Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CRAFTY WEDNESDAY ~ Cleaning Seashells


Prejudice or wrong statement about seashell art.
Creating seashell art is a very simple craft at first glance. But in reality to make seashell art work is a very complicated, delicate and time consuming process which includes many steps!
  • Step1.   I’ve driven over 1 or 2 hours to the the best shelling spots in New York. After that all seashells are collected on the beach. I spend many hours combing the sand and shores for the perfect and sometimes unusual seashell fragments, sea glass and driftwood.
  • Step 2. Each seashell is hand rinsed in warm water and leaves on 24 hours in bleach for totally cleaning and smell removing. Sometimes I can put some shells in special solution with muriatic acid for 10-20 seconds at a time and after that rinse shells with water. The shells get very bright color. If you left in the muriatic acid for too long or not rinsed with soap water, the acid will continue to dissolve the shell. (How to restore seashell colors)

  • Step 3. I like to rub each shell after totally drying with Johnson’s baby oil or sometimes covers each shell with satin varnish for preserve natural color.
  • Step 4. I have to decide what canvas size or wood peace I like to use as a base for my work and what type of design theme I want to create. I can use various materials including some tiny pieces of natural stones, sea stars, corals or even gar scales for texture. I am always finding out different techniques and experimenting with new materials.
  • Step 5. Painting alone can take several days depending on the look I am trying to achieve. Sometimes I have to apply multiple coats to the background or to the shells. Usually I try to preserve natural seashell color and can use paints only in case for colorless and originally doll shells.
  • Step 6. After the background is ready I put out the seashells. It is not a simple step, a lot of thought and time I spend into which seashells fit best positions with each painting.
  • Step 7. Glue each shell on it position. If you prefer to use the multi purpose Elmer’s Glue, you have a chance and time to change your mind and improve any mistakes with seashell position. But try to avoid the extra glue amount! Glue can collect under the seashells causing them to slide, so each seashell needs to be pushed down to remove any not necessary glue amount. Glue also can leave marks on the painting!
  • Step 8. The Glue dries over a 24 hours period. After that I like to cover my seashell painting-mosaic with satin varnish for preserve natural color.
  • Step 9. I also screw in my own hanging wires so when a painting is purchased it is ready to hang. I title each painting-mosaic with names that I feel best represent the painting and what might have inspired me to create a particular piece.
  • Step 10. Pricing of my artwork depends on the time it took to make and the materials involved and rarity of seashells used. All of my paintings are originals and can be found no where else in the world. I might be able to recreate a similar painting but no two paintings or figurines will ever be exactly the same, because of unique seashells.

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