Michelle Lowe-Holder

Michelle Lowe-Holder is an unbelievably talented and interesting woman, she is an artist & maker who uses the body as a canvas to create unique and artisanal pieces. Her art utilises both modern and heritage techniques with mixed materials and a sustainable approach – each collection evolves from one another, led by a concept refined and developed through the craft.

Michelle’s work has been featured in press internationally including Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, Vogue India, Vogue Japan, Financial Times, Dazed and i-D magazine. Too, The Natural History of Copenhagen will be exhibiting several of her pieces in April 2019 from the “Fashioned by Nature” exhibition V&A Museum which will be touring internationally for the next 3 years.

The V&A shop in London too, currently sells a specially commissioned jewellery collection by Michelle, inspired by sustainability and nature, pieces are also featured in the museum book. Pieces include jewellery such as the beautifully handcrafted bracelet below reworked by up-cycling glass bugle beads into a unique cuff (1st picture) and a super textured cuff made from reworked birch wood and magnets. Working with biodegradable materials and end of line fabrics, Michelle Lowe-Holder creates handmade pieces with zero waste combining design techniques such as hand painting, hand sewing, laser cutting and engraving.

Michelle has also been involved in many projects from designing a knit pattern collection for a heritage Norwegian wool company, to creating a line of clothes for Topshop to up-cycling for M&S, being part of the CSF development team for the Nike Maker App and creating the project ‘the URBAN FORAGER’.

Here Michelle speaks about my favourite project of hers: ‘the URBAN FORAGER’

“the URBAN FORAGER

The URBAN FORAGER was a multi media installation we created for London Design Festival & Brompton Design District Collaborating with photographers , a film maker and 2 designers “the URBAN FORAGER” exhibition investigates waste, consumption and the beauty of discarded resources. LDF Sept 2018 BDD theme was “Material Consequences” curated by Jane Withers in partnership with British Land, V&A, and the Mayor of London.

In 2015 I began noticing clusters of steel cylindrical tubes appearing every morning in clusters or strewn across the streets around my house and studio in White Chapel. I began to pick them up and obsessively collect them. Shiny and beautiful “Creamers” as they are known in the culinary world contain nitrous oxide gas and are designed to whip cream. However if the gas is collected in a balloon and inhaled, a 10-30 second high of euphoria, laughter and happiness is achieved  – “Nos”, “hippy crack” “whippets” or  “laughing gas” are the common names used for this fast and short-lived high.

While illegal under the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, Nos lives in a grey area.  While you cannot sell it for illegal purposes it is hard to prove its usage. Easily bought over the Internet, it is cheap and widely accessible. Often mixed with other drugs long-term usage can lead to brain damage, memory loss, a weakened immune system and incontinence.

The UK has the highest youth drug usage in the world with Tower Hamlets and East London’s strong “night time economy” boasting the highest level of Class A drug use in the capital. Nitrous Oxide is currently the 14th most used drug globally (alcohol being the first)

However Nos creates the largest volume of waste – each canister is made of several ounces of white metal or punched steel. Casually thrown to the ground and regarded as a disposable commodity – they represent a strong metaphor for our society’s collective misunderstanding of materials, and valuable metal waste. Below is an example of the art which was created.

Watch the video’s below to find out more information on “the URBAN FORAGER “.

For more information on Michelle’s work and projects, please visit her website here, or to buy some of her unique jewellery please take a look here.

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