Sunday 12 January 2014

New Year presents

I have been really busy in early January making souvenirs for the Gyre: The Plastic Ocean, a unique art and science exhibition at the Anchorage Museum, Alaska, which opens on 7th February. The exhibition will explore the complex relationship between humans and the ocean in a contemporary culture of consumption and will feature the work of more than 20 artists from across the world, including two of my personal favourites, Mark Dion and Chris Jordan. 

It's looking really exciting... you can read more about it here.

Gyre continues until September 6th.  

Wednesday 13 November 2013


I have just had a wonderful weekend exhibiting Pilotage, a collaboration with Ian McMillan for the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. At our book signing for Pilotage: collected works (my half hour of fame; it felt so good...), Ian performed his short poem inspired by the fragment of a danger sign we found washed up on the beach near Sizewell. But how, we were asked, did we know it was part of a danger sign? Mightn't it instead be a sign for MANGETOUT from a greengrocer's? The questioner had a point. We felt we had no choice but to add a new piece to our installation in the Dovecote at Snape Maltings where people could add their own ideas.
Here are some of their suggestions:
blancmange, mange, change, endangered, flange, lone ranger, Pangbourne, climate change, orange, pangea, hanger, mangelwurzel, phalange, angel, free-range, hanger-on, bangbang, anger, sea-change, Angela Merkel, deranged, sange, stranger, manger, ranger, tangerine, dangerous, rearrange, angel dust, estrangement...
Any more?

Sunday 13 October 2013

A good place for a nuclear power station...

I was devastated to see the coastal erosion at Thorpeness today. A single tide early on Saturday morning carried away literally thousands of tonnes of shingle in the strong northeasterly winds, leaving several houses vulnerable.

My favourite footpath to the north end of the beach was severed, leaving a sheer 2.5 meter drop, and the sea defences (installed under the shingle just a couple of years ago) were suddenly stripped bare.

Sizewell, the site of existing and proposed nuclear power stations, is less than 2 miles away...

Thursday 29 August 2013

Sweet NOthings on the beach

Just returned from the best swim of the year: beach to myself (apart from the usual mad dog) and a warm steely sea...
And no rubbish on the beach - just one sweet NOthing.
That's the way I like it.

Monday 18 March 2013

Hooked on the beach

My dog, Rolf, loves to help me collect rubbish on the beach. But today nearly ended in disaster as we found he had a fishing hook embedded in his fur as he emerged from the sea after his usual dip. Moreover, as I tried to remove it, I realised there was a second hook concealed inside the seaweed which nearly embedded itself in my finger. Luckily he escaped unscathed despite trying to pull the hook free with his mouth and was soon back on top form collecting bollards.
But fishing debris on the beach is a huge hazard to wildlife and us... Anglers: more care please!

'All Summer Long'

You can capture that 'all summer long' feeling of Coca-Cola 35 years after the event, as I did walking along the beach today when this coke can washed up at my feet. I can think of a few choice words I could invent to send to Coca-Cola that would capture my feelings about their ancient debris washing in on the tide...
Send your suggestions to "All summer long", The Coca-Cola Company, Slough, Berks SL1 2NW.

[click on images for close-up]

Saturday 9 March 2013

death by plastic

Today's news provides graphic evidence of the harm plastics in our oceans cause to marine life: a sperm whale has washed up in southern Spain with 17kg of plastics in its stomach. Thick transparent plastic sheeting, 9m of rope, hosepipe, plastic flower pots, a clothes hanger, an ice-cream tub and bits of mattress were among the items which caused the whale's death.
Read more here.