Washed Ashore: Art from Plastic to Save the Sea

Earlier this year in Bandon, Oregon I discovered Washed Ashore. They make art from plastic to educate the public about how much of it ends up in the sea. I saw their brightly colored life-sized plastic sculpture known locally as Henry the Fish. Henry is made of pieces of plastic that have washed up on the beach. I find this idea of making art from plastic very creative, but it also saddens me.

The reality it makes clear is one of oceans filled with human garbage. Their studio in Bandon was closed for the day, but I caught a glimpse of numerous large plastic sculptures through their front window. This organization is about more than just art. Art from plastic asks us to consider the harm we do to life in the oceans with our plastic-consuming lifestyles.

Henry the fish sculpture is an example of art from plastic

Art from Plastic to Save the Sea

Does this artwork makes a difference? I was pleased to discover that since the launch of Washed Ashore in  2010, over 10,000 volunteers have cleaned 300 miles of beaches. They have collected and processed 38,000 pounds of marine debris. 90% of the debris they collect is petroleum based. Washed Ashore has used 95% of this debris in their artworks.

Washed Ashores’ large and colorful art from plastic sculptures have gained national attention exhibiting at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, the National Museum of Natural History, and have been highlighted by many other organizations:

They have been covered by local news stations and public zoos across the country. This video highlights some of these beautiful sculptures calling attention to the trash in our oceans.

Meet the Washed Ashore Ocean Ambassadors

These unique giant sculptures represent the sea life affected by plastic pollution. Some have names like Sebastian James the Puffin, Lidia the Seal, Octavia the Octopus, and Flash the Marlin. They educate about sea creatures such as Tufted Puffins, Sea Turtles, Seals, Octopus, and Blue Marlin – affected by human pollution. They are part of a national traveling exhibition that encourages reducing, refusing, reusing, re-purposing and recycling. Here is just one out of many such Ocean Ambassadors:

Octavia the Octopus                   Octavio the Octopus is an example of art from plastic

“Although they live an average of just four years, Giant Pacific Octopuses can grow over 20 feet in length. The octopus is one of the most intelligent species in the ocean. It has the ability to problem solve, use tools and communicate by changing colors. In order to keep these incredible creatures healthy, we need to keep their environment clean. Octavia the Octopus is made of marine debris items collected from beaches by volunteers including”  <view original>

  • disposable lighters
  • buoys
  • plastic chair
  • bottle caps
  • dog leash
  • beach toys
  • plastic cooler
  • plastic goose decoy

Washed Ashore

Washed Ashore is the brainchild of Oregon artist, Angela Haseltine Pozzi. Are you inspired by Washed Ashores’ creative efforts to save our environment? Consider hosting an exhibit in your area, making a donation, or even becoming a volunteer. Pozzi hopes museums everywhere will invite Washed Ashore to their shores… or will simply copy her idea, which wouldn’t hurt her feelings one bit.

Sam Bailey

Author: Sam Bailey

Sam Bailey is a web designer and freelance writer passionate about furthering the inclusive paradigm of Inter-spirituality to build bridges of understanding and co-create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world that works for all people. With a background in nutrition and the natural healing arts, Sam also enjoys contributing as a guest blogger at Hundredgivers, exploring issues of sustainability, social, racial and economic justice, as well how to live a healthy, beneficial life that is regenerative of the world we live in.


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