A huge eco-friendly County Durham art installation is to be constructed from plastic bottles.

Communities from across the county will come together to make the artwork ahead of the light festival Lumiere, which will take place in Durham City later this autumn.

Free sessions held in County Durham’s libraries will see schoolchildren, families and community groups turning old plastic bottles into green and white, glittering, icicle-type structures.

These ‘icicles’ will then be joined together to make magnificent chandeliers. The chandeliers will form part of a spectacular art installation, entitled Bottle Festoon.

The sessions – led by professional artists Kay Henderson, Vicky Holbrough and Dawn Belshaw – will be taking place between now and 1st November.

As well as forming part of the build-up to Lumiere and encouraging people to get in touch with their creative sides, the sessions aim to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

38.5 million plastic bottles are used in the UK every single day and only half of them get recycled.

This means that, every day, more than 16 million bottles end up in landfill, are burnt or find their way into watercourses, often being washed into seas and oceans where they cause immense damage.

The workshops, organised by Durham County Council’s Arts Team, will give local people the chance to contribute to Lumiere, which is the UK’s largest lights festival.

This year’s event, to be held between 14th and 17th November, will mark the festival’s 10th anniversary. Lumiere is commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by Artichoke.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, Cllr Joy Allen, said, “Bottle Festoon is such a fantastic project because by creating something beautiful out of plastic waste, it will make people think twice before buying anything in a plastic bottle or throwing their plastic packages and bottles into the bin.”

“It is also bringing people together, which is such an important part of Lumiere. The festival attracts visitors from across the region and beyond, which is truly wonderful, but ultimately Lumiere belongs to the people of County Durham.”

“This is their festival and our community outreach programme celebrates this and encourages residents of all ages to get involved.”

If you attend a workshop, please bring along some used plastic bottles. Though white and green bottles are preferred, bottles of other colours can also be incorporated into the chandeliers.

Two-litre bottles would be best, but one-litre and 500 ml bottles can also be used. All the bottles should be rinsed in warm water and their labels should be taken off.

For a timetable of the Bottle Festoon workshops, please go to http://www.durham.gov.uk/libraryactivities.

The Bottle Festoon project is supported by County Durham Community Foundation, St Margaret’s Centre Durham and Hays Travel. Lumiere’s community engagement programme is sponsored by Motorpoint.

The full programme for Lumiere – which is set to include enormous light projections, interactive artworks and incredible installations by local and international artists – will be announced in October.

To learn more about Lumiere, please visit https://www.lumiere-festival.com/.

(This article’s featured image shows youngsters with their creations at Seaham Library.)

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