Searching…….

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….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:

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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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Shetland Notes 5: Collecting

As my expedition to Shetland enters its last few weeks I am travelling to as many beaches and foreshores that I can to examine the littoral zones and to collect Plastiglomerates.

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This morning I picked my way carefully along the tideline of Channer wick beach a steep pebble beach on the eastern side of Shetlands mainland keeping an eye out for waders nests and watching the Fulmar chicks fledging out of burrows set in the bank of the back beach while I myself was being in turn watched by three common seals basking close in to the shore line. Facing southeast this beach is cleaner than most beaches around the  Shetland/World though plastic litter is there  knitted into the raised  back beach landscape

My main aim is to collect up as amny of the Plastiglomerates I can find, so far I have found them on nearly every beach I have surveyed, even on the beautiful world renowned St Ninians (tabola), where they tend to be small fragments collecting usually at the south west corner of the beach.

My notes help me keep track of my finds, the type of beach, aspect amount of easily visible litter and the amount of  what I collect.

The numbers of sacks are a  crude summary of the amount of litter that each beach is subject to and the prevailing  tidal  flows and whether the  tidal flows are able to wash  the litter out to sea once it’s there or whether the landforms entraps the litter like at beaches such as Burrick (above left) where so far we have collected 6 sacks,  or at  Meal where I lifted several large slabs off the rocks,  or at Mangaster (below) and Mavis Grind  where the the Hightide lines are almost as deeply littered as at Burick.

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Mavis Grind is a significant point in Shetlands Geo Park  being a narrow isthmus between the Atlantic and the North Sea where boats were hauled traditionally from one side to other to avoid the long row around.  On my journey north today I intend revisiting Mavis Grind to try and understand  more clearly the significance of the landforms (Taings : tonues of land ) that entrap what the Atalantic and passers by leave. Connectivity permitting I will share my findings.

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Alongside collecting the Plastiglomerates  usually within the high tide zone, I have been taking small samples of sand/seaweed from the splash zones that evidently contain micro-plastics.  This week I will ask Higher school pupils on Whalsey Island to examine and compare samples taken from their own shorelines with those I have taken from around the Shetland Mainland.   I look forward to their observations creative interpretations and  wonderfully visiting another one of Shetlands 100+ Islands.

Shetland Notes 4: Learning

A big aim of mine is to inspire young people to creatively tackle the massive environmental issue of plastic pollution in our marine and coastal environments.

Pupils in Shetland each year take part in the great Da Voar Redd Up spring litter pick and so know only too well the size of the problem and how much effort it takes to collect and carry hundreds of bags of litter from remote beaches.  Last week 70 Scalloway primary pupils cleaned Burick Beach a mile west of the school they collected 363 bags of bruck (rubbish) off the beach approximately 100m long.

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Jane Outram (environmental officer for the Shetland Amenity Trust) & myself have now begun to deliver three educational workshops across Shetland. Each workshop begins with an observational session on a beach near to the school. The outside learning element of the day long workshops fitting well with many of the schools, as writ on the wall at Nesting Primary School

learning words (2)

We are criss-crossing the isles to deliver 3 different workshops devised for different ages across the Primary and Higher School years with the aim of looking at how we can tackle the litter before it arrives on our beaches, so Shetland’s  children’s children won’t have to collect hundreds of bags of rubbish each year.

school workshop locations (2)

We have had an amazing response over 14 schools will be taking part, including the outer isles. Pupils taking part will also complete a questionnaire developed and written by researchers Lynette Robertson, Agnes Patuano and Reyhaneh Mozaffar so we can assess the benefit of our creative approach to investigating  beach litter and how we can help to reduce plastics in the environment. So far we have delivered a training session to members of Shetland Environmental Education Partnerships (ShEEP) an environmental project which will continue to help schools deliver the workshops on in future years.

LAP Edu Pack 2   LAP Edu Pack 3

Our first ‘Close Examination’ into the micro plastics of our beaches was carried out by lower high pupils of Aith School, who after taking a selection of particle samples from their local beach, used simple separation techniques to discover the variety of forms that plastic particles take. Using electronic magnification identification of the types and possible sources of the particles was discussed.

