Marine debris recycled into artwork

Eight Washed Ashore sea life sculptures made entirely of marine debris were selected for display Sept. 15-16 at the Our Ocean Conference at the State Department in Washington D.C.

The sculptures were created by the non-profit Washed Ashore, which has been creating and exhibiting powerful artwork of sea life made from marine debris for the past six years to educate the public about effects of ocean pollution and to spark changes in consumer habits. Their work was most recently shown at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Georgia Aquarium and at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where a 12-foot long display case informs visitors in Sant Ocean Hall of the effects of plastics on the ocean.

A 16-foot-long parrot fish named Priscilla and a 10-foot-long shark named Chompers will were to greet attendees at our Ocean Conference as they entered the State Department.

Inside, visitors to the conference will walk under a 12-footlong whale bone ribcage made from beached white bleach bottles and twirl a 10-foot-tall sea jelly made of plastic water bottles.

The creations were made to be interactive as well as highly informative with familiar plastic debris of all kinds visible on each sculpture.

Each creation represents an animal that is threatened by the constant flow of plastics into the ocean. The sculpted animals, in many cases, make direct eye contact with viewers, begging to be remembered.


Washed Ashore is currently finishing an innovative integrated Arts Marine Debris Curriculum, made possible by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Washed Ashore is an environmental education project that uses art to raise awareness to the tragedy of plastic pollution in our oceans though community involvement.