Kate and Molly met in high school, in 1989, and became fast friends, even attending college together on the idyllic east end of Long Island. While Kate studied marine biology, Molly honed her skills as a graphic designer. The friends were ultimately separated by 6,000 miles—Kate moving on to study sea life on the reefs in Hawaii; Molly keeping a faster pace in New York City. Meanwhile, Peter was already hard at work in Honolulu identifying, categorizing, and naming the hundreds of sea plants of the Hawaiian Archipelago. When Kate moved to Hawaii, she befriended Peter and his burgeoning collection.

A few years later, Kate moved back east and found Molly. Anxious to collaborate on a creative project, the two dreamed of creating crisp, modern textile patterns, and Kate thought of Peter and his collection. Peter looked into his files and his microscope and sent Molly and Kate beautiful, otherworldly images from the depths and the shallows of the warm oceans. These little plants are the inspiration for nettle+fin’s first textile line.

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SCIENCE+DESIGN UNITE


 

 

 

Dr. Peter Vroom has been collecting the sea plants that make up his marine herbarium collection for more than 25 years. He now has more than 600 plants in his personal herbarium at his home in San Diego. 

 

 

 

 

Collecting and preserving the plants is the easy part. Identifying and distinguishing a plant from its look-a-likes often requires tedious work under the microscope or even molecular analysis of the plantís DNA. 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly takes the images from the camera or microscope lens, and works her magic in the design studio, transforming the raw image into a beautiful textile design. 

 

 

 

 

Peter has collected plants all over the world, but he didnít collect the sample that inspired our Sargassum design. That one was precariously plucked from a canal in Venice, Italy by his slightly taller partner, Trent, while Peter held him by his ankles. 

 

 

 

Kate and Peter worked together in Hawaii for several years, during which time they conducted many research dives together, and Peter completed his Ph.D dissertation on Halimeda, a plant which is closely related to the inspiration for our Codium pattern. Kateís masterís thesis involved a plant called Ulva lactic whose uninspiring form is not represented in our current textile collection. 

 

 

 

 

Peter and Trent traveled to Indonesia in 2013 to visit Kate, and the three scanned the reefs, beaches, mountains, rice paddies and streets of Bali to collect the inspiration for our new Bambusa and Caulerpa designs, and several more to come!