Scottish seaweed jewellery celebrated in online exhibition

The exhibition is part of the annual Elements Festival, Scotland’s biggest celebration of jewellery, gold and silver.

Scottish seaweed jewellery celebrated in online exhibition

An artist who makes jewellery out of seaweed foraged in Scotland has had her work celebrated in an online exhibition.

Iona Turner, based in Edinburgh, is one of 10 silversmiths and jewellers whose work has been selected by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust and Lyon & Turnbull for the Elements 2021 graduate showcase exhibition.

The 22-year-old’s pieces include necklaces, neckpieces, brooches and earrings fashioned from the “bladders” of storm-cast knotted-wrack seaweed, which dries in varying shapes and colours depending on the time of year and where it comes from.

Ms Turner said she uses materials that are sustainable and renewable in her work.

She said: “I like to go foraging for seaweed as a food source to dry and eat.

Iona Turner
Iona Turner makes jewellery out of seaweed which she forages herself in Scotland (Iona Turner/PA)

“I found it works really well for jewellery, it’s beautiful and very distinctive.

“In terms of sourcing the material – it takes no land to grow, I only use what’s washed up, so nothing is killed, and I collect it myself, so there’s no long supply chain.”

Ms Turner, who is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), also uses materials including recycled brass, gold, silver and fallen branches collected in coastal woodland for her jewellery.

The sustainable craft is exhibited as talks continue at the crucial Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow this week.

The event has drawn world leaders and thousands of delegates to the city to discuss their efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

Glasgow-based Scott Smith, an artist in residence at GSA where he completed his jewellery and silversmithing degree, will also have his work shown in the exhibition.

The 23-year-old’s work mainly focuses on larger silver pieces such as quaichs, spoons and other table pieces.

Iona Turner
Iona Turner said her foraged seaweed works well for jewellery (Iona Turner/PA)

Mr Smith said: “I love the idea of pieces that people will actually engage with – have out on the table or use for celebratory meals rather than just locked away in a cabinet.

“I also like my pieces to work outside as well as inside – so to be used round a campfire as readily as in a dining room.”

The 2021 graduate showcase is part of the annual Elements Festival, Scotland’s biggest celebration of jewellery, gold and silver. It is online until the end of November.

Ebba Goring, chief executive of festival partners the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, said: “This year’s graduate showcase really shows what an abundance of talent and innovation we have among Scotland’s emerging makers and designers.

“The pandemic has made it tougher than ever for them to make the transition from students to professional craft makers and we very much hope that this exhibition will help by shining a light on some of these exceptional makers.

“Their inspirations range from Ancient Greek deities to archaeology and oceanography, and many are making work that responds to themes of sustainability, climate change and reducing consumption.

“We encourage people to take time to explore the showcase and show their support for these incredible new jewellers and silversmiths.”

The other graduates whose work can be seen in the exhibition are: Scarlett Bunce – Edinburgh College of Art; Amber Doughty – Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee; Monica Findlay – GSA; Lindsay Mahood – City of Glasgow College; Alexis Mitchell-Taylor – GSA; Iris Qu – Edinburgh College of Art; Mingyu Shan – Edinburgh College of Art; Sally Shepherd – GSA.

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