Highlands & Islands

Healthy and diseased marine algae inspire new designs

algal host-pathogen Image copyright SAMS
Image caption Image taken from a microscope under UV light of healthy algae, shown in red, and a green spore of an infectious disease

Algae have inspired the designs of a Scottish-based textiles producer.

Oban-based Crùbag uses images of healthy and infected algae that have been photographed by scientists with the use of microscope technology.

The business's designer, Jessica Giannotti, has a background in marine science.

Crùbag also works with Dr Claire Gachon, an expert in seaweed at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS).

The French scientist's research includes studies of green and brown algae and the diseases that affect them.

Image copyright SAMS
Image caption Green and brown algae found on Scotland's coasts have influenced Crùbag's designs

Crùbag and SAMS are both based at the Scottish Marine Institute in Oban, and a portion of Crùbag's sales goes towards scientific research.

Ms Giannotti said microscopy images taken under UV light helped to reveal colours and patterns of healthy algal cells, and the spores of infections attacking the tiny plant life.

Brown and green algae found on Scotland's coasts have been used to help guide Crùbag's designs.

Image copyright Crùbag/Gilberto Martinez
Image caption Crùbag's marine life-inspired products include scarves and cushions
Image copyright Crùbag/Gilberto Martinez

The business in Argyll was one of nine designer-makers from the Highlands and Islands to exhibit products at the fashion design event, Craft at Top Drawer, earlier this week.

They were brought to the London trade show by Emergents. The Inverness-based community interest company promotes crafts, design, fashion and new writing and publishing in the Highlands and Islands.

Also exhibiting at the trade show was Netty Sopata, of Lewis-based Diggory Brown.

Image copyright Diggory Brown
Image caption Diggory Brown's Harris Tweed designs
Image copyright Diggory Brown

It has been working with Harris Tweed maker, Uist Wool, in North Uist, to create garments that use batches of undyed wool that is usually a by-product of tweed production.

The project was one of five to receive funding from Zero Waste Scotland last year.

The other Emergents' exhibitors were jewellery designers and makers Gilly Langton, from Plockton, and Eileen Gatt, from Munlochy, also Carloway-based fashion accessories designer Rarebird and Highlands textiles businesses Rae Anne and Emma Nobel Textiles and Westray-based textiles designer Hume Sweet Hume.

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