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That Other Flora: The Seaweed and Kelp of the Pacific Coast, An Artist’s Journey


February 24, 2021 | 7:30 pm 8:30 pm

Marine algae are the supreme eco-engineers of life: they oxygenate the waters, create habitat for countless other organisms, and form the base of a food chain that keeps our planet unique in the universe as we know it. Josie Iselin believes we can learn not only about the seaweeds, but also from them: their resilience, their resourcefulness, their poetry and magic.

Josie will join the California Native Plant Society to describe her path as an artist into the science of seaweed and share a few important seaweed stories from her newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed, highlighting why and how these foundational organisms succeed in their ocean niche. These stories also highlight pioneering, yet relatively unknown, women scientists who were crucial in bringing the world of seaweed to better understanding. Throughout the presentation, projections of Josie’s spectacular and colorful imagery of seaweeds—collected from her constant wanderings along our California coastline and beaches—will help explain the science and impart the wonder of this ocean universe.

About the Speaker

Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin is author of eight books that focus on those forms in nature we find at hand—in particular, at the beach. She holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. For over twenty years Josie has used her flatbed scanner and computer to generate imagery. She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects. Her writing and art focused on seaweeds, kelp, and sea otter put her on the forefront of ocean activism, collaborating with scientists and groups working to preserve the kelp forests of our Pacific Coast. As a fine artist, Josie exhibits large-scale prints at select galleries and museums, and she has designed a line of luxury scarves and shower curtains. She hopes that celebrating the ordinary wonders we find at the beach will bring thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery. Visit her website at josieiselin.com.


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