Material Experimentation

As my practice has been entangled with both marine plastics and marine algae for the last decade, I have been following with interest the developments of scientists, product designers and artists making bioplastics from seaweed around the world. From drinks pods that dissolve in the mouth used for runners at the 2019 London Marathon, to artists researching the use of seaweed biopolymers to make furniture.

Fascinated by the idea of marine algae providing the prime ingredient for a truly bio-degradable material that might help us move away from fossil fuel plastics, I decided to investigate making  seaweed bio-plastic from the simple basic ingredients of  seaweed,  starch, water and glycerine. 

It has been an intriguing and fun, if messy, process which has taken place across the year in my kitchen and in tents on shorelines with coastal community members in Cromarty and Poolewe during my World Ocean Day events, with the support of Fiona McKenzie (Aberdeen Science Centre) and The Pebble Trust.

I am now collating the polymer samples made using seven common seaweeds collected on our Highland shorelines and cataloguing our recipes. While our recipe notation was definitely a little sketchy the samples are intriguing, from the strong slightly flexible (brown) wrack recipe to the  more translucent flexible recipes made from kelp (Oarwrack) and Himanthalia  elongata (sea spaghetti)

I am hoping that these samples, along with my reference notes and observations will inspire more Highland Seaweed Bioplastic experimenting events. Please leave a message in the reply box below or email me if you are interested in joining me in future seaweed bioplastic events. And do get in touch if you have any funding ideas for events.

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