After seeing for myself how the creatures lived in the ocean and picking them (only the large ones), it was more difficult than I imagined to take their life. I've grown up learning how to cut fish throats and boiling live crabs, so an approximation to the life I'm eating is not foreign to me. However, it became even stronger when I was the one on their territory - a guest to their habitat. 

Fascinated by these creatures, I learned that the scallop has 30-40 eyes, a sea urchin sees with his entire body and an oyster can live for twenty years. They all taste very good. 

Tasting test of Norwegian flat oysters, the invasive Mediterranean oyster, and oysters from France. The best in test was the Norwegian flat oyster. 

Sanding and lacquering the different types of shells. The scallops seemed to be the touches and most compact, but no areas were flat enough to make a watch dial. The flat oysters were most promising at this point

Sanding and lacquering the different types of shells. The scallops seemed to be the touches and most compact, but no areas were flat enough to make a watch dial. The flat oysters were most promising at this point

Discovery 2, 

26th of January 2021

Something I thought would be a straight forward project, turned out not to be. As I filed down the inside of the shell, I could see that the in-between layers were super porous. After doing some research it turns out this porous substance is calcium carbonite. The tougher layers (nacre) is crystallized calcium carbonite. How does this creature crystalize it? Does the pattern of the structure in itself make it stronger? Can that be applied to other materials?

Acid Bath, 

27th of January 2021

As I did not want to file through the layers of nacre, I thought perhaps if I put the outside in acid, it would acidise away some of the layers, and leave me a thinner, more pure piece of nacre. It did. 

I tried different household acids, and the one that worked best was normal apple vinegar acid

Result, 

28th of January 2021

After the acid bath and some more sanding (on the outside), and lacquering - I got an almost perfectly round shape in a beautiful white colour. It was thicker and not flat enough on the surface, but it resembled something I could use for this project.

 

Unfortunately, this was the only photo I took of it before the workshop I worked at shut down due to lockdown. I was not even allowed to come to collect my experiments 

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Diving in again,

13th of February 2021

As the water had frozen and the temperature showed minus 15 degrees, we could only be in the water for an hour maximum before our bodies went numb - so I took a second dip on the 13th, where I could explore the underwater world a bit more. This time I saw a monkfish, as well as some troll crabs and a few scallops, but only three which was large enough to harvest. This dive was filmed, some clips I used in the B&M film

Diving in again,

13th of February 2021

There is very little life in the sea during winter. There are almost no algae in the waters, which make them clear, but also clear of life. here is a shot of the monkfish. It's a bit difficult to see, as it is greatly camouflaged. Another discovery was some of the colours that occur - there are a lot of pinks, purple and gold shimmery colours in the Norwegian fjords. The kelp is called 'sukkertang'. I harvested some to test, but it fell apart, unfortunately.

To avoid the rotten sea smell to affect my family's tolerance for me, I washed the shells thoroughly. First by hand, then in the washing machine at 90 degrees. They lost quite a bit of shine during this process (perhaps some of the organic matrix?) 

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Grilling shell, 

15.02.2021

What to do with the rest of the waste? Some need to go back into the ocean as oyster reefs are built on old oyster shells (the baby oysters attach themselves to them), but the rest could go to the production of the plates and glasses of the restaurant. Both ceramic and glass contain calcium carbonite.

Here I try with the mussels waste:

 

Grilled at 300 degrees

After 20 minutes: Burned smell and dark colour on edges - all shine from mother of pearl is gone

After 50 minutes: The burned smell is gone

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Breaking down the burnt shells, 

15.02.2021

After 1hr and 30 minutes: I take the shells out and they break easily

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Making clay, 

15.02.2021

Mixing the burnt shell powder with water, to make a clay paste. I let it sit for a day, where the water and the shells dried and became one solid mass.

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Shaping the clay, 

16.02.2021

I again mixed it with water, to try and make something a shape. This was how the paste acted

Bake #2, 

16.02.2021

Baked it again on 300 degrees to see if it would hold.

The result from bake #2, 

16.02.2021

It crumbled.... Next step: to seek a ceramic expert and oven in Copenhagen when the strict lockdown situation opens up again

The result from bake #2, 

17.02.2021

Seeing how the pearly ability disappeared in the baking process, I wanted to see if there is a way I could preserve this ability. I smashed up some of the excess shells with a hammer. I will try to incorporate some of this pearly dust in the final ceramic glaze.  

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Shiny abilities of nacre, 

17.02.2021

Here's a photo of the shiny ability, which is quite luxurious to me, that I got from a scallop shell after cleaning it thoroughly   

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Test of the watch dial, 

18.02.2021

I tested a more flaky, but flat piece that I filed down if it is possible to cut a perfect circle of it. It works, but is too see-through for what I want! I secured it with clear nail polish.

Diving for local materials, 

21st of Janurary 2021

Diving in the nearby fjords in 7 degrees bellow, to explore what materials are edible as well as beautiful. The water was crystal clear because of a lack of algae due to the cold weather. 

 
 

The Catch, 

21st of Janurary 2021

We harvested scallops, flat oysters, normal osters, mussels, O'skjell (northern horse mussel) and sukkertang (a sort of kelp)

 
 

Nature connection, 

21st January 2021

 
 

Tasting test, 

21st of January 2021

 
 

Sanding & lacquer, 

26th of January 2021

 
 

Discovery, 

26th of January 2021

 
 
 
 
 
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Cleaning of shells, 

15.02.2021