As with my earlier posts, clicking on the image with enlarge them. I have made some advances with my photography skills, finally. Of course every time I put new batteries in I forget to change the date!
Here is the beginning of my new Sailor’s Valentine. The glue is barely dry on the last one and I am eager to get to work on this one. While I was in limbo waiting for the last box, I did plan a design and pick out some shells for it. In my last postings, I never made a complete list of shells used, so I thought I would start this one with my tentative list. My color plan is going to be whites, purples, and browns. I say tentative because I may decide when I start the actual valentine that a shell may be too large or too small for the area of placement. Even though I have a wide assortment of shells I had to order a few more. I think for my design shell size and shape will matter as much as color.
If you need to order shells, eBay has a few really good shell stores. Most of my stock came from when I was first starting shell art. I had a license so I could order wholesale. There are probably a hundred shell varieties on my shelves. I have to laugh at myself when I think I need more. It’s like having twenty pairs of shoes and none match your outfit! Now I buy smaller amounts on eBay. I’ve thought about starting a barter system. Trade what I don’t need for ones I do.
For this Sailor’s Valentine I’ve made a flower for the center. I got the idea for the flower from a seller on eBay. Mine isn’t exactly like hers but I just liked hers so well that I wanted something similar. I used giant donax for the bottom purple and white petals and dark purple cay cays for the inner row of petals. The very center is baby whelks and urchin spines. The squilla claws make a dramatic finish. Yes, the squilla claws need to be glued. I brushed against them dislodging the temporary placement. Once again I’ll be using crushed orange jingles. They’ll be ground down very fine and will become the base for the flower. I have some goldstone to scatter over the particles.
I’ll be using white marginella and brown Hawaiian rice shells. They look just alike except for the color and both have a high glossy, shine. In the upper left corner are two tiny, vintage dyed purple shells. I’ve had them for a while but cannot remember the name. The tiny orange snail shells may not stay on my use list. They are so tiny I’m afraid they’ll get lost. I’m also using two different purple urchin spines. My other white shells are strombus, littorina, sand dollars in two sizes, and trivia. All three are similar in size but have different shapes and textures. I’m using the cebu beauties as the last border. I love the delicate lavender color. The silver looking shells on the bottom are iridescent trocus. I’m not absolutely positive I’m using them yet but they may make a nice contrast.
My dining room table is still my choice work space. There’s great light and I can spread out. Right now, I’m fairly neat and organized, but that won’t last. I’ll drag more shells out as well sorting trays and whatever else strikes my fancy. My glue will be the same three as before: hot glue, tacky glue and 527. I have assorted tools that I can use but I tend to use one set of tweezers, needle nose pliers and toothpicks more than anything else.
I’m trying something a little different in my work area. I found a large cardboard backing from a picture frame. I taped my pattern to it and attached a notepad in the corner. I’m constantly writing myself notes and this makes it really easy. I like to try my shells in the pattern but they roll around and the slightest jar sending them rolling.
I’ve taken strips of tape and laid them across sticky side up. Then I used more tape to hold them in place. There is just enough adhesiveness to keep the shells in place. If I don’t like one roll, I can easily remove it and still leave the other shells. I wish I thought of this earlier. It is saving me a lot of frustration.