A few years ago, Sioban Imms, an art student at the University of Brighton, had a very novel idea. Imms gathered up hodge-podge bundles of forks, knives and spoons from the local charity shop and turned them into new, complete sets by adding an element that united them: resin.
The driving concept behind Pick and Mix cutlery, as it was called, was our society's staggering divorce rate and the resulting issues of identity and abandonment. The added irony of silverware being a primary wedding gift only intensifies the meaning.
The white-resin coating on a group of mismatched spoons allows each unique shape to remain, but joins the group as a whole.
Coating the handles of the discarded flatware with resin allowed Imms to reconnect them, visually, so they looked like a complete service. The pattern variations of the handles were still visible, but only on second glance. "I use existing products that have lost value either as a result of becoming divorced from sets or rendered ‘unfashionable,’" the artist states. "In doing this I hope to set up a dialogue, which inspires us to reconsider the objects we discard or overlook."
By working with recycled materials and exploiting their imperfection, Imms' "new" sets fall right in line with her design tenets: that an object must be socially relevant, technically efficient, visually and conceptually stimulating, all the while remaining simple in form. The resin can be applied to bone, steel, plastic, glass and wood, so the options are limitless. Imms has even devised a way to make them dishwasher safe.
As a follow up to the Pick and Mix cutlery, Imms has begun coating the exteriors of charity-shop glasses (above) that have lost their sets and don't readily sell. The resin reveals any surface detail and allows the original pattern to still be visible on the interior of the glass.
Due to the very nature of the designs, neither can actually be put into production. Though Imms would probably happily accept a commission, as she's clear about tailoring the resin color and coating up to 5,000 pieces, should an offer arise.
For more information, visit www.biskybat.com.