Collect 2024


Iona Turner




Fibre, Art Jewellery & Sculpture

Iona Turner’s regenerative and sustainable jewellery practice is a homage to the sea. Through immersion in local ecology and seascapes, Iona works with seaweed to make expressive yet wearable pieces of art jewellery that aim to present a sense of belonging in the natural world. 

From the coast of Moray in northeast Scotland, Iona follows tidal patterns to gather washed-up seaweed. Once dried, the seaweed is worked with jeweller’s tools and detailed processes typically reserved for fine metalwork. Free from preservatives, treatments or glue, if desired, Iona’s pieces can be returned to the earth or sea without any negative environmental impact. 

A recent graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, Iona’s collection ‘The Seaweed Gatherer’ has been exhibited widely; at Galerie Marzee (Netherlands), The Scottish Gallery (Edinburgh) and The Future Materials Bank (online).  

In conversation

1. Tell us about your practice and what led you down your chosen path as a maker.

I have always enjoyed making, paying close attention to intricate details, subtle textures, and conceptual meanings. The emotional sentiment behind jewellery making and wearing has always fascinated me. I knew I wanted to go to art school, and when I visited The Glasgow School of Art's open day, the jewellery workshop filled with tools and flames immediately caught my attention.

Likewise, I have always had a close relationship with the sea. As a keen surfer, I have been teaching surfing in Scotland for many years. Time by the sea led me to forage, exploring the nutritional benefits and intriguing flavours of seaweed. I discovered how strong and beautiful Knotted-wrack seaweed is and began developing this collection. 

2. Tell us about your materials.

I base every aspect of my work on seaweed, its use as material, lifecycle and conceptual significance. I gather and process seaweed with respect for its ecology. The organic patterns and compositions within my pieces follow the seaweed's natural form, and the compositions I create are inspired by the growth and movement as it lives, washes up, and drifts with the waves.

3. Can you share more about the process behind your Collect 2024 collection?

This collection is part of my ongoing series called 'The Seaweed Gatherer', which I first presented at my degree show in 2021. Since then, I have refined and matured my seaweed artworks to be what I believe are the most ecological and intriguing versions of themselves.

4. What inspired your collection for Collect 2024?

This collection is inspired by a desire to deepen my connection to local seascapes. I feel compelled to pay homage to the sea and create art that highlights Scotland's unique, delicate, and endangered underwater ecosystems. 

5. Tell us about your approach to sustainable making in this work.

I handle seaweed with care. The gathering of raw materials is carried out in accordance with the natural qualities of seaweed and local ecology. I collect seaweed frugally from the strandline where it is naturally brought ashore, so as not to interfere with live ecology. Decomposing seaweed has significant ecological benefits too, and in awareness of this, I take it sparingly. In the workshop, seaweed is dried and worked on with a jeweller's toolbox. No preservatives, treatments, or glue are applied to the seaweed so my pieces are entirely biodegradable. If the wearer wishes, they may return the jewels to the sea or earth without any negative environmental impact. Instead, it could even have a positive impact since seaweed serves as an effective fertiliser.

6. What do you hope the viewer will take away from this work?

I hope that those who view my work will feel inspired to take a closer look at the sea. Through experiencing my work by viewing, wearing, smelling, and touching it, I aim to encourage a connection with the sea and its creatures. Ultimately, my goal is to inspire people to protect the sea by fostering a deeper understanding of the sea and its ecological significance.


Photography by the artist

Iona Turner


Neckpiece. Knotted wrack seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and beeswaxed linen ..

Length 120cm


Photography by the artist

Iona Turner


Neckpiece. Knotted wrack seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and beeswaxed linen ..

Length 85cm


Photography by the artist

Iona Turner


Neckpiece. Knotted wrack seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and beeswaxed linen ..

Length 240cm


Photography by the artist

Iona Turner


Hanging sculpture. Knotted wrack seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and beeswaxe..

Length 300cm


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