The inspiration:
Perhaps I have been forever interested in how things become or disappear, and far less in what already exists. It was whilst “trying” to read a book about Quantum Mechanics that the idea for this project suggested itself.

Coincidentally at the time I had come to a creative dead end on a packaging design project I was working on. As sometimes happens, seemingly from nowhere, the idea for a “disappearing bottle” suggested itself. A bottle that would have an intelligent relationship with its contents, that would know it was no longer needed when the contents were gone and would shrink or disappear all together. A kind of “drink me – shrink me” conversation.

The beginning:
I heard the voice of Professor Tony Ryan from Sheffield University Chemistry Department on Radio 4’s Material Science programme. He sounded extremely approachable so I rang him after the programme and blurted out my idea. 10 minutes later he suggested I come and visit his colleagues Dr Malcolm Butler and Professor Richard Jones to look around the Polymer labs and recount my idea again.

Since the initial meeting of minds, and with the aid of EPSRC funding, our joint belief that drastic new thinking is required to address today's environmental issues has created four new products - including the disappearing bottle and a revolutionary water purification pillow. Two patents have already been applied for and the future potential is enormous, both in terms of the environment and humanitarian development.

Wonderland in 2008:
The Wonderland tour began in London on January 29th 2008, opened in Sheffield on June 18th and then travelled to Belfast 8th October – 8th November. Please see the Wonderland web site and the Education pages for more information.

ShowStudio have now archived the Wonderland project alongside a fantastic reference of Helen Storey's fashion career, press and media and the story of how the Helen Storey Foundation came to be. See the ShowStudio archive page


Photograph by Barry Evans

"Helen pushes the boundaries of our knowledge, and crucially, our dialogue has challenged the underlying nature of my science, and its societal, cultural and artistic context, leading to the development of real world applications."
Professor Tony Ryan, October 2005