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Bog Cotton Art

This is a photo of bog cotton.

It’s a very well-named plant as it grows in boggy, peaty conditions and really does look like blobs of cotton wool hanging on stems. The fine white hairs are attached to the plant’s seeds and when the wind is strong enough they are blown into the sky and off to new parts of the bog- nature’s clever way of spreading the seeds around.

Over the years the fluffy seed heads have been put to good use by humans- they’ve been used as pillow stuffing and even as bandages during the First 

World War !


In Shetland, bog cotton is called Lukkaminnie’s Oo, which means Granny’s Wool.

Composer David Ward uses this as the title for his bog cotton music.

Listen out for:


  • Low creeping notes at the start describing the murky peat bog

  • A fast middle section when the wind whips up and blows the bog cotton around!

  • A return of the the calm, creeping bog music


Lukkaminnie's Oo David Ward
00:00 / 02:28

Step 1

Gather some containers together and give them a rinse to get rid of any old food.

Can you make a picture inspired by the music? You can use anything you like, but you might like to try experimenting with soil paints to capture some of the muddy sounds.


It’s super easy to do!


You will need:

Some containers- old yoghurt pots or jam jars are perfect

A stick or spoon 



A paintbrush 



Step 2

Go outside and use a stick or spoon to scrape up some soil, then pop it in one of your containers. Repeat this step in a few different places so you gather a collection of soils. See if you can find slightly different coloured soil types.

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Step 3

Add a little water to each of your pots and stir well until it's a good consistency for painting.

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Step 4

Get paper and a paintbrush and try out each colour to see how they compare. You might like to create a tester card of different colours- we had fun naming ours too!

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Step 5

Switch on the music below and get painting! 

Lukkaminnie's Oo David Ward
00:00 / 02:28
FUN FACT! Soil is a mixture of tiny particles of rock, dead plants and animals, air and water. Different soils have different colour and texture depending on what they’re made from. Peat doesn’t contain any rock particles as it’s formed from old decayed bog plants. This is why it looks so dark and crumbly.

Share with us

We'd love to see what you have created and share your

art with others! Send us a photo of your Bog Art

to feature in our  

One Plant, One Piece of Paper film.

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