NewsRoyal School of Needlework

Hand embroidery graduate runs sustainable basketry workshop

Upcycling found plastic waste from beaches in the UK into intricate woven forms, will be the premise of a workshop that BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery graduate Nina Brabbins is leading later this month.

Nina graduated from the Royal School of Needlework at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in 2018 and since then she has been exploring the connection between the human and natural worlds in her work, namely exploring the human impact on nature through our throw-away culture of single-use plastics.

 'Sea Change' © Nina Brabbins

Our oceans and beaches are becoming increasingly drowned in plastic waste, with around eight-million tonnes of plastic waste escaping into the ocean from coastal nations each year. Nina is one of the countries, forward-thinking designers, coming up with innovative ways to re-use this discarded material.

“Sustainability will always be the theme driving my work,” explains Nina.

As a sculptural textiles artist, Nina embarked upon UCA's three-year Hand Embroidery degree course with the goal to learn a traditional and highly specialised skill. Having this under her belt, in her final year, Nina specialised in Textile Art, giving her the freedom to be more experimental and pursue a more conceptual based practice in a contemporary field.

Sea Plastic Basket  © Nina Brabbins

Having showcased her work at New Designers in London, at IN:SITE Festival in Birmingham, and at Stroud Open Studios, Nina now teaches her own skill-based workshops.

In the latest of these, on 28 September, Nina will be running a session to teach coil basketry using plastic sea-waste at the Bristol Textile Quarter. Nina will show how to upcycle such items as fishing gear waste and beach plastic to create a new handmade bowl or placemat. The session will teach the basics of the process of coil basketry, and one stitch that can be used with this technique.

“I hope people will leave the workshop with a new skill, and a new awareness of the possibilities of working with sea plastics –opening up a conversation around re-using discarded wasted materials,” said Nina.

To book a place on the workshop click here.

To see more of Nina’s work follow @ninabrabbins

To learn more about studying hand embroidery at UCA visit our course pages.