting a stall in partnership with Biochemical Engineering and their micro-brewery (yes, UCL has a micro brewery!). If you are interested in taking part in this event or finding out what more UCL is doing in east London please send us an email at: 

34South|61North Interview

An interview I gave in Brazil in 2013. It explains the project that I was working on at the time, which laid the foundations for what I'm up to today! 

Apresentation of Camilla Brendon's project 34South | 61North. Making art on the road from Chile to Alaska. A film by: Lara Jacoski + Patrick Belem More Information about the project: Thanks to: Bicicletaria Cultural Casa Selvática Aletier Luis Lopes Salve