Mermaid Fun Lab

Jelena Kivinen, Annika Gustafson

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  • Summary

    Art meets science in this series of workshops to explore the wonders of chemistry! We will be making biodegradable plastic from starch, conduct cool color-changing experiments with natural indicators and examine marine micro-organisms!

    Full description of yer concept

    A series of workshops where science meets art. Even if science (or art) is not your thing, these workshops are meant to make science accessible and easy to understand for everyone. In the end we will hold a science seminar / art exhibition. If the full budget is reached, we can have all the workshops. The minimum budget of six grants will ensure one workshop.


    In this workshop we will be making biodegradable plastic shapes by polymerizing corn starch. We will make crafts like necklaces or key chains with the bioplastic shape as a pendant and beads of different materials. The bioplastic will disintegrate over time and it can be put into the compost in the end. The rest of the craft will be left as a memory of the bioplastic that has served its due.

    The goal of this workshop is to make people think about materials, what is durable and what isn't, and why it is sometimes good that material doesn't last long.


    In this workshop we will examine natural indicators of acidity / basicity. The participants will be divided into four groups, each of which will get one indicator: red cabbage, lingonberries, blueberries or tea. These will be used to mix with different acidic, basic and neutral substances. When the "official part" of the workshop is over, the participants are encouraged to experiment with other substances and / or paint inspired by the beautiful colors they saw.

    The goal of this workshop is to show that chemistry is everywhere and you don't need any harmful substances to see beautiful chemical reactions. Nature holds the answer to a lot of our questions.


    This workshop will be conducted in cooperation with The Fieldtrippers. We will get a live sample of sea water and examine it with a microscope. We could make art inspired by the microscopic sea creatures. In the end we'll release our microbes back to the sea.

    The goal of this workshop is to make people understand how much life there is in the sea and why the sea needs to be protected.

    About the crew / artist

    Jelena is a freshly graduated chemistry teacher. Annika is a burner parent who likes nature and dogs.

    How can other Borderlings co-create with you?

    We would be very grateful if we could borrow some equipment and get donations of materials! If you happen to have some of this stuff lying around, it would be really helpful if we could use it!

    What we need:
    Camp stoves like trangias (just for the few hours of the workshops, we promise to wash them well before you need them for cooking)
    Small cookie cutters (any shape)
    Watercolor paper
    Paintbrushes for painting with watercolors
    Food coloring: red, blue, yellow
    Clothes pegs for hanging art

    What is this?

    Hey friend! Welcome to the virtual drawing board of The Borderland. This is the place where we prototype the projects we'll realise during the week in the quarry.

    Dream crew



    • Do you need electricity from the grid? How much in Watts? Maybe, 20-40 watts.

    • Will there be light? If we keep the art exhibition going on to the night, we'll use some lights, at least so no one bumps on it :)

    • Will anything BURN? We will be using camp stoves or bunsen burners to polymerize starch and extract natural indicators from plants. I will have a fire blanket handy.

    • What is your audio footprint? None.

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