Foekje Fleur van Duin

The Netherlands

In 2009, when Foekje Fleur van Duin was studying art in the Netherlands, she read an article about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area in the North Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates just under the water's surface. The size of the garbage patch is estimated from 700,000 square kilometres to over 15,000,000 square kilometres. The plastic debris that finds its way to the North Pacific on ocean currents comes from all over the world, including from the Netherlands.

After reading the article, van Duin went to the Maas River near Rotterdam in search of her own plastic patch. She found all kinds of objects from toys to detergent bottles. "On the one hand, it was dirty, toxic and very sad," she said of the debris. She collected some pieces up and took them home and found that once the mud had been cleaned off the objects, their colours and shapes were beautiful. After many years of floating around, they had lost their identities as cleaning detergent and shampoo bottles, and the colours had faded into soft tones. These castaways became the molds for "Bottle vases", van Duin's collection of porcelain containers. With the "Bottle vases" project, van Duin's hopes to spread awareness about the pollution caused by plastic.

The bottles are made by hand in China by Middle Kingdom. Founded by Bo and Alison Jia in 1998, Middle Kingdom celebrates the tradition of fine Chinese porcelain while creating new objects, both subtle and elegant.