Shell Dragon in Colored Pencil
Jack Of All Trades
News for April
Working With Gold Leaf (Or, Wombats Don't Poop Gold)
The Secret Obsession of an Apathetic Crafterby Lorna Cowie
I love shells. I do! I love the very tiny ones (especially if they are joined so they look like a butterfly), I love the big ones that smell lightly fishy no matter how many times I clean them (my cat adores those) and I love the swirly ones that usually come with a glob of something in them. Okay, you can see where this is going.
Ever since my parents used to take me to the coast (Kent, UK) I have been obsessed with shells. When I was younger I used to beg and plead for either some glue to stick them together into a weird shape or for some responsible adult to drill a tiny hole in so I could string them on a length of garden string.
I don't know why I have this obsession, though I am sure a psychiatrist could tell you that I am wishing to go back to my youth of lazy semi-hot summers on a crowded beach that smelt of sewage whilst I picked shells out of the sand, but I also collect pebbles too!
The shells go through the same process my pebbles do. I gather them like a squirrel harvesting for nuts, I bring them home in plastic bags and throw them into a bucket outside, I leave them for about a month to try and magically clean them off through the power of fairies. I remember I didn't PAY the fairies so I have to clean them myself. I fill said bucket of water (it makes my day if it has rained recently) and with a squirt of bleach I set to scrubbing.
Several hours later my arm aches, I am wet, I am grouchy, I usually smell slightly of fishy bleach but upon there floor is a lovely gleaming pile of gunk-free shells. Joy! The things I could do with them! I could drill tiny holes (being that I am apparently a responsible adult and can use tools like that now) and string them on a stick to make a rustic wind chime! I could hot glue (again, adult) them to a piece of painted cardboard and make a lovely picture made of shells.
Oh I could stick lots of them together and make a really really weird paperweight, or I could mosaic with them, turn them into jewellery that I could sell at a crafty market (though that would involve buying all the things you need to MAKE jewellery), and so on.
Yes! I have shells! Clean and shiny and pretty. I set to making them dry. Airing cupboard, radiators on a towel or two, kitchen paper even works (though more effort) and after a few days (and several of them involving the mutterings of my better half about shells on radiators and 'what's that smell?') I have pretty dried shells.
Now, pretty dried shells are like pretty dried pebbles. Bland and not shiny. Suddenly the magpie in me emerges and I know that a shell plus varnish equals a shiny thing. So after putting down newspaper I set to varnishing the pretty shells. Clear nail varnish works as well, by the way, but I would use tonnes of it so I gave up and bought some clear varnish from the craft store.
Once varnished and once more laying in lines like shell soldiers I am rather chuffed. They look beautiful, like pastel jewels from a mermaid king. I am extremely happy and cannot wait to use them! When they are dried I carefully put them into a tissue lined shoebox and… Well… I do nothing with them. Not. One. Thing.
The box gets its lid and gets put to the side of the sofa (my 'to-do' pile of things goes there), then it gets moved upstairs into my work room. Then it gets placed on a bookcase and after that it finds its final home in the attic or in the shed to live out the rest of its life.
But the good thing is I still have a bucket of pebbles outside waiting to be cleaned. Stupid fairies. Why don't they take cheques?
All graphics on these pages are under copyright. Webpage design copyrighted by Ellen Million Graphics. All content copyrighted by the creating artist. If you find anything which is not working properly, please let me know!
EMG powered by: a few minions and lots of enchanted search frogs