Mapping NEO Terra

Mapping NEO Terra

The mapping process of NEO Terra continues. At the top of the hierarchy of notation  on the map are the island names writ large : WAD, BALER WRAP, PIPE, CRATE, CAP, BOTTLE, STRAPPING, CORD, ROPE, NET, WRAPPER

Following the map makers traditions the marine features such as Bays and Sounds are named after the island it is next too/part of e.g. Cap Sound,  Bay of Net .

cap  bottle-wick

The naming of coastal places spotlights the material the island is made of and our habits and actions causing this Plastic Litter Pollution Crisis.


On PIPE one of the long main islands, the southern tip is named ‘Out Flow Point’ slightly round the coast is ‘Flush  Firth’ and a little further north up the dark grey coast I write ‘Sanitary Bay’ thinking of all the wipes, tampon applicators and cotton bud sticks found on so many beaches.  On WAD the place names reference the sources of wads & cartridges from the use of guns  either shooting or seal scaring……..

Last week I sought advice from Eileen Brooke-Freeman (Shetland Amenity Trusts expert on Shetland Place names) to join me around the map to discuss local names and terms used to describe coastal features.


Eileens input has enabled me to add another layer of  naming to the map eg:on one of the Northern Wrapper skerries, above, Eileen names  ‘Slip Skerry’,  (Slip meaning to drop) a perfect subtle Shetland name . Eileen  smiles and explains that skerries are often named after animals, birds, or their shape and as we are focusing on actions  that lead to the islands shape this name works well.

We work our way around the map, discussing the terms for the coastal features and we end an enjoyable collaborative session  off the South West coast of CORD  where I have previously named ‘Melting Point’ and ‘Burn Beach’ Eileen suggests  ‘Da Melts’ (The Melts) would link in well. I look forward to sharing & discussing  terms we have used and the message behind each of the  place names with pupils who are visiting the exhibition over the coming weeks.



NEO Terra: first sighting

NEO Terra: first sighting


Exciting exhibition in Lerwick by friend and colleague Julia Barton at the end of a long and dedicated research process into the effects of plastic on  our landscape, seascape and our connection with our environment.   Link below to her blog posts.

The animation looks very interesting……..

cord-island‘The first sighting of the exhibition NEO Terra, an archipelago of  islands  was seen on Saturday at Da Gadderie, Lerwick,  by an inquisitive, thoughtful and appreciative audience. These first shots…’

Source: NEO Terra: first sighting

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NEO Terra – reports back

NEO Terra – reports back

Visitors to NEO Terra  have taken time to record their responses to seeing the New Land an archipelago of plastic islands stretching across the PLASTIC OCEAN and appearing in the POLYMER SEA . 


Beautiful work, great to work with Julia, truly inspired. Kirsty (UHI fine art student)

I feel sorry for the animals and nature. Well made   ID

Very worrying but excellent exhibition, thought-provoking   S Mathieson

Thank you this is an outstanding exhibition  IP

Well done, fascinating & so worrying C Hill

Amazing! Really brings to life the problem of plastics in the environment Austin

Important wonderful work well done Julia


Incredibly important work Julia inspired and inspiring. Congratulations. J Ashdown

Thought provoking installation R Priest

Interesting but very worrying

Memorable and so unsettling A Williams

Stunning – thank you for bringing to life the destructiveness of man. C B


Thought provoking and shocking, Great exhibition. K Hubbard

Fantastic, interesting, informative excellent exhibition. E Bennet

Stunning work which has an impact on so many levels, emotional visceral, acerbic, and cognitive      – very powerful and beautiful. J Nixon

Once I found a 6 foot diameter ball oaf plastic strapping, would have tangled up boat, seal or turtle. Criminal!    W Johnson

Great vision Timely exhibition – very acute, Will re visit  N Heth

Had a wonderful discussion with Julia about her work. The presentation especially the film is incredible work.     R & N Carlin Ontario Canada


Fantastic exhibition. Hard hitting video piece is really good. C Slater

Loved this display and is actually quite eye-opening once you see it laid out , about what pollution is doing. Very easy for children to understand as well which makes it even better. Would like to see more like this.  Fiona Livingston

It was amazing thank you for showing us  K McCormack (12)

