A CORK artist has launched a range of Christmas cards which are basically a load of old rubbish.
Tamzin Merivale’s unique cards are printed on paper made from post-consumer waste and will appeal to those striving to have a sustainable and guilt-free Christmas.
That includes Tamzin herself who is committed to making environmentally friendly decisions in all aspects of her everyday life such as using the bus when it would be far handier to drive and avoiding plastic wrapped foods even if it’s something she desires.
The artist, who grew up in Inniscarra only returned to Cork from Florence at the beginning of 2019 where she had been for the last number of years.
“I worked in a design gallery and through working with artisans around the city I became a designer myself. For example, with one local artisan, I designed and produced a collection of jewellery made from reclaimed wood,” she said.
Back in Cork she started drawing again, something which she hadn’t done in years.
“Then Pink Moon (café on Washington Street) saw some of my posts on Instagram and approached me to do an exhibition in December so it made sense to make Christmas cards too,” she said adding that she always feels inspired to create at this time of year.
It was important to her to print the cards on recycled paper and when she heard about ‘badly made books’ on Friar Street, owned by Seán O’Sullivan, she felt it would be a good match.
He started out in 2015 making books and paper products, experimenting with different processes, and now the operation has become so sophisticated that their waste paper is further recycled for insulation for local housing.
“Sean is very passionate about finding the finest ‘rubbish’ (paper made from post-consumer waste materials) to print on.
"He printed two of my designs in black ink, and then I work on each one individually, so they are all unique. I wanted to add a bit of colour/gold and silver to make them very Christmassy!,” said Tamzin.
She admits that living sustainable was easier in Florence than in Cork.
“Every day I consider how I live and how my life impacts the environment. After life in Italy, where I cycled everywhere and could source all of my food seasonally and locally, adjusting back to Ireland where fruit and veg are wrapped in plastic was really hard. But this year I haven't bought a single bottle of shampoo/deodorant/etc as I switched to the shampoo bars and other products by Palm Free Irish Soaps.
“I go to refill stores to refill bottles of washing up liquid and detergent. I try to take buses even when it would be far more convenient to drive. I always carry my keep-cup and water bottle with me to avoid unnecessary waste. So often there are foods that I would like to buy that I refuse to get because they come in plastic, or have been flown in from half-way around the world.
“We all need to fly less, and plant more trees, and do so much more to create a sustainable way of living on earth, and sometimes it can be overwhelming, but I'm just trying my best.
"Cork Zero Waste are a great source of info on how to reduce food waste, for example, and they hold great events like fashion swaps around the city.”
Tamzin’s cards and prints are on show at Pink Moon throughout this month.
“I am primarily a designer rather than an artist, so this work came from the need to create visually stimulating patterns and unusual designs that could applied in a number of ways.
"Most of my work is in black and white, but I experimented with colour a lot this year, as I love the effect it has on the brain and how it has the power to change one's mood. I like to draw geometric shapes or curved lines which in theory are opposing styles, yet the end result is the same; something that flows.”
She also pointed out that it was an all-Cork exhibition.
“I couldn't have done it without the help of Cork-based printers, framers, and of course, one of Cork's favourite cafes!”
As well as being available to buy from Pink Moon the cards can be ordered directly from her via Instagram.
“They cost €3 each. If you would like to support a local artist and give guilt-free Christmas cards, please do come and buy. Know that each one you send will be unique,” she said.