Tag Archive | shells

Magical Masks and Wands

I have made several masks and wands to be used as accessories to my wearable art garments, here are a few:

Moonlit Sea was made for a vest called Chandos Summer Storm. The base is pieced from left over fabrics that were used on the vest. The mask is embellished with shisha mirrors, beads, charms, old earrings, carved bone and shell pieces and ribbon.

Madame Butterfly mask was made for my Madame Butterfly jacket. The base is pieced and machine stitched with metallic threads. It is embellished with with fabric yo-yos, shisha mirrors, beads, charms, old earrings, carved bone and shell pieces and ribbon. The base is a piece of drift wood that I spray painted.

Kalahari Spirit Dancer was made for an ensemble with the same name. I pieced fabric onto cardboard, then glued shisha mirrors and strands of glue to cover the raw edges. I applied gold leaf to the glue just as it was drying. I have added all sorts of charms and talismans, and given the piece it’s own spirit.

Polgara’s Mask was made with an old root that I found, that resembled a mask. I added in another piece of wood for the handle. I added in a vintage pheasant feather piece that was attached to an old hat. The piece also has ribbonwork flowers, vintage millinery glass pods, velvet ribbon, a tassel and a jade leaf complete the piece.
White Shell Woman was made for one of my first wearable garments. The base is a piece of driftwood that I sanded and sprayed with shellac. Bits of gathered pieces from nature include coral spines, dried pods, shells, and driftwood. Beads, bells and ribbon complete the design.

Enjoy~ Christen

Friday’s Favorites: shell adornments

shell adornments

shell adornments

I think that it is fair to say that shells have been used as a status symbol in personal adornment throughout the centuries. Shells were used whole or a portion of the shell and attached to clothing; strung as necklaces or bracelets for jewelry; or even used in headdresses or hair ornaments. Shells were especially prized in cultures that traded for these precious items such as middle eastern cultures where the vintage mother of pearl button and the inlaid shell with sterling silver came from.

vintage shell necklaces

vintage shell necklaces

These two necklaces were made during the Victorian England era where shells were used extensively for adornment and household items, see Friday’s Favorites Mother of Pearl part 1 for more information. These are made from small snail shells that have a single hole drilled through shell in order to string them into a necklace. The earrings are made from shells that are glued to a metal base.

vintage shell earrings

vintage shell earrings

This is a sampling of the types of earrings that were made as souvenirs for the tourist trade during the 1940’s through the 1970’s. I especially love the parrots which are made entirely from shells except for the rhinestones glued around the collar.

vintage greeting cards with small shells

vintage greeting cards with small shells

Shells were also used for adornment by sailors who decorated small boxes or picture frames for their sweethearts back home, long before they became an established item for the tourist trade. These vintage greeting cards are painted with water-color then decorated with small shells.

vintage shell jewelry

vintage shell jewelry

This unusual group of jewelry is made from a combination of shells and garfish (a flat fish that dried hard and could be painted). In the first pair of earrings the fish have been painted white and adorned with rhinestones. The pin and earring have combined painted shells for flowers and garfish that are painted green to resemble the leaves.

shell purses

shell purses

These small coin purses are made from a variety of shells. The Mother of Pearl coin purse is the oldest, probably 1940’s or so, where as the scallop and cowrie shell ones are newer. These items are usually found at a sea port shop or shell store.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy- Christen

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures-by Christen Brown

Tide Pools Natures Treasures

Tide Pools Nature's Treasures

This is my entry for the Shell Challenge sponsored by Rosie and Linda’s Awfully Big Art Adventure. There are quite a few entries this time, and worth a peek when you get a chance.

The theme was to create anything with shells, and being a native of Southern CA., a shell lover from early child hood, and an avid collector I had really had a wonderful time creating the project.

beach sand

beach sand

I started my project with birch bark collected many years ago from our cabin outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada. This I used for the sand, and the inside of the bowls.

I then crumpled up pieces of cotton paper to create the waves, and rocks. I stitched these together with cotton and rayon threads on my sewing machine. I placed this on an old wooden tray, that had seen better days.

tide pool bowls

tide pool bowls

The next step was to create the actual tide pool rock formations that capture the sea life and shells.

I started with Timtex and more cotton paper. I cut round shapes in three different sizes. I layered cotton paper over these, and cut out round pieces of birch bark for the center of the bowls.

I stitched the layers together on the sewing machine. I then cut darts into the circles, and over lapped these to form the bowl shape. The last step was to cut the edges of each bowl and then machine stitch over these edges.

shells, sea life and kelp

shells, sea life and kelp

I had an abundance of real shells that I had collected over the many years of beach combing. I had a great time selecting which of these would be included into my beach scene.

I also had some old celluloid buttons that were somewhat grungy, but the colors matched and the patterning looked like sea urchins to me, these are interspersed amongst the bowls.

I thought that it would be cool to include shells and sea life that I had made from ribbons, crochet and embroidery. I started to play and this is what I came up with:

  • A crochet length of kelp with cord and pearl cotton, and grape shells at each leaf (these have a florist wire glued in the center to attach to the kelp)
  • Crochet and embroidered snail shells
  • Embroidered sea urchins, sea anemones and limpet shells
  • Embroidered and gathered ribbon coral
  • Ric-rac coral and star fish
  • Plumes of something made from rayon cord (I am not sure what these are but I liked them)
close-up view of three sizes of bowls

close-up view of three sizes of bowls

Happy beach combing and treasure hunting, enjoy- Christen!