Join in celebrating WORLD OCEANS DAY on Thursday June 8th in Ullapool casting votes for #CleanSeas. Events happening across the world and on line.

DBfUOVRXsAIi2Jt.jpg large World Oceans Day is a designated UN day to celebrate & honour the world’s oceans.

“Urgent action on a global scale is needed to alleviate the world’s oceans from the many pressures they face, and to protect them from future dangers that may tip them beyond the limits of their carrying capacity. ” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Day provides an opportunity to get directly involved in protecting our future, through a new mindset and personal and community action and involvement.   

My response is to take to the shores of Loch Broom ( Ullapool harbour) where I will be leading a Guided Guide walk sharing information from the Guide to Beach Litter and highlighting the importance of healthy Oceans discussing the many initiatives here and around the world to protect the oceans.X poster 1 (2)_LI

As its polling day here in the UK, participants will be invited to join me at An Talla Solais Gallery, to share experiences and ideas of how to bring about change and to cast your votes for a variety of approaches to reduce plastic pollution in the World’s Oceans and specifically in Scotland.

Ullapool Event:  – meet by the pier on West Shore 11am or 5.30pm, followed at the gallery at  12 noon & 6.15pm  An Talla Solais Gallery, West Arglye St, Ullapool

Poster extract (2)In return voters will receive a copy of the  ‘Isle of CHANGE’ map from the  NEO Terra exhibition presently showing at An Talla Solais until the 18th June

A PDF copy of the map will also be available to download on World Ocean Day from here. Please leave a comment  below and join in the debate .

Find out more about the actions being taken in the UK and around the World.       Visit  http://www.worldoceansday.org

View the  Ullapool World Oceans Day event on Twitter follow @LittoralArt



…. the process of making work for the exhibition has steadily been taking place over the last month in a series of places across the country.

Drawing and configuring island plans for my archipelago map and filming micro-plastics  at Wasps Studios in Edinburgh

Collecting & photographing litter items on the Firth of Forth beaches. The Guide to Beach Litter will be launched at an interactive educational event during the exhibition.

Modelling and photographing my toy commando in Borders 128 changes and shots were made to produce a short stop frame sequence for the exhibition animation.

Moldmaking and casting wax replicas of beach litter and the toy commando in the well equipped mixed media workshop at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Canvas dying experiments took place this week with friends at An Talla Solais in Ullapool. Scaling up the dying process revealed  difficulties in maintaining the consistent colour I want to achieve, an Ordanance Survey sea blue. Taking this liitation on board the canvas/map will now be made in a time honoured reliable way using paint

The final making stage  of this exhibition work will begin tomorrow when I arrive back in Shetland, where I will be delighted to take up my place as Artist in Residence at Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

Post written while I wait to board the MVHrossey  from Orkney. Thanks to North Link Ferries support towards my passage.  The show opens on 8th October at Da Gadderie Lerwick Museum and Archives and runs until 12th November.




….coastal geographical words, understanding of different polymers, appropriate materials, remaining animation shots to use in the making of my  exhibition  installation and for specifically for specialist support:



a laboratory to carry out a chemical analysis of the different polymers fused together in the plastiglomerate samples that I have collected over the last year. The analysis will form a important part of the part of the installation






promotional help, such as  contacts in news papers, journals, on line sites,  who would be intersted in telling the marine plastic issue from a new explorative visual angle using the Littoral Art Project story and exhibition




Any suggestions/comments/networking help for the exhibition would be much appreciated.         A press release with short summary of the project, exhibition information and schedule  can be found and copied from the Press Release page. Please forward this to any supportive organisations, journalists and colleagues/friends asking for editorial coverage/ help with promoting the exhibition. Neo-Terra: a burning marine issue  at Da Gadderie, Shetland Museum & Archive, Lerwick. Oct 8th-Nov 12th . Many thanks.

