The pairing of seaweed science and art may sound like an unlikely combination, but on May 28, 30 event-goers got a taste of the fun at a seaweed pressing workshop in Bremerton. WSU Kitsap Extension, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the SEA Discovery Center and Crane’s Castle Brewing partnered to bring this seaweed pressing workshop to the public.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Nam Siu inspired the group with his knowledge and passion for seaweed while leading everyone through the pressing process. Siu also brought many examples of his own pressings labeled with their scientific names and shared stories of his underwater adventures.
Crane’s Castle Brewing hosted this room full of artists, scientists and seaweed enthusiasts. Participants sipped on locally brewed beer, cider and kombucha while socializing and designing their seaweed pressings. As participants searched for the perfect seaweed specimens, they engaged in conversation about the different species and where they could harvest them.
Pressing seaweed truly is a process, as many seaweed species exhibit intricate details that require meticulous placement, while others are thicker and need to be cut to dry properly in the press. Once the seaweed is pressed and dried, the product is much like that of pressed flowers, as they preserve a 3D subject into a 2D artform. Artists can be as detailed or freeform as they want, and often use seawater to move the marine algae in a more fluid pattern on the page.
If you want to try pressing your own seaweed, you’ll want to try it out January through March, when seaweed is at its prime. It is also important to purchase a shellfish permit that includes seaweed and learn the rules and regulations for proper harvesting of this marine resource.
Participants left this this fun, family-friendly workshop with a new appreciation for the seaweed that surrounds us, and will likely see these marine greens through a new lens on their next visit to the beach. If you didn’t make it to this year’s seaweed pressing, stay tuned for another workshop next spring. You can follow additional education events like this by signing up for the WSU Kitsap Extension newsletter or checking the SEA Discovery website for upcoming opportunities.