Sailor’s Valentine, Starshine – Part 3

Wow! I cannot believe four months have passed since my last post. Not only was I in a rut with my artwork but my blog suffered. I greatly apologize to those who have faithfully followed my progress. My valentine is finally completed.

I have decided to rename this valentine, however. I liked Starshine; it seemed right for the pattern. But while working on this piece I spent many hours reflecting on things; my life, my abilities and talents, on those around me. I guess I just lost my focus. So, I’m naming it Reflections.

There are sixteen types of shells plus mustard seeds, squilla claws, fine sand, and polished goldstone. The design I started with was maintained throughout. I did make some alterations in the shells, however. In my next Valentine, I will think twice before using crushed shells as a background. Fine sand makes a better backing. The shells lay nicer, I think. Perhaps if I am just using flowers the crushed shells would be good but not in a pattern like this.

While working on this valentine, I did study other valentines from my book. Many of them left the wood bare. Some backgrounds were paint covered and there were even some covered with fabric. I guess I need to stress less on the wood and spend more time tweaking my shell placements.

In the earlier post, I explained that I used fine sand in the center. I was afraid it may not be enough of backdrop, but I think anything more would have overpowered the flower. I had already glued the crushed shell when I applied the sand. The sand makes a finer layer than the crushed shells, so I guess it would depend on the pattern you opt to use. My advice would be to lay a section out on scrap wood. That way you would have a better idea what will work in your project.

I can safely say I may put this in my shop, but I don’t think I will sell it. For one thing, I can see the flaws. Maybe they wouldn’t be such a major issue to some – shells are not perfectly identical. But they stand out to me. Overall, I am impressed with the way the colors match and flow together. So it isn’t that I don’t think the valentine is valuable. It may sound funny, but I think there is a piece of me attached to it. The pattern stands out beautifully and I think the dyed yellow cup shells provided the perfect contrast for the shades of purple and white. The completed piece reflects my vision beautifully. I am very proud of this valentine. I have some other pieces I need to complete, then I think I’ll be ready to start another.

When I was studying the finished product, my first thought was making another using the same design. Not the same, of course just that pattern. I learned a lot with this valentine. I feel like I matured during this creation. I think I finally have faith in my artistic abilities.

Now I know about rushing.  I get so eager to see the completed work that I don’t spend enough time dry fitting each shell. Every setback became essential lessons for the next project.

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 Sailor’s Valentine, Starshine – Part 3

  1. Elaine Czarnowski says:

    I love it! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I’ll be making my first sailor’s valentine soon so it’s great to hear tips and ideas from some one experience. Thanks again!
    Elaine C

  2. Hello, Leggygillin,
    Your work is absolutely stunning. I too have had a deep love of seashells, flowers and seaglass. I love working in miniature! I have also done egging and my primary love for many years was quilling, not quilting! I make my own creation of flowers out of bits of colored paper. Check out my website if you like:
    I live in a quaint little coastal town and have collected lots of tiny scallop shells. I have been researching sailors valentines, and have decided to try one. Your work is very inspiring!
    Thanks again!

    • leggygillin says:

      Thank you so much. I appreciate your comments and glad you’re trying to create a valentine of your own. Having looked at the gorgeous flower designs you make, your valentine will be outstanding. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out. I’d love to see it.

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