Footnote:  ‘inappropriate  resting place’ taken along the Forth estuary,  while completing the photogrphic illustrations for my Guide to Beach Litter.resting place



Still Life

After focusing on taking precise photographs  of 40 different objects individually, for the Guide to Beach Litter,  I decided  to take a few sessions  selecting out objects to combine together  to create a series of simple ‘still life’ images …..

plastic spoon    

flip flop & plastic rocks

…… positioning objects together quickly suggested narrative ideas

‘flipflop trailing plastic rocks’ and ‘Syringe resting on ‘plastic rock’

syringe & plastic rocks

These simple still life’s put me in mind of Eileen Agar’s surrealist assemblages in particular her     ‘Marine Object’ 1939 (below right), in which she assembled a natural rock, horn and star fish.

imagesInspired I set about making my own ‘Marine Object’  using three different beach litter objects I found on beaches this year – ‘rocks’,  fishing line and a spoon. The significant difference being that they are all plastic and require no specialist conserving .

my marine object 1

Working in the littoral zones I have frequently felt like I was inhabiting a  surreal dream/nightmare landscape not dissimilar to Dali’s ‘Mountain Lake’ or  ‘The Persistence of Memory’. Melted plastic bags could quite easily replace the slumped clock over the branches of the tree  in the Memory landscpae

index dali  dali lake

With such thoughts in mind the simple ‘still life’s’ quickly developed into sets and introducing my architectural models the surrealist ideas of playing with shifting scale,  introducing distortion to create confusion and tension all came  flooding into my notes.  Useful ideas which I intend to use in my animation over the next year.

working in ESW ESW staging business mand & plastic products

plastic frame  through the view finder  ESW notes
Photographs taken in the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop July 2015


Photo shoot

Over the last few days I have sorted through hundred’s of litter items collected across the littoral zones  of  over 20 beaches  on the west coast and more recently Shetland to select 40 items identified  with Dr Cowie  two weeks ago for possible inclusion in the Guide to Beach Litter.

trays litter items

My aim is to select the ‘best’ samples that are representational of what might be found on the beach.

set up seaweed cropped
So far 20 items have been photographed  each item being  shot multiple times on a selection of settings to ensure I achieve the best image possible. The items will be  digitally ‘cut out’ and positioned on the Guide layout . My aim is that the Guide should echo the  natural history field guides where the species are collaged together on each page.

positioning items processing images

But before the processing can begin there are another 20 items to choose, group together, position, reposition and photograph.


I estimate that the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ will cost £3,000 to produce. £1,100 has been pledged  which will cover the photographing , processing and layout of the work . I still need to raise  £1,900 to  cover the printing  – ideas of how to raise this would be much appreciated.   Many thanks.

Donations to the project can be made through Paypal  check out how to do this on the Sponsorship page.

Celebrating – World Environment Day

To celebrate World Environment Day #WED2015 today I crossed the Clyde for a meeting with marine biologist Dr Phillip Cowie at the Millport Field Study Centre FSC on Cumbrae to begin to map out the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’.

Fairly beach  ferry toCumbrae
We began by making a long list of 40 commonly seen litter items, trying to cover items made of different materials , coming from a range of different sources, i.e. originating from the land , the sea and whether they are from commercial or beach users. I will circulate this list around groups such as the Marine Conservation Society  Shetland Dunna Chuck Bruck group and other organisations /groups cleaning beaches around the Scottish coast to see if the list is representational . If anyone reading this list feels I should consider including an item I have not listed that they see in significant numbers please get in touch – use the comment box below or e mail  littoralartproject@btinternt.com

Long list
PLASTIC 1. fibres 2. bottles 3. Gunwads/cartridges 4. Ropes 5.Food wrappers 6.Mussel pegs 7. String /cord 8. Caps/lids 9.barrels 10. Wipes 11.cigarette lighters 12. Drinking straws 13. Work gloves 14.fishing nets/pieces 15.fishing line 16. Melted plastic rocks 17.Strapping bands 18.Plastic pieces 19.Bags 20. Pack Yokes 21. Syringes 22. Pellets/nurdles 23.cotton bud sticks 24.tampon applicators 25.sanitary ware strips
POLYSTYRENE /STYRENE 26..Polystyrene pieces 27.Foam
METAL 28.Aerosol cans 29.Drinks cans 30.BBQ disposable 31. Scrap metal 32.Batteries 33.Foil food containers
RUBBER 34.Balloons 35.Tyres WOOD 36.Pallets/crate GLASS 37.Bottles CERAMIC 38.pottery   OTHER 39. Tarmac 40. Concrete

Millport visit 2  Millport Notes

Our conversation on litter items ranged widely interestingly discussing the least hazardous materials first – glass and ceramics – which once they have been rounded with the wave action they pose a relatively small hazard to marine organisms the wider environment and ourselves. From here we launched into the plastic abyss and we noted down the vast array of hazards they pose to all organisms including our selves touching on the research studies now taking place of the effects of plastics if/when eaten by us in seafood.

