London Design Festival SPECIAL: After Work Club: Turning Milk into Plastic

Sep 16 2019 18:30 - 21:00

Store Store, 118 Lower Stable Street, N1C 4DR London

As a part of London Design Festival, STORE STORE presents a series of After Work Clubs.  

This workshop will go through the process of extracting the protein from milk to form a natural alternative to plastic, in order to produce small handcrafted objects. The Protein project seeks to re-envision milk as a resourceful and valuable raw material, utilising waste milk from the dairy industry. As we know, the 20th century facilitated the worldwide manufacture of synthetic plastics, providing us with a cheap and easily accessible material. However, the economic benefits of designing with artificial plastics no longer weighs up against environmental drawbacks.

This natural milk plastic is composed of the proteins (otherwise known as casein) extracted from skimmed milk, which when processed appropriately forms a hard mass. Casein plastic was produced commercially during the early 1900’s in the UK, however faded from use due to the development of polymers derived from oil. In this workshop we will adapt the production techniques of the past to influence the future of making. Pigments will be used with the milk to produce a range of colours and effects, and hand shape small pieces with the clay-like material, which will harden overnight. The skimmed milk will be provided by Hook & Son organic farm in Sussex.

Tessa Silva-Dawson is a process-lead designer maker based in London, graduated from the MA Design Products course at the Royal College of Art. Projects are born from an ongoing fascination in our material culture, throughout the past, present, and into the future. The work is often intended as a catalyst for discourse - shifting perceptions of the material world and stimulating the creative exploration of the weird and wonderful resources available. Her ongoing project, Protein, is an investigation into the use of milk proteins as a natural material for the handcrafted production of objects.

This workshop is open to a maximum of 10 participants (age 12+). Attendance at the workshop costs £40 (£30 students) with all proceeds supporting the STORE's After school club for local state school students.