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Using projected images of  drawings of sand hoppers, the smallest organisms known to ingestion micro fibres, we began to experiment with ways of visually making the links between the ingestion of  micro plastics by marine organisms, the related hazards particularly to birds and mammals. The pupils and biology and art teachers now plan to explore this connection further through graphics.  I look forward to seeing the work!

Year 7 pupils enthusiastically took up the roles of a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team, on the western end of Burick Beach to collect evidence to carry out a ‘Return to Sender’ workshop. Back in the art room our team eagerly and thoroughlyscrutinised their evidence to build up a detailed product profile.

DSCF9913   DSCF9923   DSCF9919 evidence board

Each Crime Scene Investigation team set about interrogating the litter items to learnas much as possible about the type of material it was made from,who manufacturered the product, the retailer involved, plus  recycling symbols and anti-littering information etc.

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With this information pupils are now composing highly visual letters, FaceBook messages and Tweets to be sent shortly to manufacturers/retailers to ask for their help in reducing packaging, encouraging recycling and investing in  research into biodegradable products to help them keep their beach free of their products. Follow the blog to see their work and manufacturers responses

A cross age group of Outer Isle School pupils from Foula, Fetlar, the Skerries and Fair Isle visiting mainland Shetland searched for ‘Future Fossils’ amongst the Voxter shoreline stones. The children took part in 2 full sessions collecting and examining rock samples,  and then excitedly broke open the fossil pebbles to reveal a variety of common objects found on shorelines all around Shetland.

observation drawing rocks & FF Voxter magnifying  Voxter timeline Voxter

Later they took time to carefully work out how long litter items such as plastic bottle tops, gun wads, balloons and ropes might last into the future and considered this in context of the time line of the world, Shetlands geology and their own existence having put their names and birth dates onto the line.  A powerful days learning outside, together. I look forward to meeting all of these children in the interactive laboratory that I am designing for the exhibition at Da Gadderie.

Special interactive school event at the museum on Thursday 27th October

Many thanks to Awards for All , Zero Waste Scotland and North Link Ferries for enabling this educational part of the project to  be devised and facilitated .

Shetland Notes 1: Docked

IMG_1280Firmly docked in Shetland I am now happily tied up with the Littoral Art Project for the next 2 months.   Many  Many thanks to North Link Ferries for their support and a smooth crossing on MV Hrossey.

 

 

 

 

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Greeted by a wintery day – I am glad to be back and  to begin making an animation film with JJ Jamieson and to lead educational workshops in partnership with Shetland Amenity Trust to schools and organisations across the islands. We will be investigating the longevity of plastic and ways to creatively help to reduce the waste that’s picked up off beaches every year. This week is the annual Da Voar Redd Up the UK’s biggest spring clean up, the beach clean event that I took part in last year with Scalloway  School

Burwick beach WS before DSCF9507 IMG_1293

On route to spend my first few nights on the West side of the mainland I stop to check out a beautiful beach Sand Sound, perfectly named.  On arriving I see the Redd Up bags mounded up with random objects on top car bumper with nets thrown over and meet nearby resident Mike Barnett collecting litter along the beach. Like thousand’s of other Redd Up volunteers this week he has been well at work picking up and bagging every type of beach litter.   You can see the great work that community members have achieved if you go to the Dunna Chuck Bruck   As Mike bows down picking up pieces of cord and rope in the  wind, he voices what many  volunteers over the past 4 years have said to me about litter picking ‘It becomes so addictive , especially when you know if you leave a piece by next year it will be broken down into 4 pieces then the next 8 pieces …..and on’

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This is a common addiction I sharealong with most beach cleaners i.e. the compulsion to keep going, picking up piece after piece even when you’re tired and its freezing cold and snowing like today! The compulsion is that the more you pick up the cleaner you leave it, which is of course true BUT sadly we know only too well it’s only a temporary fix.  The gratifying ‘high’ only lasts until the next spring tides

My aim in creating this project and travelling to communities on the frontline of the issue is to inspire us to find ways to reduce the waste in the system and to be more sustainable which inturn allows us to negate the need for this addiction.

