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Hannah Elizabeth Jones Biomarble installation

Hannah Elisabeth Jones graduated from Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University with First Class Honours, BA Textiles in Practice. She is the inventor of a unique new flexible material called 'BioMarble' which won attention from the judges plus numerous awards and commissions. Made from waste paper pulp, biodegradable ingredients and dyes, she has managed to create a stunning palette of colours from which she creates geometric units that are connected together to form large scale artworks.

What inspires you?

Before my textiles degree, I studied geography and biology, where learning about environmental issues and climate change fuelled my artwork. So naturally, what inspires me most is learning about creative ways in which people are trying to be 'green'. In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in pairing sustainability with good design, but there is still much more to be done.

What is your design process?

To create BioMarble (patent pending), I collect waste paper and pulp it with other biodegradable ingredients and dyes. This mixture goes through a refined process of making, resulting in sheets of BioMarble - a flexible material with a unique and intriguing surface pattern. Geometric units are cut from a palette of different BioMarble colours, then stitched together in an ombré formation, using traditional patchwork techniques to form 3-Dimensional tessellations.

How important is colour in your work?

My use of colour is vital for the flowing aesthetic of BioMarble. I have to be very precise when adding dyes to my material mixture, otherwise the resulting colour of BioMarble is not cohesive with my chosen palette. I normally develop my palettes from first hand experiences. For example, my Clwydian Range installation is inspired by walking in the Welsh mountains – warm purples from heather, ochre yellows from lichen and earthy greens from wild shrubbery.

I am also very particular with how I arrange the units of varied colours ready to be stitched into one tessellated design. In the past, I have carefully created a flowing gradient of colour in each design, but I would like to challenge this at some point in the future and maybe look to optical illusions for inspiration.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently preparing for a solo exhibition in the GK Gallery, Manchester this Spring. I will also be doing a material talk and workshop at Ravensbourne University this March and I have continuous projects with MaterialDriven. Before starting a master's degree this September, I am looking to do lots of experimentation with natural materials but moving away from BioMarble for a while. I find that his helps me look at my work from a different perspective and re-evaluate my making methods. I am also embarking on a collaborative project with a researcher from Loughborough University, Adam Davies, which will help kick-start a new strand of material investigation.

Where do you want to be in 3 years time?

In three years, I hope to have graduated from my master's degree and to have started PhD practice in bio-materials and their potential uses. I am very keen to promote sustainability not as a trend, but as a permanent part of our culture.

Is there one person who has really made a difference to your creative journey?

I had a very supportive and inspiring tutor throughout my final year of university. Kate Egan (Senior Lecturer on the BA Textiles in Practice program at Manchester School of Art) encouraged me to take an experimental approach to my work and find the answers myself. I feel very grateful for the ways in which Kate challenged my thinking and taught me to value the importance of refinement, which has been critical for the making of Bio-Marble.

What is your favourite colour?

Naturally my favourite colour depends on my mood. I love rich and bold colours that are simultaneously calming.

Have you got a design hero – or is there a company you aspire to being like or working for?

Recently I have been researching new work by Venn Reactor called 'the Peel Project'. Venn Reactor is a design-engineering company who have been experimenting with their waste orange peel from the daily juice consumption in the company's office. They combined the peel and pulp with different quantities of starches and bio-resins, generating several material outcomes with varied densities. Some materials have been moulded to form stools and some materials have been moulded to form lampshades – but all have a fantastic glow of natural colour. So many different outcomes can be created from one raw material and this has inspired me to test the functional potentials of BioMarble composites.

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