I am showcasing my shellwork with Sarah Bond, a landscape painter, who creates colourful, contemporary paintings inspired by the sea and renewable energy in her light, airy Archangel Studio in Cumnor Village, near Oxford.
The round mirrors measure 50cm diameter
The square heart pictures measure 27 x 27cm
Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss commissions.
My shell obsession began as a small child spending ever Summer beach-combing in the Isles of Scilly. We found cowries, wentletraps, tower shells, mussels, periwinkles, topshells, whelks, cockles, mini urchins, scallops, ammonites, sting winkles, spiral shells and of course limpets. They are such beautiful forms created by nature, some look so fragile, yet are very strong.
I started my Shellwork from home during Lockdown. I yearned for the seaside and I longed to walk along beaches seeing what treasures could be found.
Shelling is a slow, mediative process which involves sticking each shell in place in either a seemingly random or orderly pattern. You need a time and patience, which Lockdown certainly gave me. Working out which size or sort of shell matches each other requires careful attention to detail to maximise the intricate beauty of nature’s legacy from sea and shore.
Many people ask me where I get my shells from:
• My godmother gave me her inherited collection of shells
• I buy them in antique shops
• Friends pass on their cockles, mussels and scallop shells which I rigorously clean
• All the shells are ‘ethically sourced’. They are collateral damage from the fishing industry, fishing nets are not exclusive to the prey they are trying to catch and other species are captured accidentally.
• Harvesting empty shells on the shore.
• The sea urchins come from Japan where they are considered a delicacy and their shells are then sold online
• Starfish are not a threatened species. They are extremely prolific breeders, with females of some species producing millions of eggs. The starfish I use are common, commercial-grade shell. Communities in developing countries have harvested seashells and urchins for food for centuries
• Starfish symbolize regeneration, renewal, and self-sustainability