SEA ME: sea algae yarn by Nienke Hoogvlietand

How about using biomaterials to replace plastic objects?

Nienke Hoogvliet decided to research the use of a biomaterial – seaweed – to create a more sustainable solution in the textile industry. She researches how to use seaweed as a sustainable textile dye and how to create a sustainable seaweed yarn. This research was developed after the success of a previous project called the SEA ME.

SEA ME is a rug made of sea algae yarn, knotted by hand in an old fishing net. Using a biomaterial as yarn could offer a more sustainable solution to the textile industry – as Nienke Hoogvliet mentioned, ‘algae grow much faster and need fewer nutrients than cotton’. The final object capture the duality between the bio yarn and the old fishing net – used as the base for the rug.

SEAWEED Research
After collecting over 20 different species of seaweed in the Oosterschelde (a Dutch coastal area) experiments were done. Each specie gives a different color, showing a color palette that reflects this nature reserve. Part of the research was a trip to Ireland, where 100.000 kg of seaweed floats ashore every year. This seaweed could potentially be used for the yarn and dye.’

The Beginning of SEA ME
Nienke Hoogvliet: I grew up near the Dutch coast, that’s where my love 
for the sea and materials from the sea is born. After I graduated in 2013 from the department Lifestyle&Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, I started my own design studio immediately. Ever since I am working on projects that represent my own idealism, mostly resulting in projects that are themed around sustainable new materials like yarn made of seaweed, leather from fish skin, or materials from sewage wastewater.

The Future of Materials Design
Nienke Hoogvliet: I believe it’s very important we start using 
bio-materials to replace plastics (for example) or other not sustainable materials. We are starting to get more aware of how much damage we are doing to the planet and understand that we need to change. Therefore, I believe materials like seaweed-based yarn, have the future.

I am happy to notice that more and more companies change to a circular or (more) sustainable business model. I think companies also see that they can not continue like this. However, progress is slow and I would prefer if bigger steps would be taken.

Interview with Nienke Hoogvliet.

Featured Photo: ©Femke Poort | Second Photo: ©HannahBraeken | Third Photo: ©Nienke Hoogvliet.

Content Credit: ©Nienke Hoogvlietand Through Objects.