My Gallery of Seashell Art

It probably seems a little silly to put a gallery in the middle of my ‘how-to’ blog. But I had such a disappointing day yesterday. Following this entry I’ll post the next segment of my venture.

I really wanted to show my growth with seashell art. Along the way I have learned many little tricks and had many ‘aha!’ moments. After investing in the books I mentioned in the first post I was much better at creating flowers. I think my floral arrangements were my favorite and as you will see my imagination ran wild while creating my ‘masterpieces. The Sailor’s Valentine, to me, is like the  élite of shell art. Either you have the talent or you don’t, I guess. It could be that my floral bouquets is my personal niche in this art.

Also, if you are just beginning to work with shells, just have fun. The more you create, the more open your minds becomes. Don’t be afraid to try something.

(clicking on the picture will enlarge it.)

I found these shadow boxes at a department store. There were some for Mom, sisters, and friends. After completing this one, I received several commissions  for shadow boxes.

Here was an early flower wall hanging. My skills with flowers had improved and I really began to strive to create wall art. I sprinkled crushed shells over the background before ‘planting’ my flowers.

I also used crushed shells on this piece; I like the way it looks. By adding crushed iridescent shells the pattern appears lighter.

This piece is my granddaughter’s. She likes pink and purple. Further down you’ll see the other pieces I made for her. She loves all my seashell art which does my ego good. Of course she is only six.

After completing this piece I only had a beat up metal frame. Since the hanging was for me, it didn’t matter at that moment. I was just impressed with myself. Rather than show that ugly part, I cropped it out. I had a friend who loved it, crappy frame and all! I experimented with shellac on this one. Shellac seals in the color on dyed shells and brings all the colors to life.

My son asked me to do a special shadow box for his wife for Christmas. I decoupaged the pictures to the background, added a beaded, pearl necklace, then created the flower design.

This is another Mom shadow box. I tried to make sure each box I designed not only suited the recipient, they had to be completely different.

I had an old glass terrarium. The plants had long since died. I don’t have a green thumb but after looking at it, I decided to recycle the container. Using tumbled glass, semi-precious stones and shell flowers, I gave it a whole new look. The flowers on florist wire vining around the container and not just laying on the surface.

My mother has always loved red. She likes the shell arrangements so I designed this one for her.

As you can see, floral arrangements were becoming a passion.  I really enjoyed making these.

On the shell vase in this shadow box is a carved cameo. I wanted to dress up the vase. I also did one arrangement using beads to create a one of a kind vase. The ideas in this kind of application are really limitless.

Yes, this was one of those ‘too much time on my hands’! However, it spawned a whole new request for critters. I made them and added them to shipments, my grand-kids have some as well as other family members. I’m afraid there were moments when I got carried away. One day I didn’t have any shells painted green for frogs. But I still made a really cute frog on an island with a palm tree. My granddaughter looked at me and said ‘It’s not right.’ Yes, I’m guilty. I stopped and painted some shells!

Wood planks like this are easily purchased at a craft store. Sand, stain, and spray with a sealer. Oh and attached the hanger before adding shells. It seems I always forgot and it is a pain to do it later!

If you go to paint and wallpaper stores, you can ask for old swatch books. I had several (two or three books will  go a long way) that I used for backgrounds. I tried to stick to neutrals that would suit any decor.

This was my favorite. It’s also the first I tried at this size. The frame is a 10 x 13. With every success, my courage and ideas would grow.

These were little miniature arrangements. I had these surplus shells that were too big, awkward and just the wrong type for flowers. So I made them into vases. I used potpourri for both scent and color. Then I gave them away as gifts to my co-workers. They also generated some commissions and started me thinking a new type of design.

Another wall-hanging using a carved cameo as an enhancement on the vase. My color coördination was improving as well as being able to create more and better flowers.

Many of these flowers used gar scales. I like the look and versatility of the gar scale but they are wickedly sharp. I have began experimenting with design. In earlier pieces, the flowers lay flat. Here they are clustered more like a real floral bouquet.

I had this large, lion’s paw clam shell. It came in a variety bag and was a little beat up. I balanced a larger vole shell on the interior then filled with shell flowers.

The arrangement on the left uses a chocolate clam shell and a tonna tessalata for the vase. The flowers were mainly pink and purple.

The arrangement on the right uses two deep scallops the form the vase. I attached planaxis to form feet then glued the vase to a tiger clam shell. I chose yellow and purple for this color scheme.

Both look like springtime.

This is another view of the above left arrangement.

This vase is a large black murex. I wanted to do more than just make a floral bouquet. Instead I tried to be extravagant using different greenery to enhance the flowers.

For a table decoration, I bought small wreaths from Hobby Lobby. I put small candles in the center then decorated them. I didn’t take pictures but I also decorated wreaths with shells to hang on Christmas trees.

I had fun with this and the next one.  It was an earlier piece before I learned the art of flower making. I did, however, strive for consistent design and shell use.

I wanted to be totally created with this piece and use little shells that couldn’t be used on anything else. I couldn’t look at it, though, without thinking of corn!

I have had so much fun with shells. Pieces like this won’t ever be purchased, but it’s OK. I needed to go through a learning process and this was just another lesson.

I found these clocks at a store. I didn’t want to spend a great deal of money of really good valentine boxes until I learned more about making them. Of the eight or ten I made using the clock frames, this is the only picture I have. The center of this is a handmade copper seahorse. I used artificial greenery for his seaweed.

It may be hard to see, but the flowers in this wall hanging stand out. I had also started experimenting with my own dyes to create just the color I wanted.

I call this Easter because the colors look like Easter and springtime.

I have to admit this is my favorite wall hanging. Oh wait. Haven’t I said that before? Oh well. Must be I am satisfied with the finished product of some of my creations. Here also, the flowers are coming out of the vase.

The next several pictures are different angles of earlier pictures. Each are floral arrangements.

The melon shell I used for this vase I think is a favorite shell. It is beautiful. I attached it to a glass candle plate.

These items were ‘fun’ art. They were made for my granddaughter who loves flowers and butterflies. The coat hooks had round wooden planks attached. Both the hooks and larger plank came from Wal-Mart. I used pipe cleaner to make the butterfly body and I tried to be as colorful as possible with it. The purple sunflowers only used two types of shells. The very centers are mustard seeds.

Some of my long stem arrangements. I got so carried away after discovering this way to create flowers that my husband said our looked like a funeral parlor! I think nursery is a better word.

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About leggygillin

I make Sailor's Valentines, Seashell flower arrangements and other shell art. Blogging about them helps me improve the quality of my work. By looking at my progress through images, I'm able to view the pieces differently. I think also it helps others who may be wanting to learn. Not that I am a teacher, by any means. I'm still learning, growing, and developing my art with each post.
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4 Responses to My Gallery of Seashell Art

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I love them all!

  2. Marlene Wadsworth says:

    Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations of making shell art. Your flowers are lovely.

    Thanks, MARLENE

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