AlgaeAboard: Material Experimentation
Using the algae I have collected from Regent’s Canal and based on the book ‘Green Plastic’ by E.S. Stevens, I prepared the ingredients required for homemade bioplastic:- tapioca starch, glycerol, gelatin and vinegar.
As there is no facility for me to cook the material at the university, I have turned my kitchen into a lab.
1.5 tbs Algae : 4 tbs Gelatin : 1/2 tps Glycerol : 1 tps Vinegar : 5 tbs Water
The result is surprising robust and it is the best outcome of all the test pieces. Taking this to the next stage, the aesthetic of the material is examined for a more desirable result.
Looking at the test pieces, they remind me of precious stones.
By controlling the ratio of different states of algae - fine powder, bits and torn strands- in the mixture, the intensity of the colour green and the hairline texture can be altered.
Can I emulate the aesthetic quality of jade or marble?
Will this change the preconception and value of plastic?
AlgaeAboard: In Context
Canal boats were largely means for work during the Industrial Revolution. Until the late Nineteenth Century, railways were all the rage and any new investment money was diverted away from water to rail.
Today the majority are holiday cruisers custom-built for the leisure. However, economic inflation has caused the young creative class to look at working and living on boats as an alternative. In synonymous with the distinctive creative canal culture of the past, their whole life is a quintessential way of doing things that has fostered a new class of creative community on water, with the establishment of floating cinema, pop-up cafe, boat bookstore and handcrafts store.