I'm in the middle of a restful vacation on Pender Island. Pender is one of the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia. The chain of islands continues across the US border as the San Juans.
This summer has been filled with travel and not much time for hands on work I'm sending apologies to several clients who are wondering what I've been doing this summer!
I decided to actually get some WORK done by heading down to the beach to see what I could find relating to my ongoing interest in bull kelp basketry. This beach never fails to seem to know what I need and at the bottom of the trail to the beach was a massive "raft"of tangled kelp! I began to "harvest it" Untangle is a better word for the the process!. It took three separate sessions over three days as the sun gradually began to shrink the raft and untangling became increasingly easier. I have found enough scattered info through extensive Googling to know that the kelp is dried before putting it in the car and heading home so I hung my treasures on the logs and rocks. Some of the strands are about 7 meters/yards long! It's a really interesting process.The kelp has transformed from a solid vivid green to a rich combination of black, brown, cream, yellow ochre and green hues and it's not finished yet! I'm tumbling ideas for designs and approaches for incorporating polymer with this fascinating material.
I'm enjoying childhood memories of Port Alice when we used kelp for making skipping ropes as well as recalling the stings we gave each other when we used the kelp as bullwhips!
By the way- if anyone knows of a basket-maker who offers workshops with seaweed or kelp in Western North America, please let me know!