Is this lamp really made of dirty old t-shirts laminated with collected plastic bags? YES! These lamps are a result of a co-design project between Katryna Carter and a group of teens affiliated with a Rhode Island-based after-school program, Riverzedge. Riverzedge is an after-school arts program based in Woonsocket, one of the state’s poorest towns. The program aims to educate and employ under-served youth in the arts through screen-printing training and contract work. The youth are taught and paid to design and create paintings, t-shirts and logos for local businesses.
Over the course of several weeks, Carter teamed up with five students there to introduce them to a 3D design process and develop a collaborative project to be marketed alongside their other products. Together, they designed these lamps made from a composite plastic material consisting of their reject t-shirts heat pressed between layers of used plastic shopping bags. After pressing, the flat plastic sheets were cut into an x-shaped module and snapped together to form various configurations for lamp shades as seen here. The lamps range in size from 8″ to 15″ diameter.
The material was created with a Kingston Press located on the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design (where Carter is a graduate student studying Industrial Design). The machine is essentially two large irons whose faces are pressed together at pressures up to 1000 PSI. It was built by a class of Industrial Design students at RISD as part of the Waste-For-Life initiative which aims to create livelihood options for garbage collectors in Argentina. Carter’s project was an attempt to add a local context to the potential of the press.
Katryna Carter (RISD), Jasyn Agin (Riverzedge), Gabriel Silva (Riverzedge), Emily Henriott (Riverzedge), Time Howe (Riverzedge) and Manny Dubois (Riverzedge)