It’s a wrap! Design couple win council approval for environmental project

SADDLEWORTH couple Rebecca May and Michael Wild have been selected to lead a new environmental project on behalf of Oldham Council.

Rebecca May and Michael Wild

The art commission initiative, in partnership with WRAP UK, will launch in January 2020 and engage with six schools and colleges across the borough.

The couple, who live in Delph but have a studio space in Diggle, will challenge pupils and students to produce a design to highlight the problems created by single-use plastics, littering and fly tipping.

The winning graphic will be displayed on lampposts and litter bins throughout the town.

Rebecca and Michael’s selection to drive the campaign is the latest commendation for a business launched at the 2018 London Design Festival following selection for the Crafts Council’s Hothouse Emerging Designer Programme a year earlier.

“The younger generation is far more informed about environmental issues than I ever was,” said Michael.

“They understand things like single use plastics finishing up in the sea.

“But then outside school they end up dropping bottles and little on the floor.

“All the schools will compete to produce a design and we will be on the panel to choose the winning one.”Rebecca and Michael met 16 years ago while working part-time in an art gallery but first worked collaboratively in 2012 when establishing a self-designed and constructed pop-up ceramics gallery.

They have worked in London and Manchester but have been further inspired by their move to Saddleworth.

“When we walk out of the door and see the amazing beauty but the damage if it is not looked after, it had a profound impact on us,” said Michael.

“We did a research project for the Craft Council in Denmark.

“We went to a design show which was great but we realised we could be complicit in making things that predominantly end up in landfill.”

Additionally to their OMBC community project, the couple design handmade objects which will have a much longer shelf life.

And if you want a left field choice of Christmas present how about a ceramic or concrete pigeon inspired by the ‘winged rats’ of Manchester city centre.

“One of our first designs is the Coo bird, a popular handmade product inspired by common city pigeon,” said Rebecca.

“We saw these pigeons in Piccadilly Gardens and the challenge was to make something to beautify these birds which are so often vilified.

“The chicken bone leg design was inspired by observing them eating out of a KFC bucket. The colours reflect the pigeon’s plumage.”

As an extra touch the duo have devised a gold metal cast bird poo-coo pu.

The bird also comes with its own clip, asking new owners to photograph the pigeon in its new habitat which then goes in a growing bird world Instagram community.

“There’s certainly been some risk-taking along the way, but so far our new collaboration has been a truly life-changing and a very exciting next stage of our creative careers,” added Michael.

• For more information on Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP UK) visit
www.wrap.org.uk

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