Portia Knight Launches
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Seaweeding is really a process of two halves — the 'hunt' and the artworking.
The hunt is about slowing down, really looking. I try to stay open to what might be there while also retaining a calm focus on examining and selecting the specimens I want to use. This one of my favourite aspects of seaweeding overall, and it connects me to the beautiful shoreline of Scotland. As a perennial amateur, I love to learn more, develop a wider knowledge and improve my 'eye' for different kinds of seaweed.
As for the artworking, there's an intrigue in the fact I'm never quite sure how each will turn out until the final post-pressing reveal. Selection sometimes depends on species, but generally, I look for form and colour that I think will result in an interesting pressing. Some seaweeds are easier to handle than others, and some behave differently in and outside of water — repetition is a great teacher for seaweeding, so don't be afraid to try things and learn for next time.
I forage in shoreline rockpools at low tide, when the floating 'drift' seaweed is easiest to see and examine for selection. I only use drift (or 'cast') seaweed for my seaweed pressing, as there's plenty of it to choose from and it avoids unnecessarily uprooting seaweed from the rocks.
My trusty white bucket is usually with me as it allows me to float the seaweed I find, getting a sense of what it might look like on paper and giving a good indication of shape and colour. I'm selecting for art rather than scientific study, so 'imperfections' offer welcome variety and often interesting textures.
I approach seaweed with the same respect that I would a tree or other plant and always forage mindfully. I encourage you to never pull seaweed from the rocks and if you must cut it, leave the bottom two-thirds of the seaweed intact so that it can regrow.
For creative purposes, I strongly favour the potential and sustainability of drift (or 'cast') seaweed — which you'll likely find in abundance at low tide in the shallows.
For best results, you should press your seaweed as soon as possible after collection. For storing foraged seaweed, keep it submerged in sea water somewhere cool — and put your submerged seaweed in the fridge if storing overnight.
Full instructions for how to press seaweed are provided with each Ebb & Upwell press.
Handmade seaweed press produced with FSC certified birchwood ply. These presses are ideal for novices and experienced seaweeders alike.
A selection of original Portia Knight seaweed pressings — captured in high-resolution on fine art giclée prints.
My interest in seaweeding grew from reading about its Victorian 'seaweed hunting' roots and a growing desire to pursue creativity here by the sea shore.
Follow me on Instagram or get in touch directly with any questions about seaweeding, presses or new discoveries made.