Foraging for seaweed in England

I have washed up on the beaches of Cornwall…

…and found a host near Penzance who knows so much about foraging! I hadn’t been to Cornwall before, and am impressed by the moors, cliffs and seaside landscapes. For about the first half of my visit it was drizzling constantly, wet and cold. Nevertheless, you can really feel the land coming awake underneath the gloomy sky, blooming into spring. The gorse and willow are flowering, and the seaweed foraging season has begun.

Soon after I arrived, we were wandering down the cliff pathways to forage for laver, sea spaghetti, pepper dulce and sea lettuce. Caroline took me to a fairly isolated beach to pick the sea spaghetti and pepper dulce. The coastline is steep, and the gravel-rock-and-wood pathways was slippery with the previous night’s rain, but the walk down the remote coastline to the ocean was wild and beautiful.

We cut the stems of the newer, smooth strands of sea spaghetti from the root of the plant. The pepper dulce is much smaller. Caroline recommends cutting the stems of seaweeds only, always leaving the small root-growth at the base of the plant to regenerate.

Scissors wicker basket seaweed forager travelling

When we went down at high tide, there were many, many anemones in all the rock pools. Some were closed so I didn’t recognise them at first. Although I have spent a lot of my life near the ocean, I had only seen two blooming anemones before this! Closed anemones look gross in comparison.

Rock pool life anemone seaweed picking

After I saw a few blooming (and in different colours!) I put two and two together and saw a lot more anemones.

Rock pools Cornwall flowering anemone

This is the first beach in Cornwall I have had a chance to see, and it is so different from the beaches around where I grew up. Here, there are lots of cliffs, to rock pools, caves, doors  – so unfamiliar! I have only seen this landscape in photographs and on TV in shows like Doc Marten, Midsomer Murders….

Cornish cave exploration foraging traveller UK

Landscape travel photography Cornwall ocean cliffs

After getting back I knocked up a rough sketch of the seascape – the strongest memory.

Cornish beaches drawing sketching journaling

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
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4 Responses to Foraging for seaweed in England

  1. Pingback: Preparing seaweed | kellymariemcewan

  2. Pingback: Nettle Tea and the Boscawen-Un stone circle | kellymariemcewan

  3. Pingback: Fermenting ramsoms and tri-cornered leeks  | kellymariemcewan

  4. Pingback: Sketching my thoughts into a notebook on the road | kellymariemcewan

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