Through exhibiting at the Regeneration Exhibition at Transnatural Amsterdam and a shared interest in sustainability I was able to meet Valentina Bongiovanni, an Illustrator from Turin.
Valentina and I worked together on serialising the Medusae-Project in an attempt to further convey the idea of using Jellyfish as a sustainable resource.
71% of the Earth’s surface is ocean. With all the diverse marine life, there’s a varied range of resources available that can be used to create sustainable materials. Examples like Algae and certain types of crustaceans are precious and abundant. With sensitive exploration these lifeforms could be used to replace harmful materials like plastic.
Human activities like fishing and releasing chemicals into the ocean are blamed for drastically reducing the amount of fish and disturbing the natural harmony of the world’s oceans. Jellyfish are resilient to a lot of these chemicals and are not being fished. To compound this increase in Jellyfish numbers many of the Jellyfish’s predators, like Tuna and Salmon are overfished.
Like a lot of delicate organisms Jellyfish reproduce a lot. The average Jellyfish has the potential to release approximately 45,000 eggs per day. Jellyfish share many traits with microorganisms, they are asexual and some can glow in the dark.
Due to their dependance on the current, Jellyfish can easily become stranded on the beach and after a while will decompose. This is another example of an abundant, environmentally-friendly, high-quality resource not being utilised.
The Jellyfish bells undergo a treatment to preserve the flexibility and elasticity of the Jellyfish collagen. This process is done using only natural additives and involves washing, salting, drying and then finally pressing the material.
Depending on treatment the final material will have a texture not dissimilar to rubber, parchment and/or leather. Jellyfish material is amazingly flexible, strong, and depending on the treatment also waterproof.
Illustrations from Valentina Bongiovanni.