The Seaweed Gatherer
The Seaweed Gatherer is an ongoing jewellery collection materialised from gathered Scottish seaweed. The collection began with Iona Turner's undergraduate degree show at The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland in 2021.
The artist's process follows careful attention to, and immersion in, seaweeds’ wild ecology. Following the cycles of the moon and rhythms of the tide, as seaweeds shape shift from their submerged to storm-cast state. Submerged Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) stands tall; holdfasts cling tightly to intertidal rock; stem-like fronds perform an elegant dance of protection and nutrition for many creatures of the sea. The artist's time in seaweed’s sub-marine world is limited by breath, though the experience endures as creative inspiration. After the storm and tides recede Knotted Wrack may come away from the rock to be found ashore – storm-cast. Here, without live ecology to inhibit, is where Iona gathers seaweed. Having travelled near and far seaweeds are in varying stages of decay and growth; such variations in detail become the work’s colour pallet and organic pattern. Clusters of abundance mimic nature’s sub-marine growth patterns created, in honour of seaweed’s ecological value, through fine detail processes as yet reserved for economically valuable precious metals. The collection holds holistic aspirations, conscious of betraying the meditative qualities of gathering.
The wearing of these neckpieces are intended to strengthen one's bond with the sea and its creatures.
Upon gathering, seaweed is taken to the artist’s workshop, where they are dried and worked with a jeweller's tools. There are no preservatives or treatments cast upon the seaweed. Organic hemp cord is included as a structural component. As this material is also biodegradable, this neckpiece could, if the wearer so desires, be returned to the sea, or earth, without any negative environmental impacts. The impact could be regenerative, as seaweed is an effective fertiliser.
Text submitted by the maker
Knotted-Wrack Seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum), Hemp cord
Mark Messer and others by the artist