Portballintrae Seaweed dishes

Walking on the local beaches I am avid collector of shells and stones and sometimes pieces of seaweed washed ashore.  Incredible as it sounds, there are over 500 different species of seaweed along the Irish coastline, in beautiful textures and colours.

I regularly walk along the beach in Portbalintrae which is close to Bushmills, where I picked up some bladderwrack seaweed after a storm and took it back to the studio.

Bladderwrack seaweed is in abundance along the North Antrim coast and its beautiful pea pod shapes lead to a range of porcelain platters and small dishes, using the seaweed as the surface texture, with blue, green and pink tones under what I aim to be a 'watery' glaze.

The word 'bladder' comes from the shape of the leafy structures and 'wrack' comes from the word for wreck, as in shipwreck. The pea or bladder shape mean that the seaweed floats in water and thrives as it retains the water.  It was used by farmers up until quite recently as a source of fertiliser, cut down with scythes in large amounts and then placed directly on the fields.