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Bagging up the environmental issue with art

PHUKET: Lopburi-native Prasopsuk ‘Pom’ Leadviriyap has just returned from Bosnia, where she has spent the last three years helping to create latex Halloween masks, among other 'fantasy masks' and body parts.

By Jody Houton

Wednesday 4 December 2013, 06:06PM

Pom with one of her handbags made entirely from plastic bags.

Pom with one of her handbags made entirely from plastic bags.

She also spent a considerable amount of her Eastern European sojourn working with the country’s children and impoverished to try to raise awareness of how art could help with environmental issues.

Now she’s back home in Thailand – and, since 1997, her adopted province of Phuket – with the aim of doing the same thing, and she’s off to a great start.

“I don’t want plastic bags in my country, but if we do [have them] I want to teach children how to make hand bags out of them,” explains Pom.

“I want to show the world that Thai people are very creative and good designers, and that we’re not only known as people who make copies.”

Attending a November 22 meeting of the Phuket Environmental Foundation (which we will be looking at in more depth in a future issue of The Phuket News), Pom met some interesting people, and managed to make some vital connections.

“I met Professor Chantinee Booonchai and will be visiting Prince of Songkhla University [PSU] to deliver a workshop on how to make my plastic bag handbags.”

The PSU workshop will be held December 16-17, followed by another at the Indy Market in Phuket Town on December 21 to 22.

The activity that Pom is most excited about, however, is the week-long ‘Less is More’ exhibition that will be held at Jungceylon from January 16 to 22.

“I’m looking for 100 designers to get involved with me to help me create all of the pieces. The Jungceylon Courtyard [where the exhibition will be held] is a huge space.”

Pom will be leading workshops to show children – and anyone interested in learning – how to make plastic bag handbags and also, hopefully, create a huge plastic bag statue, though the details of this Pom is remaining tight-lipped about.

In order to be able to do this, however, Pom needs plastic bags – 10,000 of them.

“I’ve had a pledge from 7/11 and Tesco Lotus that they would donate 2,000 each, but I still need 6,000 more.”

Some supermarkets and department stores she has approached have refused to get involved with the project, citing a lack of budget as reason. She is therefore appealing for plastic bag donations and help from people on the island.

Pom explains that although her primary aims are environmental and artistic, she understands that some people may want to make the plastic hand bags in order to make money.

This, she sees, as not necessarily a bad thing, as it can provide a much needed stream of income for residents as well as encourage the reuse of plastic bags.

After all, if we can’t reduce their usage, then at least we can double their use.

If you would like to help, donate bags or require more information, call 080-775-1002, email pom_prasopsuk@yahoo.com or visit remains-of-the-day.com


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