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The Art of Shellcraft

by Paula Critchley

ISBN 0275515400 / 9780275515409 / 0-275-51540-0
Publisher Praeger
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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From Wikipedia: A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out. ~~~ "Sailor's Valentines" were late 19th century decorative keepsakes which were made in the Caribbean, and which were often purchased by sailors to give to their loved ones back home for example in England. These valentines consisted of elaborate arrangements of small seashells glued into attractive symmetrical designs, which were encased on a wooden (usually octagonal) hinged box-frame. The patterns used often featured heart-shaped designs, or included a sentimental expression of love spelled out in small shells. ~~~ The making of shellwork artifacts is a practice of Aboriginal women from La Perouse in Sydney, New South Wales, dating back to the 19th century. Shellwork objects include baby shoes, jewelry boxes and replicas of famous landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The shellwork tradition began as an Aboriginal women's craft which was adapted and tailored to suit the tourist souvenir market, and which is now considered high art.[5] ~~~ Small pieces of colored and iridescent shell have been used to create mosaics and inlays, which have been used to decorate walls, furniture and boxes. Large numbers of whole seashells, arranged to form patterns, have been used to decorate mirror frames, furniture and man-made grottos. ~~~ The pleasant designs of seashells have caused them to be featured in art in various ways, in paintings, in sculpture, and so on. A very large outdoor sculpture at Akkulam of a gastropod seashell is a reference to the sacred chank shell Turbinella pyrum of India. [via]