What's it all about? On a very simple level, the Bunny Pile is a collection of 400 small, silly bunnies hand-made from garments gathered from The Eden Project's Lost Property and used uniform store. The hope was to take abandoned fabrics and rework them into something people would want to pick up and cuddle, to make a desirable object from that which was lost and left behind. I wanted it to be as though a sense of loss exhibited by all the discarded hoodies and jumpers had accreted into these soft,squashy forms, aching to be re-valued for the resources they represent.

The volume of discarded garments within the UK is staggering. While the proportions of waste being sent to landfill is generally decreasing, the proportions of textile waste within that total has increased, with more than a million tonnes a year being discarded. Much of that waste is cheap fashion, the sort of garments picked up from high street retailers and supermarkets with the weekly shop and destined to have a use-life of around three months. That garment's short lifespan represents an unsustainable amount of the planet's resources: from the water, pesticides and fertiliser used to grow our favourite fibre, cotton, to oil used to manufacture plastics like polyester, from the labour (still often child labour) to gather the fibres, and clean, card and spin it into yarn, the further hard labour on sewing machines operated by human skill turning fabric into garments, with buttons and zips made and sourced from multiple countries all being shipped from factory to factory as assembly lines stretch across continents, and finally the garments are shipped to us using more precious oil. All this tied up in a throw-away garment destined to an early grave in landfill after its fashion moment has passed.

This wastefulness of textiles is a recent phenomenon, and naturally, the Bunny Pile also speaks of the power of recycling, be this for pleasure or necessity. When talking with people, the first question is often 'how long did it take to make them?; I have calculated that the time-cost of sorting and cleaning garments, sewing, cutting, trimming and stuffing, hand finishing and embroidering the faces is around 45 minutes per bunny, so the pile is also a visible demonstration of labour. It is important to remember, though, that all garments are hand sewn by someone, just normally in factory conditions on the other side of the world. It is rare these days that one meets with the maker of any consumer goods. Likewise, many contemporary artists passing the making of the art object to technicians, therefore it was important to my that each one of the bunnies had passed through my hands, as a way of honouring the invisible labour already contained in the discarded garments.

We buy more clothes than ever before, but somehow spend less (as a percentage of income), and appear worse dressed. Skills of making, remaking and mending have waned, but the rise of 'craftivism' shows that there is an interest in handwork and DIY as a point of resistance to our consumerist culture. The bunnies are designed to be easy to copy, simple to make - with instructions on this website. Learn by doing - they are supposed to be little wonky anyway!

What happens next? After their brief time on show at The Eden Project, the bunnies will sold off to raise money towards an arts residency to raise awareness of plastic marine pollution. If you would like to buy a bunny, email me on sue@bunnylove.co.uk and make me an offer.

If you would like to make your own bunny, you can download an instructional PDF here.