Fairly brings home, the amount of damage being done to the world and the legacy we are leaving for the generations to come.  McCormack

Great to see the culmination of a project involving schools, including ours. An ingenious and creative process with links to arts, science and words. Plastiglomerates mimic rocks – distinguishing reality can be an interesting concept.    Joyce Gordon (Nesting school teacher)

Brilliant, multi-layered work, engaging, imperative – works at so many levels Judith Edinburgh

You walk on a beach & notice debris, flotsam /jetsam. Two or three days later you walk onto another beach & again notice the same. But you somehow do not notice the accumulative damage which this display brings to your conscious! Jim B Lerwick


Glad to have had the opportunity to talk to so many visitors, to hear their own observations about local beaches, their outrage at what we are witnessing and their support for finding new ways to show the critical need for change. 

Please keep writing in Da Gadderie and here on line.  How  do we bring about change?

I will be in the gallery on Friday afternoons  2 – 4pm analysing the beach samples, visitors welcome.

Thanks to Alistair Hamilton for the following review: The Littoral Project: An Exhibition That Worries, Provokes, Inspires |

NEO Terra: first sighting

NEO Terra: first sighting

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The first sighting of the exhibition NEO Terra, an archipelago of  islands  was seen on Saturday at Da Gadderie, Lerwick,  by an inquisitive, thoughtful and appreciative audience. These first shots fleetingly record a walk through the exhibition, around the central floor installation a 10 metre map with plastiglomerate archipelago within the Polymer Sea.  Exiting this space the Terra Nova animation made with Shetland filmmaker JJ Jamieson illuminates the origin and making of the islands/the plastiglomerates.

Turning left visitors enter an  interactive space where plastiglomerates with their place of discovery can be examined. 60 beach samples from around the islands are arranged side by side , a selection of which  with commonly found microplastics  can be magnified and projected.  Notes can be left of observations.  Opposite is a photo documentation of education workshops carried out in schools this spring.

Five cubes constructed out of plastic items found on beaches and a simply drawn timeline notating how long different items/materials might last on beaches completes the exhibition.

The exhibition runs until the 12th of November at Shetland Museum & Archives and is open very day 10-4pm. I will be present in the gallery on many days during the exhibition naming coastal features and analysing the samples collected. I look forward to meeting visitors particularly on Friday afternoons between 2-4pm

Many thanks: to JJ Jamieson for his creative collaboration and technical dexterity in making the animation. Thanks to John Hunter Shetland Museum & Archives curator for going along with plans for re-configuring the gallery, physical help in constructing the walls and keeping us smiling while installing and to Davy Cooper from the Shetland Amenity Trust for lending us equipment and calm we can fix it support. 

Installation was only possible with the help of artist/photographer Ailsa, art students Alice and Kirsty, Jane from Sumburgh Head, and Sita Goudie and Alice from the Trust.

Thanks to Jean Urquhart for making the connection between my work on the NW coast and the work of  Sita  Goudie running the Shetland Amenity Trusts Environmental Improvement work who in turn enabled the Littoral Art Project in Shetland to happen.

Plus all my friends and supporters on the mainland and world wide thank you !

cs-logo-1-copyand travel support from North Link Ferries

NEO Terra : exhibition invitation


You are cordially invited to the opening event of  Neo Terra 

Da Gadderie  Saturday 8th October    12 noon – 2pm

Neo Terra is the culmination of three years research investigating plastic marine and beach litter. The installation uses less obvious often unrecognised plastic litter ‘plastiglomerates’ collected on the beaches of Shetland and Ross-shire.

The accompanying animation Terra Nova made in collaboration with Shetland film maker JJ Jamieson, illustrates the origins of the plastiglomerates and the disturbing nature of the global plastic pollution issue.

Julia hopes her work will encourage people to take a new look at the scale, nature and consequences of this environmental issue and what we can do to tackle it. Visitors are invited to use the interactive area to take a closer look at beach samples collected from around Shetland and to see the photo-documentation of workshops facilitated by Julia and Shetland Amenity Trust’s Dunna Chuck Bruck anti-litter team with 15 schools across Shetland this spring.

Littoral – the zone between the low and the high tide marks

Click here for a full Press Release