Sea Plastic Art

Turning an ugly situation into something beautiful

According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into our world’s oceans every year. Some of that rubbish ends up on our coastlines and in the bellies of marine life. In a seemingly futile attempt to fight this plastic plague I began picking up the pieces. Instead of throwing them away, I turned the plastic into art. I use ocean life as my muse in an attempt to spread awareness about plastic pollution.

Sea Horse

$150

10×12

Whale Shark

$300

14×18

Orcaward Truth

$300

14×18

Waterbottlenose dolphins

Sold

8×10

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a

sold

8×10

Octopus

Sold

8×10

Tiger Shark

sold

8×10

Ray of Hope

sold

8×10

Sea Turtle

SOLD

8×10

Plastic Pollution: Sea Turtles

Humpback Whale

SOLD

8×10

Grey Shark

Sold

10×12

Grey Whale in Kelp

$300

14×18

Turtallay Trashy

sold

14×18

purchase

If you want to purchase a mosaic please email the address below. Payment will be through Venmo or PayPal. Shipping is included.


I’m so impressed! Absolutely beautiful work and I love the idea of turning the “garbage patch” that washed up here into positive images 🙂

Verena Schindler


Picking up the pieces


blog about plastic pollution



  • Plastic Pollution: Sea Turtles

    My inspiration for making mosiacs out of plastics from the beach stem from the stories I hear about marine life being affected by trash. It is my hope to spread awareness through my plastic images and inspire people to do their part. So for this blog post I use my sea turtle as my muse. To share how sea turtles are affected by plastic pollution.

    Turtally tragic

    When people think of sea turtles and trash, the first thing that comes to mind is that video of a poor sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nose. The video is hard to watch as scientists take ten minutes to remove the embedded straw. But it appealed to people’s sensitive nature and promoted awareness about the use of single use plastics such as straws. Now in some places you receive paper straws that dissolve instead of plastic straws.

    Another non biodegradable item that sea turtles have issues with are plastic bags. According to the US EPA, Americans use about 380 billion plastic bags and wraps a year. When plastic bags end up in the ocean they have the potential to end up in marine life’s stomachs. The sea turtle especially is a main target as it mistakes plastic bags for jellyfish, which can be the source for some sea turtle’s diets.

    I don’t want to flood this blog post with photos of sea turtles being harmed by plastic. As it is hard enough to see in the first place. I want to create a space of awareness and share my photos of sea turtles I have yet to see harmed by plastic. To inspire and show that there is hope. You can still help these voiceless creatures by doing your part. Start by using reusable bags every time you go to the store. They are hard to remember but keep them in your car or by the door as you head out. Also if you haven’t already, start saying no to plastic straws. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

    Every bit of awareness helps which is why I continue to pick up tiny plastic pieces on the beach. It seems futile yet I feel I have to do something. Especially knowing that micro plastics are now the biggest threat to young sea turtles.

    When sea turtle hatchlings make it out to the open ocean they are opportunistic feeders. Meaning they aren’t picky about what they find for food. Unfortunately for these tiny turtles, a lot of what they are finding and eating is broken down plastics. While reading an article by Katie Brown, graduate student with Science Communication Program at UCSC, I came across a startling research study about baby sea turtles and these broken down plastics. A team of researches from the University of Georgia used a rescue project to see what turtles had been ingesting. Out of the 100 hatchlings washed up off the coast of Florida, they found that all had plastics in their bellies. Half of the turtles that were released back into the wild had passed plastics. When these researchers tried rehabilitating the remaining turtles, half of them died. Due to them ingesting micro plastics and having complications with blockages and storing nutrition.

    what can you do

    These are tragic truths we face about the problem with plastics. Yet they must be addressed so we can fix the problem. I sometimes feel helpless when reading about it but I use that emotion and turn it into motivation. So how can you use your motivation to help against plastic pollution? First and foremost, always try and reduce your use of single use plastics. Join beach clean ups and community events advocating conservation for our oceans. Don’t let the long fight ahead get you down. Try to pick up the pieces and have fun with it!

  • Plastic Pollution: Killer Whales

    My inspiration for making mosaics out of plastic from the beach stem from the stories I hear about marine life being affected by trash. It is my hope to spread awareness through my plastic images and inspire people to do their part. So for this blog post I use my orca mosaic as my muse. To share how killer whales are affected by plastic pollution.

    Orcaward truth

    It didn’t take me long to find a story about a killer whale dying from trash. I came across an article by Alexander Harrow, Orca Found Dead with a Stomach Full of Garbage. In December of 2015 off the coast of South Africa a killer whale beached itself after a week of wandering around the shallows in solitude. After a necropsy was performed the animal was found with no real food but trash in its stomach. It is uncertain if the orca was sick prior to ingesting the garbage and if the trash was either a cause or effect to the death.

    While looking for stories about killer whales dying of plastic, unfortunately I expected to find the common mortality from the animal ingesting trash. What I didn’t expect to come across was the threat of Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s. Now this is an organic compound commonly used in paints and coolants that was banned in the 1980’s. Yet it still remains in the ocean and can be found in high concentration levels in the fat and tissues of killer whales. PCB leads to complications like damaging immune systems and reproductive systems. According to the article Half the World’s Orcas Could Soon Disappear—Here’s Why by Craig Welch with National Geographic, “Some killer whales now carry 25 times more PCBs than amounts shown to alter fertility. Mothers even pass the pollutants along during birth or through breast milk.”

    So how does the threat of an organic compound like PCB correlate to plastic? It is my understanding that plastic is a transporter of harmful persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as Polychlorinated biphenyls. According to The Great Nurdle Hunt, “Plastics are known to attract and concentrate chemical contaminants in the sea to their surface. Long lasting harmful chemicals, such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), have been found on plastic at over 1 million times background levels. Plastic can then transport and becone a potential source of toxic chemicals”.

    The killer whales most affected by PCB’s reside in the Northern hemisphere. This being the only region I’ve ever seen wild orcas on three different occasions. Once in The San Juan Islands, where we encountered the L pod pictured below. And twice off San Miguel Island. The encounter made me so emotional a crew member caught me crying with tears of excitement while sporting my killer whale tattoo. Killer Whales are such beautiful creatures and they inspire much of my art. So how can we help them fight the plastic plague?

    Photo taken by Briana Smith

    What can you do

    When I’m picking up plastic off the beach sometimes I feel it a daunting task due to the amount of rubbish. But I continue to pick up the pieces and turn the ugly situation to something beautiful. There’s a phrase called “take three for the sea”. Anytime your walking along the beach pick up three pieces of trash (or be an over achiever and get more!) You can also have fun with it and join community cleanups.

    I feel the most important part would be to reduce your use of single use plastic. If you haven’t gotten a reusable water bottle, get one! No more plastic utensils or straws. Recycle what you can, and try to encourage and inspire others to do the same.