In parallel to the "Zero Waste" concept that encourages sustainable production and consumption, the "Upcycling" involves also the ceramic wastes. The upcycling studies exhibition from waste porcelains and waste glasses carried out by the KOU Zero Waste Club founded by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nermin Demirkol, will take place in UNICERA.
ASSOC. PROF. DR. NERMIN DEMIRKOL
Kocaeli University Faculty of Fine Arts Ceramics Department
One of the terms we hear often today is "Zero Waste". Zero Waste involves the recycling, re-use, reduction and prevention of wastes. While it encourages sustainable production and consumption habits, it's also a basic goal to avoid wastage. Everyone needs to do their best for a sustainable world.
As a ceramics engineer, with the idea in my mind that 'how can I contribute in putting wastes in good use', we began to produce zero waste projects and implement them in public area together with my students and made a start in upcycling studies.
Upcycling is the re-use of a waste in a way to increase its value. When you do upcycling there must be transformation to a new, high quality, functional or artistic product on the table. These upcycling studies started together with Kocaeli University Degirmendere Ali Ozbay VHS (Vocational High School) students by using only ceramic wastes, is followed by the "Basiskele Municipality Zero Waste Theme Park" featured a first in Turkey where I worked as the project coordinator and carried on by using factory and company wastes.
Included in this article are examples from the projects I have coordinated to this date and the transformation of waste porcelains to artistic and functional works with upcycling. There are several projects of upcycling from waste porcelains which are continuing under my coordinatorship together with the Kocaeli University Faculty of Fine Arts Ceramics Department "Zero Waste Applications" course students and Kocaeli University Zero Waste Club students.
Image 1: Upcycled mosaic panel made with Kutahya Porcelain Factory's broken, faulty porcelain plates
Seen in Image 1 is a joint upcycling mosaic work of Kocaeli University Faculty of Fine Arts Ceramics Department and KOU Zero Waste Club students Gizem Cakir and Yasemin Dogan in 2023. Here, Cakir and Dogan recreated the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt's work of art named "The Kiss" using Kutahya Porcelain's faulty and broken porcelain plates and by combining the mosaic technique with painting. This work is a beautiful example of putting factory wastes to good use artistically with upcycling.
Image 2: Mosaic bench work with upcycling from waste porcelains
the benches seen in Image 2 and 3 was the old wooden benches that was idle in 2018 Degirmendere Mufit Saner Elementary School located in Kocaeli province Golcuk district Degirmendere town. It's made together with KOU Degirmendere Ali Ozbay VHS students and Tema volunteer students, teachers, parents, Golcuk Tema Association officials, school administration and protocol using the broken porcelain plates collected by parents. These bench applications we started as precursors are being exhibited and used in various places around Kocaeli and stand as an example for everyone.
Image 3: Mosaic bench work with upcycling from waste porcelains
Image 4: Upcycled mosaic panel made with the faulty porcelain plates of the Kar Porcelain (Bonna Premium Porcelain) Factory
The mosaic panel with the butterfly figure seen in Image 4, is made by one of the Kocaeli University Zero Waste Club and Kocaeli University Faculty of Fine Arts Ceramics Department students Seda Uzuner in 2023 using the broken and faulty porcelains of the BONNA Premium Porcelain factory. Uzuner's work has been exhibited in club's display stand and in several upcycling exhibitions.
Figure 5: Upcycled mosaic work in the Basiskele Municipality's Zero Waste Theme Park made with waste porcelains and ceramic tiles
Revival of company and factory wastes through gaining an artistic value with upcycling is becoming widespread day after day. Together with my ND Zero Waste and Design Team, number of our precursor and exemplary studies in this area in our country are ever-increasing day by day.
Image 6: An upcycle work of mosaic table made by ND Zero Waste and Design Team for Basiskele Municipality's Zero Waste Theme Park
Seen in Images 5 and 6, are the mosaic works we have woven knot by knot with great effort with my team, in Turkey's first Zero Waste Theme Park made with factory and company wastes, the Basiskele Zero Waste Theme Park located in Kocaeli province Basiskele district Yesilkent neighborhood and opened to public use in 2022. The koi fish-shaped mosaic seen in Image 5 is created by ND Zero Waste and Design team using completely the Kutahya Porcelain wastes and ceramic tiles for the sides provided by Koctas and Seramiksan. The table created with Seljukian patterns seen in Image 6, is the upcycle work of ND Zero Waste and Design Team using completely the faulty and broken porcelains of Kutahya Porcelain factory.
Image 7: Mosaic table under production with the faulty and broken porcelains of Kutahya Porcelain
The harmony of black, white and grey is standing out in the mosaic table seen in Image 7. Kutahya Porcelain's wastes are used consonant with sustainability strategy in this work.
Image 8: The on-going mosaic panel work using the faulty and broken porcelain plates of Kar Porcelain (Bonna Premium Porcelain) Factory
Kocaeli University Zero Waste Club is a community putting effort for a sustainable world with many studies on green transition, recycling and upcycling of wastes. For this objective, several of our students from the departments of Kocaeli University Faculty of Fine Arts also actively take part with their upcycling studies. Seen in Image 8, are club members Gizem Cakir and Yasemin Dogan's applications of the esteemed tile master Mehmet Kocer's design with mosaic technique using the porcelain wastes of BONNA Premium Porcelain factory. In UNICERA International Ceramic Bathroom Kitchen Fair organized in Istanbul Expo Center between 6th-10th November 2023, the KOU Zero Waste Club under my consultancy, have taken part with the upcycling works exhibition from waste porcelains and waste glasses and the upcycling mosaic workshop and got the chance to introduce their studies and works to sector's appreciation.