Jul 10, 2010

A Somewhat Damp Hobby

About 150 years ago, someone created this mandala-like arrangement of seaweed, and preserved it in an album. A week and a half ago, I was privileged to see it. I can get lost in tracing those delicate fronds, can't you?

Sea Flower

From this website, I gleaned a quote regarding seaweed albums:

Seaweed Album Card - Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, September 1865
"A card, unpolished surface, must be taken into the water, passed under the weed as it floats, selecting only very small pieces. As soon as the card touches it, the weed will unfold. Then it must be lifted instantly from the water. The air will cause it to adhere so closely as to form an almost flat surface. While yet damp, the card must be pressed between the leaves of a heavy book, to remove the wrinkles made by the water. When the seaweed is thus prepared, it is exquisitely beautiful, retaining all its minute fibres and delicacy, and its beautiful tints. Lady bathers will find a new interest in their seaside life, and enrich their albums with most beautiful mementos."

Ah, those lady bathers and their minute fibres! In all seriousness though, I'd love to try this.

On a slightly different note, I spent this morning at the semi-annual book sale put on by the Natural History Museum where the above photograph was taken. It was, hands down, the most fun I've ever had at a used book sale! Between my husband and myself we bought 13 natural history books for $12. Some just for the cover art, some for the illustrations inside, some for the literary content. I have a feeling we'll be going back to the next sale.

{Photograph taken courtesy of the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI.}


  1. These seaweed presses are amazing! I especially loved the quote you found about them!

  2. P.S. I gotta check out some Natural History museums around here (San Francisco) to see if they have any used book sales coming up, what a great event to go to! Thanks for the info.


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