Old Felixstowe: A Living Wall

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This project has been kindly funded by the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB and Suffolk Secrets

Saturday 15th September, 20 degrees, blustery and sunny, High tide 16.14, 3.75m

Our selected studio site was adjacent to Groyne E1 just below the Cliff car-park and kiosk cafe, a gathering point for families, chalet owners and dog-walkers on a Saturday morning.

While the tide was low we scoured the shoreline for detached fronds of seaweeds. Initially the beach appeared a Bladdewrack monoculture but on closer inspection delicate single cell green seaweeds were discovered and wet feet were justified to capture a few red varieties floating in the shallows.

We set up our temporary seaweed museum on the prom, divided into red, green, brown with a few difficult to classify colourwise.

Next to our identification table we set up printing inks and plates for monoprints. Would this process help us look closely and focus our attention on the different forms and textures of these algae.

Passersby were interested in the collections and stopped for a chat, some people printed, others told us stories of the beach: mysterious dog poisonings by algae: rats released by the pier works; the storm last winter that carved away the beach and left built structures high and dry above the high tide line.

And what was our take on the day?… probably more successful than Dunwich for bringing art and ecology together. The engagement was deeper and with people who wouldn’t normally stop for an art project. Is a collection a good starting point?

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