Unless you grew up at the seashore or work in the sailing industry, you’ve probably never thought about what happens to marine rope once it’s no longer useful aboard a boat. Thankfully, there are artists like Sophie Aschauer who live to save these materials from the landfill and transform them into practical items that are as beautiful as they are mesmerizing. Aschauer started making floor mats out of recycled rope after a sailing trip to Nantucket in 2011.
Born in the crow’s nest of her NYC studio, each element in the SerpentSea collection is handwoven out of reclaimed rope that might otherwise have been discarded. Little known fact: marine rope is one of many types of waste that make up the majority of trash currently floating around in the ocean. Since it’s made out of nylon, this rope poses a serious threat to fish, seabirds, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, as well as coastal habitats.
Although nylon plastic’s inability to degrade makes it a threat to marine life, it’s actually a positive trait when creating a floor covering. Because the marine rope is extremely durable, Aschauer’s vibrant upcycled rugs can be used indoors or out, and they are easy to clean when soiled: simply spray off with a garden hose and allow to dry in the sun.
In addition to preserving the rope itself, Aschauer’s collection also helps preserve the lost art of knot tying: each mat utilizes one of four different seafaring knots referred to as “Bonny”, “Drake”, “Morgan” and “Killigrew,” in honor of four of the most infamous pirates from the 17th century.
Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast, beach lover, or upcycling fanatic, these colorful furnishings are sure to become the center of attention at both your coastal vacation home or urban dwelling. Available starting at $249 from the SerpentSea shop.