Keep tabs on the Littoral story  by clicking  the follow button on this page and confirm with Word Press when prompted. Please pass the link on to as many people as possible and if in Shetland get in touch if you find any plastic rocks ‘Plastiglomerates’ like the ones below  as I am collecting them to use in my work and am happy to pick them up.

IMG_4456  Plastic Rock  Burn beach melted rope plastic rock reveal copy

In the meantime well done to everyone who has/is taking part in the Redd Up here in Shetland and all spring MCS Beach Clean events  around the UK !

ArtCOP2015

As the world leaders come together this week to address the crucial issues of how come to agreements to slow down and stop Global Warming caused by our ever increasing CO2 emissions and destruction of the forests, artists all over the world are making work and running events to draw attention to the issue.

My contribution is to visually summarise in a simple way the volumes of waste I have witnessed on the beaches around Scotland over the last 2 years and the wasted energy that represents. With the help of scientist John McIntyre who has generously shared with me his recent research into Plastic Data, I am quantifying the embodied energy that each cube represents as it sits on the beaches and is buried in landfill.

I have selected 5 common plastic beach litter items to stack and combine into measurable cubes so I  can quantify the energy content of the discarded waste on beaches over the duration of the Climate Change Conference, both the images and calculations will be shared here on the blog and on Twitter @LittoralArt .

#COPcube [1. Polypropylene]

COPcube1Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 10 cm

Material : sections of prawn boxes corrugated plastic/twin wall plastic sheets

Produced from High-Impact Polypropylene PP

Weight: 1280g

Embodied energy content: 3.72 litres petrol or 122.1 MJ/Kg

Location: Loch Broom, Ross-shire beaches

#COPcube [2. Polyethylene]

COPcube2Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 15 cm

Material : strapping used to hold together fish/prawn/packaging boxes

Produced from Polyethylene terephthalate PET  orPETE

Weight: 220g

Embodied energy content: 0.36 litres petrol or 11.81 MJ/Kg

Location: collected Dun Canna beach, Ross-shire

 

 

 

#COPcube [3. High-density polyethelene ]

COPcube3 top BW txt copyDimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 cm

Material : mussel pegs – used in aquaculture, cast plastic

Produced from High-density polyethelene HDPE

Weight: 4196g

Embodied energy content: 10.15 litres petrol or 334.29 MJ/Kg

Location: collected Shetland beaches

 

 

 

 

 

#COPcube [4. Polypropylene]

COPcube 4 flattened

Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7 cm

Material : plastic tubes – sticks/shafts of ‘cotton bud’ products – domestic /cosmetic use

Produced from Polypropylene PP

Weight: 138g

Embodied energy content: 0.4 litres petrol or 13.17 MJ/Kg

Location: collected Portobello & Crammond beaches, Firth of Forth

 

 

 

#COPcube [5. Polyethylene]

COPcube5 persp flattened copyDimensions: 5 x 5 x 5 cm

Material : mixed micro fibres from ropes, strapping, plastic bags etc Commercial & domestic sources

Produced from Polyethylene terephthalate PET  orPETE

Weight: 14g

Embodied energy content: 0.022 litres petrol or 0.753 MJ/Kg

Location: collected Badentarbet beach, Ross-shire

 

 

 

The embodied energy calculations include the energy used in the feed stock (raw material) used to manufacture the plastic, it also includes the energy used to manufacture and transport the finished plastic product.

The energy content data used is from the ICE database. Craig Jones at Bristol University created it. http://www.circularecology.com/embodied-energy-and-carbon-footprint-database.html#.VlyZtIX9M7A

A series of arts events are taking place all over the world, as part of the ArtCOP 2015. You can find out more at http://www.artcop21.com . The Scottish partner for this is Creative Carbon Scotland. Please follow and pass on the links and feel free to leave a comment

John McIntyre is trying to work out using the available data on resource abundance, population, agriculture and realistic engineering if it is possible for us to construct a sustainable civilization from the trap humanity has accidentally constructed following the century long unplanned transition from a feudal near medieval society to an age of great danger and wonder.

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.

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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.

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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.