Textiles artist Clare Sams is Suffolk Libraries’ first ever Environmentalist in Residence – and it is a new programme inspired by Toronto Public Library. Here, she shares her plans, which include an eco-fashion lab
Suffolk Libraries is launching a new programme by welcoming Clare Sams as its new Environmentalist in Residence this November. Clare will lead workshops, host informative sessions, and engage Suffolk Libraries’ communities in meaningful conversations about sustainability, conservation, and the urgent need to protect our environment. Her new role will provide communities with a brilliant opportunity to connect with experts on their doorstep, learn how to make eco-friendly choices and contribute to a greener future.
Suffolk Libraries’ unique Environmentalist in Residence programme invites dedicated environmentalists to share their expertise, inspiration and love for our planet with library patrons of all ages. The programme is inspired by Toronto Public Library’s Environmentalist in Residence project and will bring passionate eco-advocates to the heart of the community.
The very nature of the library service involves ‘recycling’ books and other items which are borrowed many times over and Suffolk Libraries is ambitious about what it can do to understand and reduce its carbon footprint further. Earlier this year new library cards made from sustainable materials and not plastic were also introduced.
Textiles artist Clare Sams will be the first ever Environmentalist in Residence working with Suffolk Libraries between November 2023 to April 2024.
Clare is a textiles arts practitioner, lecturer and arts educator. She has a master’s degree in Academic Practice for Art Design and Communication and holds a Guinness World Record for the largest crochet hook!
During the residency, Clare’s work will explore environmental themes with Suffolk’s communities. Clare will work in libraries across Suffolk, supporting people to learn skills in mending and creative upcycling to prolong the life of their clothing and reduce household textile waste, promoting sustainability and wellbeing through repairing, repurposing and upcycling. The sessions will focus primarily on sustainable use of clothing and household textiles, which will help prevent unnecessary textile waste going into landfill.
Sally Garwood, Senior Creative Producer, for Suffolk Libraries, says: ‘We are delighted to welcome Clare. Her mend and repair project will have a deeply positive impact on local communities – empowering them to turn their old into gold – and a ripple effect on people and living things around the world effected by landfill dumping grounds.’
Clare Sams adds: ‘I am so excited about the opportunity to be Suffolk libraries ‘Environmentalist in Residence’ for the coming six months. During this time, I plan to run projects within libraries to highlight sustainability within fashion and textiles. This will include ‘Eco Fashion Lab’ sessions where library users will have the opportunity to learn skills in mending clothing and how to up-cycle old textiles to avoid waste going to landfill.”
The ‘In Residence’ project is part of Suffolk Libraries established Arts Programme which is funded by Arts Council England. Nurturing existing and emerging artistic talent is at the heart of Suffolk Libraries creative offer and the ‘In Residence’ programme is an opportunity for artists to explore and create in collaboration with libraries over an intensive period.
The ‘In Residence’ offer to artists has evolved over the past four years, launching officially this year. The first artist to join this new programme was Storyteller in Residence Kirsty Tallent who will be sharing her ‘Sailors Rest’ storytelling showcase this November.
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Featured image of Clare Sams at a community open week at Kew Gardens in 2021. Both images supplied by Suffolk Libraries