Saturday, April 28, 2012

Made with Shells

     Shells are magical.  Do you think our Creator designed the shell with a sense of humor?  Their funny yet beautiful objects.  A shell can be hard as a rock or as delicate as an egg shell. Decorative or plain, nubby or smooth.  Sometimes a mobile home, sometimes secured firmly to an ocean foundation.  All this to protect it's delicate inhabitants.  But once discarded (whether willing or unwilling) the empty shell can become an artist's tool of unimaginable beauty.
What Little Mermaid could resist a crown of shells and coral.

Or for us land lovers, a vintage style crown fashioned from shells, fabric, beads and paper.

If we are going to wear a crown, why not a mermaid pendant.

Come from the sea,
Maiden, to me,
Rise from the wild and stormy main:
Wake from thy sleep,
Calm in the deep,
Over thy green waves sport again!  
James Hogg

     I have always had a passion for shells.  When I was four, my parents moved the family from the dry, hot and dusty badlands of Bakersfield, California to the lovely and quaint coastal town of Shell Beach.  It was then and there my love affair with shells began.  With a beach just a short walk from our home, searching for shells was just another form of childhood entertainment and something I still love to do.
We lived on Palomar Street in Shell Beach, California, a few doors down from the inn.

This was our home for 3 years, minus the white picket fence.
      Another favorite childhood pass-time was to go to the shell shop.  These shops had exotic shells, sand dollars and coral from far flung places and also off of shores very close to where we lived.  A trip to the shell shop, especially in Morro Bay, was and still is a treat.  Not only can you find exotic shells, there are also things made with shells ... jewelry boxes, frames, lamps, earrings, necklaces .... you name it!

My sister, Cindy at the shell shop in Morro Bay
The Shell Shop in Morro Bay - isn't the sign wonderful?

I bought this vintage shell frame with a print of the Madonna and Child at an antique store in Cayucos.....
and this one at the same store.  Dated from the early 1900's.
This shell charmer is adorned with a hand painted ship on a single shell.  Thought to be dated from the 19th century.

Vintage brooches made from tiny, colorful shells...
and a lovely vintage mirror with abalone shells.

This chandelier is encrusted with shells.

Who can resist a heart shape

or a circle, the symbol of infinity. 

Vintage bottles with shell stoppers.
A sideboard covered with shells (now that took a lot of work).
Here is one of my creations.  Last year on a trip to Oahu, my husband bought me a Sunrise Shell.  I added some Swarovski crystal beads and a single pearl.

In a Sunrise Shell obsession, I pulled out my watercolors and tried to paint's my avatar for this blog.  

Did you know my nickname is "Shelly".  My real name is "Rochelle" which means "little rock" in French.  You might say I have lived up to my names with my love of shells and France.

Song of a Shell

I held a sea shell to my ear,
  And listened to its tale
Of vessels bounding o'er the main
  And all the ships that sail.
It sang of brilliant water flowers—
  The bright anemones
That bloom beneath the ocean waves—
  Tossed in from seven seas.

Each time I harken to this song,
  I hear the breakers moan,
And fancy that a warning bell
  Rings from a lighthouse lone.
No longer need I wish to go
  Where foam-capped billows swell,
For I've an ocean of my own
  Withing this pearly shell.

Violet L. Cuslidge

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