The Work

By encouraging people to use products that are locally sourced or made from renewable or waste resources, they become more aware of where their products come from and the impact they have on the environment.

Also, buying things that are well made makes it possible to move away from a disposable society and to value and look after our natural resources more. The range of subjects within this series captures the eclectic and creative spirit of Brighton & Hove. Subjects include sustainable buildings, sustainable clothing, eco coffins and urns, artists who use so-called waste materials to make products, workshops which encourage children to get creative with used materials, cafes which teach people to mend their broken objects and finally Emmaus, the location selected for this exhibition, where people can show their support for the community of ex-homeless Companions whilst picking up an upcycled bargain.

Brighton & Hove is a vibrant city full of energy and this series of photographs shows how sustainable materials are being used in both practical and creative ways.

  • Charis’s workshop is made entirely from materials she sourced for free from places such as building sites, roadsides, skips, Freegle, Freecycle, local builders, reuse centres and industrial sites.

    She hopes it will inspire others to think before they buy new and instead consider reusing unwanted materials.

  • Charis Williams is an expert on Kirsty Allsop’s programme “Fill your House for Free” which promotes furnishing your home with used free materials.

    Charis loves thinking up different ways of reusing everyday items, changing their function and making them look beautiful, which is evident from the way she has decorated her house – her passion is to give old junk a new lease of life.

  • Dirty Beach is a partnership between Brighton-based artists Louise McCurdy and Chloe Hanks (a.k.a. Hanksy). Through rebranding plastic bottles they have found on the shores of Brighton Beach, their work aims to challenge our relationship with plastic and make us question, when we throw it away, where does it end up?
  • Denise is a volunteer at Emmaus and regularly attends The Goodwill Co-op, Emmaus’s group of craft volunteers. She discovered Emmaus at a very difficult time in her life, just after the death of her husband of 60 years.

    Garden art designer Rachael Venia Woodgate gave the Co-op a brief to create a dapper ‘alternative’ scarecrow made entirely from donated items for their ‘beyond the yellow brick road’ event.

  • The Goodwill Co-op, set up in 2008, was created with the aim of engaging people with free time on their hands to get involved with Emmaus, making and creating handmade gifts out of ‘perceived’ waste items, and in turn raising funds for the community.
  • Designed by Emmaus’s garden art designers Rachael Venia Woodgate and Lee Radford, The Living Shed has been made entirely of reused and upcycled materials and constructed with the assistance of volunteers from The Greenhouse.
  • Designed by Rachael Venia Woodgate and Lee Radford and made with the assistance of Emmaus volunteers from The Greenhouse, the Tin Man was built as part of the ‘beyond the yellow brick road’ event and is made from litter bins that were donated from a school clearance and date back to 1958.

    In the background Lee Radford is creating artwork for an exhibition he is taking part in which explores how the media portray homeless people.

  • ‘Companion’ is the name Emmaus gives to someone who lives and works in the Emmaus community. Each Companion has an individual bedroom with TV and lives in the community with all meals provided in a communal dining room and normal living expenses are covered.

    Dan, a Companion Assistant, has been at Emmaus for four years and is the chef for the Community dining room.

  • Kim has been at Emmaus for four years, and is a Companion Assistant, working in the café and shops. Kim is photographed in one of her favourite places, looking out of the window in her room, with views over the Emmaus grounds and the Greenhouse project.
  • Taking ‘cycling’ on the full ecological journey, local brand Veleco have created ‘impact-free’ clothing. Materials are fairtrade, recycled and made with fair labour. Co-founder, Jamie Lloyd floats in Veleco’s Softshell Cycle Jacket made from twelve plastic bottles.
  • Volunteers Paul and Nick prepare to mix cob, a mixture of clay, straw and sand, using bare feet. The cob will be applied to the walls of the Forest Garden workshop.
  • Carpenter and building assistant Russell mixes cob that will be applied to the walls of the workshop. Built by hand, using little power, the building has been made by both staff and volunteers of the Forest Garden.
  • Nestled at the back of the Forest Garden sits this beautiful and sustainably built workshop. Many of the materials have been locally sourced, such as the clay and straw as well as the Sweet Chestnut and Douglas Fir, which have been grown in Sussex.
  • Made from 12 polythene rubbish bags, joined together with gaffer tape, Nick Sayer’s sculpture is a statement about waste reduction. The structural component of this sculpture is air. It is a sculpture made from rubbish, containing nothing and is Nick’s most huggable and tactile sculpture to date.
  • Stitched together from a batch of second hand dolls’ hats, which Artist Nick Sayers found at a flea market, The Hat of Hats is just the right size to fit on (or over) your head, so you can wear 11 hats at once.
  • Artist Nick Sayers stands in a 4-metre diameter geodesic shelter – a dome constructed out of interlocking polygons – which is made from 135 scrap estate agent signs and 25 wooden signposts.
    Most of the signs were from agents who went out of business in the recession or changed their corporate identity.
    The piece is the largest of a series of three such shelters, and part of the wider ‘To Live’ project, which explores issues of homelessness and sustainable architecture.
  • Have you ever watched ‘Toy Story’ and thought the mutant toys were cool? ‘Toy Hacking’, an activity created by Exploring Senses CIC, encourages children to explore, play and reuse toys destined for landfill to make new hybrid creations.

    It is quite amazing what you can create with some old toys, a hacksaw and hot glue.

