Sea Form II

Close up of an assemblage piece by MJ Seal made of various plastics that resembles a colorful, translucent sea creature

It just emerged from a primordial plastic soup-

“Sea Form II”- Original assemblage by MJ Seal. Polyfoam wrap, styrofoam, polyester fabric, plastic shopping bags, nylon thread and fishing line, 11” (4’ counting the “tentacles ) x 5” x 4”. C. 2020

I’ve had these ideas for abstract, marine forms made from plastic detritus for a while now and decided it was time to bring them to life.

I have found myself both appalled and strangely fascinated with the Plastic Ocean Crisis- and as an admitted hoarder I can find a use for everything including plastic packing materials (which for the most part you can’t recycle)and shopping bags (which technically you can recycle- but I’m pretty sure end up in the landfill for the most part-and then in the ocean). For this group of work I specifically wanted to make use of materials whose intended purpose was to ensnare, contain and hold in place- which would be only fitting for constructing the jellyfish-like forms I had in mind.

On that note: “Sea Form I” ran into some technical difficulties- and may be an evolutionary dead end- I dunno – we’ll see what becomes of it. This second one started as a bunch of experimental components I stitched out of polyfoam wrap a while back and just sat on my work table collecting dust and waiting for me to get back to them- and I finally did.

A crown of writhing, fishing line tentacles reaches out

This piece started with a sheet of polyfoam wrap stuffed with broken up packing peanuts. I like this polyfoam material as it’s easy to bunch up and stitch-it’s translucent and slightly iridescent – and remarkably tough for such a thin film of tiny bubbles. Anyway- it looked like a large worm and I stitched additional components with plastic bags stuffed with packing peanuts- or other plastic bags – and then stitched those onto the main body.

Close up of the anterior (?)

After the “innards” were assembled I sewed a translucent skin of polyester organza fabric and then attached that to main body.

Little tentacles of nylon thread extend from the posterior (?)

The organza fabric worked wonderfully for this- which is good as I hoarded tons of it before the shutdown- fully expecting to have nothing better to do than sew artwork together for the next few months- and of course I got swept up in other projects. Anyway it is easy to sew up, strong, almost transparent and makes a beautiful skin.

Plastic innards visible under an iridescent, translucent plastic skin.

This was quite a learning experience as it has been quite a while since I’ve sewn anything together- never mind a biomorphic sculpture/assemblage- but I like the direction this is going in. Plus it was a lot faster and easier to make than one of my paper mache objets d’arts.

*Stay Safe and Stay Tuned*

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