Student’s concept gives oceans a kelp-ing hand against plastic pollution

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Michael Anderson’s Kelp-Weave tote bag.

A UNIVERSITY of Dundee student has created a sea-based sustainable material which could cut down man’s overuse of single-use plastics.

21-year-old, Michael Anderson who is originally from Glasgow, braved the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth to harvest kelp that he has transformed into a substance capable of producing a range of everyday items.

His ‘Kelp-Weave’ creations will be displayed at this year’s Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show which will open on Friday 17th May.

Michael said: “The whole experience was pretty gross.

“The best local kelp is located in the East Neuk of Fife at low tide, so I had to get up at 4am and drive to Anstruther before stripping down and collecting this stuff in freezing cold water.

“This wasn’t helped by a sewage spill that I had to dodge, which meant travelling even further to get the quantities that I needed.”

Once the seaweed was collected, it was treated in a natural solution before it was dried and pressed in a custom-built press.

After several weeks, the kelp had taken on a plastic-like quality and could be manipulated into several forms.

He added: “When I brought it home I had to put it in preservative and the smell was really bad, it also produced a slime, which again was not particularly pleasant but the worst thing of all was preparing to go into the water.

“Once you were in it was so cold that it didn’t really register, but the moments before going in were by far the worst.

“Once the material was ready it became fairly easy to work with, but getting to that stage took a lot of time.

“After all of the hard work it is a huge relief to finally be showing off my work at this year’s Degree Show.”

He has so far created a tote bag and wallet but believes that Kelp-Weave could easily be use to create other accessories or outerwear.

The Kelp-Weave will be showcased in its natural colour but Michael says it could be dyed.

Last year’s Degree Show attracted a record attendance of 16,000, generating in excess of £1.5 million for the local economy.

Around 300 students will once again be showcasing visually stunning art and design that seeks to solve some of society’s biggest problems.

This year’s event runs from Friday 17 May to Saturday 26 May.

 
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