We had a wonderful day with the Royal Botanic Garden’s Post Graduate Diploma in Herbology class playing with seaweeds.
The class all came down from Edinburgh on the train and we took over North Berwick’s Hope Rooms, by the shores of the West Beach. We had perfect low tide conditions, and deep pools of seaweeds, starfish and anemones to play in. A very wet afternoon ensued as the group found their pace laying out and pressing some beautiful specimens. I look forward to seeing the results at the Graduation Show in September.
The rock pools of late Spring and early summer are alive with colour. Sometimes though, deep in the clear water of still pools, you can catch the fading hues of winter glowing through to create stunning compositions of tone and texture. These images were taken at mid-day of barnacles bunched along the tide lines of the blue-green stone reefs reaching out into Ravensheugh beach at the edge of the John Muir Country Park, East Lothian.
The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick was recently awarded status as the National Marine Centre for Scotland expanding their remit to include wider conservation and education activities exploring marine habitats and wildlife. I was invited to share my seaweed pressings in an exhibition held in their main cafe and gallery celebrating the wider shoreline they inhabit.
The pressings and prints on show were all gathered from the beaches extending either side of the Seabird Centre and from further along the West Beach. The exhibition runs until 26 Jan 2016. Prices range from £125 to £350.
Edge of the Sea exhibition of my original seaweed pressings and new giclee prints opens 3rd Oct and runs until the 30th Oct at Hangar Art Gallery, Fenton Barns, North Berwick, EH39 5BW (tel: 01620 850 946).
I will be at the gallery today, Sat, 3rd Oct from 12 noon – 4pm. Stop by for a glass of wine and see the show!
I have been working on new pieces for two exhibitions in East Lothian this autumn; one at Hangar Framing, Fenton Barns starting 3 Oct and the other at The Scottish Seabird Centre, from 11 Nov – 26th Jan 2016
In the interim, sewing and stitching with friends has encouraged me to look at designs that work across different mediums. One unexpected but inspiring source has been an instructional Chinese watercolour book on how to paint carp. The text is obscure, but the illustrations demonstrate fluid compositions weaving patterns of objects, line and colour, as well as judicious use of whitespace, to create a harmonious whole. Not as easy as it looks.
The translucency of goldfish reminded me of the many late summer leaves of Delesseria sanguinea and Phycodrys rubens that have fallen from the sea recently… and so I have waded in.
Over the last few weeks I have been a regular visitor to the great stretches of basalt rock that reach out into Milsey Bay in the east of the town, and to the beach by the 3rd hole in the west, to watch the ebb of Winter flow into Spring. There are a few favourite tide pools that draw me in especially on the days of lowest tides with their beauty and intensity of light and life. This is not a collecting time of year, so I take photos, Some I have made into banners for this site, but thought I might post them here in their original forms.
Red sandstone rock pool
Opposite the Marine Hotel, in the low rocky outcrops of the Hummell Ridges, are shallow pools with pink bottoms of exquisite cerise Lithothamnion and rougy Hildenbrandia. Lining these pools are blankets of Laminaria and Fucus, their great floppy fronds forming a protective ridge at the each poolside’s edge, hiding within them a myriad of seaweeds, snails, crabs, shrimp, shells and sand. On the east side, between the Seabird Centre and the Yellow Man, are the dark milky bore holes of the Milsey Rocks.
These surprisingly deep craters are home to copses of kelps at one end, and crevices of purple corallines and magenta rhodymenia at the other, sheltering in and out of the orange sandstone ledges. Here the contrast between the red sandstone and greenstone is acute, borders merged by splashes of crustose algae, with iridescent blue Carrageenans sparkling in the first rays of Spring.