I had an idea of the colours I wanted to use to create this piece; dark mustard brown and bright coral red. The colours came first.


(Photo) Unratio Illustration Titled "Play"

So why this mustard colour?

In the cooler waters in southern Australia, large leathery kelp seaweed plants hug the rocks. These giant ocean plants are amazing. I love the colours and texture. There is wonderful brown and mustard colours along the shoreline.

I went through a crazy kelp phase. Long strands wash up on the beaches regularly. It feels like thick wet leather. As it dries it curls on the edges and becomes tough but more brittle. I experimented with making jewellery and wall sculptures with it. This was a very achievable idea. The trick is to wash it thoroughly, a few times in fresh water,  then make sure it dries in the sun or it will rot.

As an artist, I am constantly having to reign myself in to stay focused. I seem to have a new business idea daily. Everything from chilli chocolate to kelp jewellery. I find it hard to simply play with things I enjoy.

The problem, I find is that we live in such a hustle culture, where even our hobbies are monetised or encouraged to be. I often feel guilty spending time delving into some new creative play if there is no income attached to it. Or worse, instead of getting lost in the play, I spend time consuming days trying to figure out a way to make money from that play. 

This is probably backwards thinking. 

Free play time, while it does not directly generate money, the benefits naturally flow into your life with a positive impact. 

(Photo) The start of a rose flower illustration. 

(Photo) Antique gouache painting on waxed paper, embroidery design circa 19th century. 

Play and experimenting is important. It allows one to make connections we can otherwise miss. It stimulates creativity and helps with problem solving. New ideas are birthed at the intersection of two different worlds, a beautiful collision occurs and a place of uncharted possibility unfolds.  

I love kelp, truly I do. Maybe one day I will work directly with it. But it's okay to play by the sea, just being me. 

This artwork titled “Play” is an ode to the colour of living kelp. It is also a reminder to play without purpose. Children of course need no encouragement to do this.

This artwork is available for purchase here.

x Bella 

March 30, 2023

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