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Video of the week: Art world takes a shine to compostable glitter

Posted on Nov 2, 2018 2:04:06 PM

Art world takes a shine to biodegradable glitter (picture courtesy of Stuart Semple).“I can’t bear a world where you and I cannot sparkle in our artwork anymore. Where we can’t make are art, our crafts, our Christmas decorations or our paintings.”

Looks can be deceiving. In the case of glitter, looks really are deceiving. You may think this sparkly material is innocent, but scientists are saying that glitter is dangerous for the environment. Most glitters are in essence microplastics, which have come under global scrutiny recently in a bid to tackle ocean pollution.

In fact, the craft and art world are staring to pay attention to these tiny pieces of shiny plastics. One UK artist called Stuart Semple has come up with a solution to the problem and worked with UK company Culture Hustle to produce a non-plastic alternative for the consumer to buy.

In this video, he says there is a “new art war raging” against plastic-based glitter. He also describes how it is currently a hot topic in the UK, with the UK government banning microbeads in cosmetics at the start of the year. Semple (@stuartsemple) also explains how more than 60 UK music festivals have committed to ban single-use plastics from their sites by 2021, which includes the festival favourite – glitter.

Describing the challenge of glitter waste in his video, Semple says: “It’s only a matter of time when you and I cannot use glitter in our work anymore. This stuff is really evil.

“I can’t bear a world where you and I cannot sparkle in our artwork anymore. Where we can’t make are art, our crafts, our Christmas decorations or our paintings. That would be absolutely disastrous. We have been working really hard at Culture Hustle to make you something that solves the problem. What we have come up with is 100%, plant-based, compostable glitter. The world’s glitteriest, plant-based glitters.”

He says that they come in an array of rainbow-like colours, such as red, gold, silver, green and blue and can be used for artwork, and more importantly it can be used on the skin.


Semple is a renowned artist and lives and works in Dorset, UK. His artwork can be found in notable public and private collections including, The Getty, Langen and David Roberts Foundation collections.

He is known for his large-scale canvases incorporating text and found imagery, Semple's practice addresses ideas sparked by immersion in popular culture and combines contemporary figurative painting with pop art.

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About the Author

Liz Gyekye
Liz Gyekye
Liz has spent more than ten years working in the waste management and bioenergy sector as a more