About

I have been working with seaweeds since 2010 when I first attended Catherine Conway-Payne’s wonderful Herbology class at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. As part of our course work we were asked to create herbarium specimens of therapeutic and medicinal herbs.

Beachcombing morning

Beachcombing morning

My path took me to the shore close to my home to search for coastal flora and from there I naturally strayed to the beach. Here lay the threads and strands of a multitude of flora from an undersea garden we never see.  Closer inspection revealed a wealth of diversity in colour, form and scale and yet I knew little about it. Further down along the rocky outcrops reaching into the sea, were the tide pools that children search for sea anemones and crabs in, and there in between the thick layers of wrack, was a wonderful world of red, purple, green and amber algae.

Seaweed wash

Seaweed wash

I have subsequently collected and pressed dozens of seaweeds from this small stretch of beach,  from great splays of Dulse to delicate Coralinas, fuzzy sea mosses and threads of deep water species.  Identity has been slow process; seaside rambler books, the RBGE herbarium and internet sites, but still there are many unknowns. What has been equally fascinating is the overwhelming research that points to seaweeds as one of the most health enhancing and life sustaining elements on earth. They are used differently in each seaside culture, from ours where they are prized as fertilisers, to Japan and Korea where they are essential food stuff, to Italy where they are used as skin creams and eye baths.  In Iceland wracks are used to treat thyroid conditions and French research points to their immense value as an aid to cancer recovery.

Delesseria sanguinea pressing

Delesseria sanguinea pressing

Few however have used seaweeds in design and it is this aspect I have been exploring. Although their inherent beauty must be seen underwater, even as dried, pressed specimens, they give us a glimpse of the beauty and nature of the sea and bring us closer to its shore.

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Recent Posts

St Abbs Visitor Centre

 

Seaweeds in GlassI was delighted to be asked to exhibit my seaweeds at the St Abbs Visitor Centre over the summer season from March to October this year.  The first installation has gone in, with some larger pieces to follow in coming months

Perched on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ancient harbour, the centre holds a commanding view of St Abbs Head and the jagged coastline that delineates the edge of the National Nature Reserve.  This reserve, stretching as far as the eye can see is home and sanctuary to 100’s of species of birds, sea and shore life.  It has witnessed an astonishing repopulation of seabed species due to a prohibition on trawler fishing and has gained an international reputation for superb diving.

JillWatson_StAbbsSurvivors2On the high bluff just outside the centre stands a beautiful memorial to the women and children survivors of the Eyemouth Disaster of 1890.  Created by sculptress Jill Watson, it keens the loss of life, love and livelihood scoured into the sea on that fateful day.

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