Friday, May 30, 2008

Shell Art

by Crystal of Vintage by Crystal

She sells seashells by the seashore…

Memorial Day has come and gone, and we’re all getting ready for summer. Even though there aren’t many major holidays coming up, that doesn’t mean we can’t be festive and seasonal when it comes to decorating our homes. We all try to bring a little bit of the outdoors in when those warm breezes come knocking. Natural displays of seashells and sand combined with intricate shell encrusted functional art create a beachy, but beautiful setting for the summer.

I’ve been making shell art for the last several years and while I take a hiatus from it during the cold months, things have been warming up around here and I’ll be pulling my boxes and bowls full of shells out of storage and onto my coffee table. I’ve spent the snowy season browsing thrift stores and flea markets to collect vintage wooden frames, mirrors, boxes and other interesting things that are in dire need of a creative treatment. Add some glue, creative forethought and nimble fingers and voila! Beautiful pieces are functional shell art, ready to inspire the beachcomber in everyone.

Shell art is actually a centuries old art form that varies depending on the culture and time period it comes from. My favorite style is Victorian shell art, when sailors would bring home to their girlfriends and wives intricate seashell Valentine’s bought from the island women they came across in their travels. None of the shells in the frames, boxes and other items they made were randomly placed. Instead, each design was intentional and precise and it certainly showed!

Much of the modern shell art you see today is reminiscent of that elaborate Victorian style, from cheap dollar store boxes to delicate handmade chandeliers. The natural shades of color seashells typically have lend to a soothing palette that makes for a calm and relaxing environment, perfect for long summer days. And best of all, most shell art is functional! Swap out harsh metal photo frames for a comforting shell encrusted one. Store summer keepsakes in a shell box or have a candlelit al fresco dinner complete with shell covered candlesticks. And of course you mustn’t forget to scatter some loose shells here and there to complete the summertime feeling!

In my house the shells are lined up, the adhesive is coming out, and I can’t wait to get started decorating and creating with these wonderful natural treasures!

To order your own original shell art piece, visit my website.

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