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About SeaweedArt

Beth collecting seaweed

My name is Beth Powanda Shady. I am a nature lover and artist who’s lucky enough to live in Santa Cruz, one of the world’s most beautiful places. Ever since I was a child, I have been creating arts and crafts from objects found in nature– flowers, foliage, leaves, herbs, sticks, driftwood, seashells and seaweed.

collage of seaweed pressed on paper

I live  with my seafaring, surfer husband Bill and our five kids.

Bill holding surfboard

Our quaint, beach community is celebrated for its temperate climate, pristine beaches,

stretch of Santa Cruz beach known as Pleasure Point

rocky shores  and surfing.

I created this blog a few years ago to write about the joy and pleasure I experience living by the beach.  I moved here from the East coast 23 years ago and I am still in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds me. I want to share my love of the sea and coastal living with you.

All of the seaweed used in my SeaweedArt cards has been sustainably harvested from the Monterey Bay in accordance with the regulations for seaweed harvesting along the West Coast of North America.

Press

See it in the sea, buy it on a card — Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 4, 2012.

Featured ocean advocate in SeaWeb’s Ocean Voices.

Our Mission

"sea turtle"

SeaweedArt is committed to raising awareness and funds for the protection and preservation of our beautiful oceans, beaches, coastlines and marine habitats. For every item purchases, 10% of the profits will be donated to charities and non-profit organizations dedicated to our cause.

The Process

"seastar at Pleasure Point tidepool"

The art of pressing seaweed dates back to the Victorian Era when aristocratic ladies made seaweed pressings as a hobby to collect specimens and decorate their homes. The process may seem daunting and time consuming, but I can assure you it is quite satisfying, peaceful and relaxing and you will be amazed at the beautiful works of nature art you will create.

How to Press Seaweed

Materials Needed:

  • Seaweed
  • A container for collecting, Tupperware with lid is best
  • Tap water
  • 100% cotton rag paper (available are art supply stores) Cut into standard frame sizes like 5 x 7 or 8 x 10
  • Colander
  • Two small dishwasher tubs. large pots work well too
  • Tweezers
  • Cheesecloth
  • Paper towels
  • Blotting paper (available at art supply stores)
  • Heavy books for weights
  • Fan

Step 1. Collect the seaweed. Rocky shores at low tide are the best spot. Look for seaweed in different colors, shapes and textures. Put the seaweed in a container filled with a bit of clean seawater. You should add enough water to cover the specimens and keep them moist.

Step 2. Take your seaweed home and put it in a colander and rinse thoroughly with tap water. Place in a dishwasher tub with tap water. This will be your sorting tank.

Step 3. Fill the second dishwasher tub half way with water. Place the paper in the water so it is submerged. Choose seaweed from your sorting tank and place on top of the paper. It should float slightly above it. Think about the result you want. The variety of seaweed’s shapes, colors and textures naturally lend themselves to beautiful abstract designs. Put your hands under the paper and remove quickly from the water. The fast movement should capture the fluid motion of the seaweed. Adjust with tweezers or your fingers if necessary. Tilt the paper from side to side to drain excess water and blot gently with paper towels.

Step 4. Place your design on a stack of blotting paper. Cover with cheese cloth and more blotting paper. The paper will absorb the excess moisture. The wax paper prevents sticking to the packing paper. Stack heavy books or weights on top. Set a fan in front of it on a low setting. Every other day change the packing paper until your paper is completely dry. This can take up to two to three weeks.

Step 5. Once your masterpiece is completely dry you can frame it. Seaweed has a natural glue in it that causes it to stick to paper. If there are some loose pieces you can glue them down or laminate your piece. Keep out of direct sunlight and the color should last a long time.

Coastal Style

Sea-inspired, nautical and coastal decor for the beach lover in all of us.

Coastal Food

Sea “Foodie” cooking and dining recommendations, recipes and ideas. While this page is under construction, please visit my blog to see restaurant recommendations, product reviews and recipes.

Is There Kelp in Your Cupboard?

kelpWhat you may not know is that many household products, medicines, and cosmetics contain substances from kelp—including dog food and lipstick. Seaweeds, which are large ocean plants called algae come in three forms:  brown, red and green algae, each providing important ingredients for the manufacture of food and other products.

Alginate, carrageenan and beta carotene are the names for the algae products you might find in foods or other products in your cupboards. These seaweed derivatives help ingredients mix together and form thick, gooey gels. They are found in salad dressing, frozen deserts, paint and beer.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers many interactive games and fun science experiments to teach children how to become a seaweed sleuth at home. Download the worksheet or play the interactive game to learn which seaweeds are used in common foods and household products. Check out the live kelp forest web cam. It’s really fun!

Support Marine Protected Areas

I learned from reading the Save Our Shores website today that there are four types of marine protected areas.

  • Marine Reserve: No Fishing is allowed in these areas
  • Marine Conservation Area: Limits commercial and recreational fishing to protect a specific habitat or resource.
  • Marine Park: Prohibits commercial fishing but allows most recreational fishing.
  • Marine Recreational Management Area: Limits commercial and recreational fishing to protect a specific habitat or resource

You can help support marine protected areas by signing the petition that will protect and preserve these treasured marine habitats and underwater ecosytems.

Dog Beach

Dog Beach, Santa Cruz

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