  • ‘Robot Relays’, an activity created by Exploring Senses CIC, encourages children to explore, play and reuse materials that would normally be seen as waste. Exploring Senses artists believe ‘happy people take positive actions and that we embrace optimism through creativity’.
  • Were you one of those kids who were just as happy with a cardboard box as with a new plastic toy? ’Robot Relays’ activities help release the inner child, encouraging children and families to get creative with used cardboard, giving it a fun new purpose.
  • Kids often get on with making things on their own, though Exploring Senses are there to assist if a child has a specific design or character in mind they need help with. Woody wears a crown he made from reused cardboard.
  • Filled with memories and memorabilia, The Vintage Workshop on St Georges Road in Kemptown is run by three people as a collective. They are passionate about all things vintage and believe that every piece tells a story.

    They love things that are beautifully designed and well made including hand painted pictures and quirky one offs.

  • The workshop is a little space in the back of the shop, beneath a skylight dedicated to making, repairing and creating.

    Lucia Elliston is one of the three people that run The Vintage Workshop. She uses things that are well made, aesthetically pleasing and sometimes past their best and enjoys the process of repurposing them to start a new lease of life.

  • Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus
  • Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus
  • Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus
  • Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus Amanda Jackson: Sustainable Materials at Emmaus
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The Photographer

Amanda Jackson

Originally from Canada, I moved to the UK in 2001 and completed an HND in photography at Hereford College of Art. In 2003 I moved to London and spent 4 years working as a freelance photographer’s assistant. I then returned to Hereford and completed a photography degree in 2008, gaining a First Class hons. My work has been exhibited at The Empire Galleryin London where I won the portraiture category of the 2008 Degree Art Signature Photography Awards. Other exhibitions include The Hereford Photo Festival, Rhubarb Rhubarb (Birmingham), D&AD (London), The New Designers exhibition (Islington Business Centre) and DKNY in Bond Street’s New Designer’s Showcase. In 2013 I was awarded a grantfrom The Arts Council of Wales for a photographic project based on the Lammas Eco Village and the surrounding community. An exhibition of To Build A Home will be shown at Theatr Mwldan inCardigan in August 2014.

I am privileged to be able to share my work both through intimate gallery exhibitions and such wide-reaching publications as Self Build and Design magazine, The Observer and The Telegraph. I feel it is important to photograph what you are passionate about. I properly become interested in sustainable living when I first visited Lammas in 2010 and have been photographing low impact homes since. I now divide my time between a house in Malvern, West Midlands and a field in Pembrokeshire.

Photographer Approach

So, when I first heard the term ‘sustainable materials’, what sprang to mind? Well, wood was what I first thought of but it isn’t as straight-forward as it seems. You would think that buildings made using wood must be more sustainable than buildings where types of plastics are used. But you also must consider where the wood has come from; is it local? has it travelled a great distance? is it sourced from trees that grow quickly and in abundance? And what about if plastic comes in the form of reclaimed vinyl banners, giving them a new purpose instead of ending up in landfill, surely that’s a good thing? Such are the ethical issues you have to consider when doing a project of this kind. I initially thought that for this series I would concentrate
on building work taking place in Brighton & Hove. This all changed when I met Cat Fletcher from Freegle, a wonder of information about the world of waste. From
our discussions I learnt more about the reuse side of sustainable materials and when I told her I was primarily a portrait photographer, she said that was perfect because ‘reuse requires people’.

I have focused on showing how everyone can get involved with reuse, that it can be fun, creative and allow you to create individual pieces, buildings and artwork. The majority of the photographs are portraits, showing people using sustainable materials in Brighton & Hove. Additionally, landscape shots and still life compositions tell more of the story behind what the people are doing. My approach is to create fun, quirky, sometimes humorous shots that truly capture the energy of this dynamic movement in Brighton & Hove.

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The exhibition

Exhibition Info

Dates: 01/10/2014 - 31/07/2015
Times: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9.30 to 5pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays
Address: Emmaus Brighton & Hove, Drove Rd, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 2PA
Link: Link

Emmaus, Brighton & Hove

The Emmaus Brighton & Hove Community opened in 1997 and now provides a home and meaningful work for 48 Companions; men and women who have been formerly homeless. The site accommodates Companions as well as four out of the five Communities’ social enterprises.

There are three established businesses - the Secondhand Superstore which sells secondhand furniture and household goods, the Emporium which sells retro, vintage, collectable, handmade and upcycled goods and Café Revive, a meeting place for customers and visitors. A new garden shop, the Greenhouse at Emmaus opened in March 2013 and in July 2014 the shop, Emmaus by the Sea, opened in Southwick. This shop sells a selection of household goods and furniture and has a flat which houses three long term Companions.

The goods sold in the shops are all donated to us from our local residents, goods which would otherwise go to landfill. We like to think we are giving previously loved items the chance of a new
life – fitting with the ethos of recycling but also with the trend for reuse. Companions and volunteers repurpose and upcycle some of the goods for sale in our shops - furniture is given a shabby chic make-over, items are crafted out of discarded cutlery, ironware and garden pots, fabrics, yarns and trimmings are crafted into garments, bags, accessories… all in line with current high street trends.

Access Information

How to get there:

Closest train station: Portslade
Closest bus: 1, 1A
Cycle: cycle racks available nearly
Car: car park available onsite

Wheelchair accessible: yes


One Planet City: Professional Commissions

Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.