There’s something magical about seaweed dancing in a sandy pool, choreographed by the wind or the perambulations of tiny fish or crabs. But remove it from its watery stage, and over time it loses its magic. Dry, smelly, fly-encrusted: it’s a long way from art.
In the natural history boom of the Victorian age, though, seaweed collecting and pressing became very much on trend: as a suitable pastime for ladies; and a way of preserving some of the magic of these beautiful plants outside of their natural habitat.
Lucky enough to be often on the Welsh coast, with no shortage of rock pooled beaches on my doorstep, I decided to give this Victorian pastime a go this summer.
The process – from collecting to pressing – was mindful, and while my technique needs refining, the results are, I think, delicately beautiful.