All of the materials used in artist, Jo Atherton’s work have been found on the tideline. In her flotsam weaving, printing and writing, she is inspired by the stories these orphaned objects have to tell. Her work highlights the diversity of plastic items washing ashore and how the ubiquity of this material characterises the geological age of human influence – the Anthropocene.
The sea curates orphaned objects and presents them to the shore; a temporary narrative replenished with each changing tide. Like the pottery archaeologists use to define human cultures of the past, a layer of plastic will signify our own throwaway society. What will these discarded fragments say about us?
About Jo Atherton
All of the materials used in Jo Atherton’s work have been found on the UK coast. Jo has exhibited her unique weaving and printing around the UK and beyond, at venues including the Natural History Museum, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, London Luton Airport and the University of Edinburgh. In 2017, Jo was invited to speak at the University of Cambridge in support of their Curious Objects exhibition, and subsequently Being Human, the National Festival of the Humanities. She also produced a weekend of activities beneath the iconic Cutty Sark as part of the Totally Thames Festival which she returned to deliver in 2018.
In 2018, Jo was been invited to The Harbour Gallery on the island of Jersey to lead a week of flotsam inspired workshops. She was creative advisor to University College London for their plastic-free campaign and was also invited to speak about her work at the international PetroCultures conference at the University of Glasgow this summer. Jo spent World Oceans Day with The National Maritime Museum in London and exhibited her unique cyanotypes in Ocean Matters at Bristol Aquarium. Jo unveiled ‘High Water Mark’ an installation piece for Art Materiality & Representation, a conference with the Royal Anthropological Institute and The British Museum this summer for their Stories in the Making theme.
Jo has been delivering workshops for five years and is a Verified Provider with the educational service, The Culture Challenge, along with being a verified Arts Award Advisor. Jo has a BA (Hons) in English Literature and MA in Cultural & Critical Studies, and is currently writing www.fifty-things.com, an anthology of objects collected on the UK coastline.