Seaweed. A Portrait

Seaweed. A Portrait

168 pages

Hardcover with numerous illustrations

Genre: Nature, Nature Writing, Essay
A beautifully illustrated ode to the most sensuous family of water plants.

Seaweed is so familiar, and yet we know so little about it. Even its names—pepper dulse, sea lettuce, bladderwrack—are mystifying.

In this exquisitely illustrated portrait, poet and artist Miek Zwamborn shares discoveries of seaweed’s history, culture, and science. We encounter its medicinal and gastronomic properties and long history of human use, from the Neolithic people of the Orkney islands to sushi artisans in modern Japan. We find seaweed troubling Columbus on his voyages across the Atlantic and intriguing Humboldt in the Sargasso Sea. We follow its inspiration for artists from Hokusai to Matisse, its collection by Victorians as pressed specimens in books, its adoption into fashion and dance, and its potential for combating climate change, as a sustainable food source and a means of reducing methane emissions in cattle.

And, of course, we learn how to eat seaweed, through a fabulous series of recipes based around these “truffles of the seas.”

German title: Algen - Ein Portrait
ISBN: 978-3-95757-696-5
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2019
Series: Naturkunden Vol. 051
Illustration: Falk Nordmann
Sold to: Italy, United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands

Sample translation

Complete English translation available

Complete German translation available

Complete Dutch original text available

Miek Zwamborn is a visual artist, author, and translator. After studying fine arts in Amsterdam, she worked as a lock keeper for fifteen years. She works and lives on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.

"But it's mostly because of Miek Zwamborn's own enthusiasm for the world of algae. Every alga, every poem, every picture she treats with such attention that you start to love algae yourself while reading." - Nico Bleutge, SZ