Strapping black Burwick  DSCF9521 Plastic bag scottish CU Burn beach melted rope
The plastic items will undoubtedly make up the biggest section on the guide, as more and more items like work gloves we call ‘rubber gloves’ are now commonly made out plastic. A reflection of the plastic nature of our world . Clear images of the litter items, like the one below will be used in the Guide with simple descriptions which will include usual dimensions and the material/s

Plastic Rock
This #WED2015 has been a wonderfully positive day thanks to donations given in response to my Crowd Funding appeal last month.

The next step is to raise the remaining money needed. So far £675 has been received and this will cover the photography work and first draft of the text , the remaining pledged money (another £530 ) will cover the consultation process, editing, design and layout work. I am still looking to raise £1,800 to print the Guide, please get in touch with any suggestions.
New and pledged donations can be made through PayPal using the project email address littoralartproject@btinternet.com press ‘pay for goods & services’. If in doubt go to the Sponsorship page.  Don’t forget to leave a message if you would like to receive a reward of a Guide or beach litter key ring. Many thanks.      I will keep you all updated on the progress of this piece of artwork.



Beach style campaign

My  campaign trip to the Dumfries coastline  to raise last minute support for the ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ developed into an exciting days work on Luce Bay Beach. The bay is vast and the beach extensive and has a great mix of sand, shingle and rocks. Perfect for anyone’s bank holiday.  Thankfully the day was bright and sunny though the brisk very cold winds kept all but the hardy seaside visitors away.

IMG_4383 IMG_4387 IMG_4424 IMG_4386  

I set the van up as a Sci-Art beach investigation unit alongside the beach, highlighting a selection of my findings so far  and open to all  beach goers. Discussions with intrigued visitors ranged widely from beach litter, to concern about the increasing acid levels in the sea and to fears of over fishing. On the beach I began mocking up a ‘Guide to Beach Litter’ using the litter I collected from along the strandline. The process of laying out the litter made me realise how complex the decisions to decide what to include in the Guide will be, in order to highlight the different : materials ,  hazards, and groups of people responsible for the litter.

DSCF9316 DSCF9383  particles in petridish
The item that drew most attention was in fact the collection of minute  fragments of mixed platic pieces and fibres that are found in the sand and amongst the seaweed.  I explained that these fibres and micro plastic particles are now being ingested by fish and marine organisms. The conversations reminded me of my dismay at being told by marine biologist Dr Philip Cowie  that organisms as small as sandhoppers had been found to ingest micro-plastic fibres.  As I had the ‘lab’ all set up I placed a (found) dead sand- hopper under the microscope and placed fibres beneath it to explore the visual connection. An idea I intend to pursue.

DSCF9408   DSCF9400

I was asked what I was filming as I shook a glass flaskcontain in front of the camera.  I explained that I was experimenting with the idea of how it would feel to be in the sea surrounded by plastic particles rather than plankton.

DSCF9346 DSCF9359

Flask contents : water , plastic particles and fibres plus architectural model  figure.

 ‘Well you have opened my eyes  with that, I never realised that’s what happens’                                     Alan local man

Yours is a great project and is doing a great job to make us aware of our environment. When you think about it the way we live has to change! ‘ Hugh from Whithorn

To celebrate these  encouraging comments in the Littoral Art Project’s work,  I spent the evening translating their verbal votes of confidence into visual votes on the beach.  As the tide receding I marked out  two X’s  using ‘litter lines’ made of prawn boxes and gun wads stitched together on Isle Martin last May.   One for #cleanseas and the other for #cleanbeaches


A full compliment of X’s will follow soon with the appeal and sponsorship update. Many thanks to everyone who pledged support, together there has been over £1,000 pledged. I am presently setting up a  [donate] button on the blog and I hope everyone will be happy to donate their pledges via this PayPal system instead of via kickstarter. Thank you!